As a journalist, I’ve numbed myself against the animosity of any specific team and worked on finding an unbiased happy medium between the two.
But not anymore.
My job here with FanIQ is quite simple. For the most part, I just sit at my desk, report news and jot down my thoughts – that’s it.
However, sometimes I get the honor of speaking with coaches and players over the phone, and on rare occasions I’m sent to cover a practice or something of the sort.
For this to happen, I must contact a college Sports Information Director – someone who deals with media and public relations – in order to set something like this up. These are employees that work heavy hours and deal with a lot of annoying people.
So it’s understandable at times to receive a flat out “no” as an answer, if you’re lucky to get an answer at all.
In late February, I contacted the Notre Dame SID (whose name I will keep private) to see if it had any open media dates so that I could sit in on a practice and grab a coach or player afterwards for interview. He quickly responded with the start date and that they hadn’t made “specific plans” yet for media availability.
A few weeks later, I tagged him again to check up. He then sent me a list of spring practices that were open to the media, including the Blue and Gold Spring Game. I figured that the spring game would be an interesting event to attend and assumed – which is never a good thing to do – that it would be open, since he had included it in the e-mail.
Here’s when things take a wrong turn, and my nerves begin to rattle.
Last Wednesday night I sent the SID one last e-mail, just to double-check and make sure everything was a go for this Saturday. After a confused reaction, he then reached to the conclusion that he was unaware of my interest and did not have room for me.
This didn’t sit with me well, but I understood that it was partly my fault due to a lack of communication (although I clearly expressed my interest in Notre Dame athletics). What really got to me was the next part.
Since the game was less than 48 hours from that time, I urgently made a phone call to his office in desperate attempt to work things out. At this point, I wouldn’t have minded sitting in the corner of the stadium – just as long as we cleared things up.
Here was his answer:
“I've never heard of your site and you've not had anyone here covering our program. The people we credential are those who cover us every day.”
Those words are what reverted me back to having a natural enmity (hate is a strong word) for the Dallas Cowboys of the collegiate world. I clearly stated who I was and who I worked for in the initial e-mail, which he accepted in the early stages of our conversation.
What’s even worse? He made no effort to accommodate our needs. He wasn’t even friendly.
Notre Dame receives a lot of national attention, whether it be for its impeccable journey from being unranked in the preseason to the national championship, or being the butt of the infamous Manti Te’o scandal.
It deserves attention. Whether you love them or hate them, you want to know about the Fighting Irish. It’s in your blood as a sports fan, and it’s in mine.
Through time and an amassment of diligence, hopefully I’ll revert to my equitable views on Notre Dame. I’d still like to visit the campus and to someday work alongside those who cover the football program.
But for now, I’ll stay disappointed, and keep a special spot for the program in the dark side of my heart.
Follow @Tyler_Waddell on Twitter