Staying with Strangis, the last days

Sitting in a chicken shop next to the media village. Collapsing is more the word for it. Just finished calling a heck of a men’s gold medal game. The Russians man. The Russians. Almost got clipped by the Germans but in the end skill generally wins and it did here. Nice system here. I dropped my suitcase at the big white tent and the airlines checks it for me and gives me a boarding pass. Then in the morning I get on a bus or in a car but I’m not sure and I just go through security and boom. The Koreans are such nice people. Efficient as hell too. They’re already taking the temporary furniture out of our rooms with huge ladder elevators. They’ll turn this town around quick. As for me - the chicken is tasty and I’m excited to get home. For like 3 days then I go to Annapolis for another outdoor hockey game. Seems like no matter what I do or wanna do Hockey keeps calling. I did a good job. I know I did. Can pick a few knits but nothing big. Gotta know deep down if you executed because ain’t nobody else can tell ya. And I’ll never forget the 2 weeks in PyeongChang. Peace

Staying with Strangis, days 9 10 11 12

What a thing this is and I’ll miss it when it’s over.  I need community and people and not having a place to go everyday can wear on a guy.  Being here has been energizing in a way that I haven’t felt in many years.  I know so many people.  Met so many more.  All focused on doing good work and being good to each other.  Then I get the women’s gold medal game yesterday and let me tell ya it might be my favorite sports game ever I called.  The cup was great and game 4 in Edmonton in 99 and both game 7s with Colorado and brendens goal in 08 against san jose but this was something different and special.  Anthems are complicated things and people on all sides of that these days but hearing it at the end of the game with the women wearing gold medals linked arm and arm at center ice singing and swaying back and forth while the flag goes up was so moving.  Then to go down and talk to Maddie and Monique and Kelly Panneck and Duggan was so much fun.  Colby knows hilary and they hug right next to me and everybody’s so excited.  Tell ya what else – JLAMS shootout goal was as good as I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen the best.  Zubov was the best I ever saw but her move was sick as hell.  Filthy.  Dear god.  It’s slowing down now – I get the logistics email for departure this morning and emails from nhl international about next week and going to Annapolis to do the outdoor game and it’s starting to sink in that my Olympics is almost over.  But me and Colby we’ll go watch mens prelims and call the gold medal mens game which won’t be as good as yesterday because of the American women but still it’s another gold medal game.  Again the Koreans are so awesome I hope to come back and really see the country someday.  NBC has taken good care of us too.  The food’s been good.  The support is wonderful.  What an operation providing for all these people.  Thanks to USA women and WestwoodOne and Colby and everybody else for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Staying with Strangis, days 6,7,8

The USA women hockey players play for the gold – again.  It’s a 2 horse race only and you feel bad for the other women hockey players but – so it goes.  Fun to be at the game.  Got a picture with Kathryn and JR and Jonsie in the NBC studio at the big rink.  Every big outlet has their own studio and then NBC has this like enclosed suite thing with jellybeans and candy in little cups.  Just takes money is what my friend billy says and NBC is the big dog here.  To have their logo on my credential is like having front row tickets to zeppelin back in the day.  I left that credential in the room this morning and that’s something you do once only.  The Koreans are so nice and I mean so nice.  I had to run back to the media village to get back in after the bus driver let me out and there was this young girl at the help desk and she ran with me and made sure I got back into my room to get it.  You know how in the US and lots of other places this would be a huge deal and the guy would say sorry but that’s our policy and whatever else?  Well not here.  They went hard to help me get it and get to us mens practice on time.  Last night saw finns and swedes in mens play and got interviews.  I got there right before the game and media dining was almost closed but same deal.  In no nhl rink but dallas would they have served me.  Lovely people here.  Everybody’s tired especially Colby.  He fell asleep on the bus this afternoon which is the middle of the night for you. I cleaned the room and did laundry yesterday and that helped to feel a little normal.  It’s not normal here but I’ll be sad when it ends.  I like it here.  I like getting up and getting on the bus and going to the rink and talking to everybody and I mean everybody.  Colby thinks it’s weird but if you know me you know I talk to everybody.

Staying with Strangis

Days 4 and 5, I think...or something

You think oh I’m going to the Olympics and I’ll get to see all these great events and really cool places and mostly all you see is the inside of busses and hockey rinks and the weird hotel/apartment/box thing I’m staying in with wax paper or something all over the place and the elevators smell so weird.  Here’s what the last couple days have been like and it hurts to think about it but let’s try.  I slept 4 hours last night because I stayed up to prep for the women’s game with Canada.  I had to stay up till 3 or something because we finished doing the men’s game with Slovenia at midnight and then I had to prep.  Before that game we had 2 practices and we have to get sound and talk to hockey people.  Now it’s 11:13 pm here in South Korea and I just finished prepping for the Slovaks and team USA men tomorrow at noon.  Then we’ll hang around and get audio from the Russians.  Oh and I got audio from Joel Lundqvist and the swedes after the women’s game.  I think that was still today.  Then Rhapsody who posts these things shoots me an email and says hey are you gonna write anything so I figured I should.  Let me talk for a minute about my new pal Colby.  Colby Cohen is his name and he’s my partner on the air.  Wonderful young guy but he gets cold all the time.  I say then why did you be a hockey player and he says well I’m not one anymore.  He’s a good young broadcaster.  I’d work with him anytime.  A pleasure to be with.  Watch for him.  He also knows every single US Olympic hockey player men and women.  Played with or against most of em.  I got the best analyst for USA hockey in town.  I really do.  Also I really like the volunteers here.  Man the Koreans got the logistics figured out.  Wifi is insanely good everywhere even on busses.  The volunteers all smile and speak English and help you with everything.  That’s one of the best parts.  And so many people here I know.  It’s crazy.  Broadcasters and hockey people and technical people and crew from along the trails over the years.  Ok – now if I don’t go to sleep I’ll pass out and I gotta get a little more sleep tonight so I can call the piss outta that thing tomorrow for ya. 

