Thursday, December 24, 2015
This picture doesn't really pertain to what I am going to talk about here, I just saw it and wanted to post it up for fun.
I was talking to my son, Mike, about my last post, which was about some of the fun trips I have taken and he reminded me about two trips I took on back to back weekends to South Bend Indiana in 1976.
Sports fans know that South Bend is the home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. The first trip was to fly an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh and friends and family to the game between Pitt and Notre Dame.
This was the senior year of tailback Tony Dorsett at Pitt. It was the year Pitt won the National Championship and Dorsett won the Heisman Trophy. He broke a run for 61 yards on his first carry. I was there.
By pure coincidence, the next week I flew a production crew from Allegheny County Airport to South Bend. They were the guys who worked in the trailer for the TVcast of the Notre Dame games that were syndicated and telecast on Sunday morning. The announcers were Linsey Nelson and Paul Hornung. Hornung had played quarterback for the Fighting Irish and was the first player to win the Heisman while playing for a losing team. He went on to fame and glory and other things as a running back for the Green Bay Packers championship teams of the past.
I dropped off the guys and then flew to Chicago O'hare to pick up the director, who was moonlighting from his normal job as a director for the NBC Evening News.
I was given a press pass, as if I were part of their team and could have gone just about anywhere in the stadium that day. Upon further review, I decided that the coolest place to be during the game was in the trailer with my peoples. I had seen a football game the week before, but I had never seen what the TV production team does during a game.
There were 4 or 5 guys sitting at panels with monitors all over. The technical director, who flew up from Pittsburgh with me, was Billy McCoy and he had all the switches and buttons. When the director called for something to happen, Billy was the guy who made it happen. They were all wearing headsets and there was lots of talking going on. Don't forget that there were several cameramen outside in the stadium also on the same channel.
I was just kind of standing around in there and carrying on a conversation with the director and Billy and it dawned on me that they were also doing their jobs, communicating with the entire crew and each other, while answering my dumb questions. It was very impressive.
I asked the director how he could keep track of all this action and still talk to me. He said he was thinking the same thing as we were taxiing and taking off at O'Hare.
After the game, Hornung, whose nickname was The Golden Boy, needed to be flown to O'Hare to catch a flight. To put the best spin on this that I can, he was polite, but not as chummy as the other members of the team. He lives near me here in Louisville and I have seen him at a local restaurant and Starbucks, but have been a little resistant to reintroducing myself to him. I think he has gained some humility in recent years and have decided to do so next time I see him.