So one of the many things I feared when I first started covering Penguins practices as a producer fill-in was that I would do something totally embarrassing or out of place, considering how still relatively new to the atmosphere I am. Well, as my luck would have it, my fear came true today… or so I thought briefly.
I was running late for today’s morning skate, pretty agitated with myself because I had forgotten to make my lunch, so I had to go back and make my lunch before heading downtown (it was either that or not eat all day and as those who know me already know, me going without eating isn’t an option).
So, already feeling like a moron, needless to say I was in a rush to get off the subway at Steel Plaza and walk up to the Mellon Arena in time for the open locker room session with the media. I got there to find out not only was I five minutes late, Channel 4 already had someone there. It was John Meyer, one of our sports anchors and one of my favorite people at work.
Not that I was mad to see John, far from it. Turns out it was just a communication breakdown in the sports department and we ended up being double-staffed. You figure that moment would be awkward enough to last the day, right?
In my moment of confusion, attempting to slowly and quietly duck out of the locker room to avoid further embarrassment, someone along the left wall was trying to get my attention. He looked mildly familiar, and then I realized it was speedy winger Pascal Dupuis.
He was pointing at the floor, and at first I thought I had dropped something, but nothing was at my feet. So I looked back up at him, thinking maybe he was
mistaken. But then he pointed again.
I looked back down, thinking maybe I had a shoe undone, but my black Stacy Adams lace-ups (that’s right, I always dress professionally, and quite well, I might add) were tied, both in double-knots. I looked back up at him, wondering what the heck he was talking about.
“The logo,” he finally said. “Don’t step on the logo, please.”
I looked down again, and woven in the middle of the black locker room carpet is a large, gold Penguin logo. Already feeling embarrassed, I looked back up at him and said, “Oh, sorry.”
I figured he would give me some disdainful, “Know your place, Rookie” look, but instead he just laughed.
Then I thought about how when reporters and cameras are circled around players during locker room interviews, the crowd always spills out to the middle of the room where the logo is.
It took me about 30 seconds to realize I’d been had.
Mildly mad at myself, I shook my head and walked out of the locker room, almost too quickly to realize that one of the people I breezed past was none other than former Penguins’ captain, current part-owner and hockey legend Mario Lemieux.
Great, I thought to myself, I have my most embarrassing moment as a media member and it’s within arm’s length of one of the best hockey players ever!
I eventually laughed at myself by the time I got out to the parking lot.