Saturday, November 18, 2006

Assignment: Winnipeg

This has been an incredible week. It began like most others except this one would take many twists and turns. I had received a call asking about whether I would be game for a road trip. Not just any road trip, on to the Grey Cup game in Winnipeg. I figured we would be sending at least one crew possibly two since the CFL team, the BC Lions advanced to the final with a killing of the Riders of Saskatchewan.
For those of you readers to the south, the Grey Cup is kinda like the Canadian Superbowl, but a hell of a less corporate. Its a celebration for the die hard fans of the Canadian Football League. I was kinda pumped for it.
The original plan was to leave on Thursday morning and file for Thursday, Friday and the weekend. Seemed good.
Tuesday brought a day of sober second thought and it was decided that we would scale down our coverage and that would mean I would not be going. No problem really. I have been lucky, I had a trip earlier this year to the Torino Olympics, so not going was not going to be a big deal.
"You were not meant to be in Winnipeg!" Sage words from Momma Murman, in a telephone conversation I had with here after getting the news.

Little did I know however that fate would deal me a different hand. I the got a frantic call late in the afternoon on Thursday. It was a day off for me and I had just returned home from a seminar.
"Murman" the familiar voice said on the other end of the phone.
"Yes Dave, whats up?"
"I need to get you on a plane for Winnipeg, there is a situation." He said.
I will not go into any specifics except one of the crew was dealing with a family emergency.
From the time I got the call to the moment I walked through security and took my seat on the plane only 2 hour and 15 minutes had passed.

As I sat there waiting to board, sweating up a storm, I thought : God have I forgotten anything.
I would be using gear left for me by the crew member I was relieving. I was worried about stupid things, like tape supply and lighting kits. I felt so naked boarding a plane , going on assignment without any camera equipment.

I flew out with a plane load of the team's cheerleader squad so there was no shortage of "eye candy". But excited cheerleaders, well they can make lots of noise, and there was certainly no shortage of sound waves in the cabin.

Before I knew it I was in Winnipeg. A city on the Canadian Prairie that I had not been to since 1977. I looked for a familiar face. Perry our sports guy and the person in which I would be spending the majority of my time with over the next few days. He was there waiting for me.
"Just let me pick up my bag, Perr"
Wouldn't you know it was the first one off the conveyor. That never happens for me. So far so good. I had been in the Airport of less than 5 minutes.

Our drive to the hotel downtown would require a pit stop at the hospitality room nearby. It was put on buy the the folks from Alberta and it was called the "Spirit of Edmonton". There was no shortage of Grey Cup fever in that place and it was there I began to understand what the "Grey Cup" experience would entail.

We only stayed for one quick "pop" and then headed to the hotel. Perry briefed me on what our day would involve for tomorrow.
We'll have our breakfast, and the Lions are on the field at 1PM. That should give you some time to get settled. We'll also check in at CTV Winnipeg and meet up with Jazz, Joan and Kink."
Sounds good.

It had been a whirl wind kinda day. One that began with an early morning seminar in Vancouver, and one that ended with me lying in a hotel room in Winnipeg, Manitoba wondering what the hell just happened!

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