Staying with Strangis, day 3

Slept a little better then went and got a Korean hamburger and fries for lunch.  It was fine.  Then went to work. Everybody says what a nice guy Mike Turico is and they’re right.  Me and Tim Murray who hosts our shows are walking into the ibc and Turico stops and says hey guys.  I think because we all have the same jacket but so do lots of people.   He’s cordial and asks us questions and I tell him look out the mens hockey team might have a little something.  Trying to keep the big guy at least lookin in our direction and like that.  I think maybe they might.  Hard to say.  My old friend Scotty Young who used to play for the Stars is an assistant coach and he runs the powerplay.  There’s optimism here and it’s real.  They’re quiet about it but a guy like me has been around enough and generally feels when he’s gettin a dose of horse manure or not.  Fun to visit with Scotty.  Fun to see Tony Granato too.  Quality people.  Always love seeing Tony because he’s one of those guys who just makes you feel good.  It’s rubbing off on his team I would think.  I talk to Greenway and Leggio and then Borque’s kid who tells me he was at game 7 in 2000 when the old man rang one off the post with 3 seconds left.  Ray will be here to watch.  6 hours at the ibc and I know how to put the audio on the server and I get the book with the promos and reads for the shows.  Gonna rehearse a little tomorrow and see if I got my eyes in right for USA women and OAR.  And I gotta practice setting up the equipment.  It’s one of those deals where you gotta do the whole thing.  Haven’t done it like this really since college way back when but it’s the Olympics so this is no time to not bring my best. 

Staying with Strangis, the Olympics series

Day 1 & 2.

 

It’s almost 10:00 pm local time and I’m riding in a psychedelic bus from Korean BBQ on the coast back to my strange little plastic covered room in one tower in the media complex. I’ve been in South Korea about 24 hours after traveling 24 hours from LA to get here. I don’t know what day it is but then I hardly ever do. For so long it didn’t matter because of my day job and these days I don’t really care. Each day is its own thing. Here’s today. Woke up at 6. Met my on air partner finally. We speak on the phone a lot and now we shake hands at my doorway. He’s in the next wax paper shelter. We find breakfast in the large dining hall below ground. Find a bus. Haul heavy backpacks to the international broadcast center. It’s a maze of concrete corridors and large and small studios and support rooms. They eat good here. There’s Kenny Albert and JR and Mike Milbury and Mary Carrillo and somebody who looks like somebody I should know and lots of languages are spoken and so on. We go to the Westwood One Radio bunker and that’s exactly what it is. A series of large closets in the very back. People are already tired. I learn how to work the tape recorder and how to put it on a site so the interviews can be played on the radio. We’ll see. I’m already forgetting some of it because that was so long ago already. Me and Colby that’s his name my partner. Colby. He lost a tooth eating a jelly bean today. How about that. We head to USA men’s hockey practice and Kathryn and Pierre and Ben and others are there to watch. We’ve all seen lots of practices but this is different for me. It says USA on the fronts of the jerseys and the bright blue arena isn’t like an NHL rink. Smaller in the seats and wider on the ice. Then the mix zone. I talk to Gionta and Teddy’s kid Ryan Donato and Colby my partner knows every guy and they know him. Well. So that’s gonna help us out. Go to the other rink about 20 minutes away and Kathryn sits with me and Colby and we watch team USA women shrug off a crummy start and beat Finland 3-1. Exercise a demon maybe too with an open net goal. Then dinner with the gang. Don’t know JR well but what a delight. Kathryn too. She’s as good as there is in the sports broadcasting business and I mean that across the board. And great fun to be with at the Imperial Ribs. It’s a Korean BBQ place run by sunny and her husband and what a time. Sunny says, "very delicious" ok, all the time. Her husband and I don’t remember his name, has blue checkered pants and flexes his pecs and we all laugh and high five him. Sorry I had to get off the bus. Now I’m in the room with paper on the cupboards. The bed is so hard, team USA Hockey shipped over some pillow covers or something. I like hard beds and I can sleep anyplace. I got 2 bananas and 2 hard boiled eggs in my little refrigerator and I might just have breakfast here tomorrow in the room. Which is today. And you’ve already been up for a while. What a time.