My Experience: Fleet vs Legends
Opportunity, that's what the Alliance is about; and that's exactly what the league gave me. For the first time ever, I received media credentials to go along with an all-access press pass. I was able to go into the locker rooms, the press box, on to the field, and basically any where inside the stadium. I was up close and personal with every single player on the team and whether it was interviewing them, giving a fist bump, or just taking a photo of them; I basically had some sort of interaction with every single player on both teams. One of the biggest differences with going to this game compared to any other game was that I was by myself. I didn't have any parents, any brothers, or any friends... it was just me. As soon as I walked in I went down this tunnel. Safe to say, I was lost... and next thing you know I'm walking next to Dernard Robinson and the entire Atlanta Legends team into the locker room! Before I started asking them questions, I wanted to let them get out of their business clothes and into their sports gear. Then I ask a worker at the stadium, "how do I go to the press boxes?"; she showed me where to go, then I found myself looking over the stadium and inside the press box! While being in the press box is dope, my goal for this game was to meet the players and ask them a couple questions.
I made my way down to the field. Despite the weather forecast calling for showers, I was thinking, "hey this looks like darn good weather to me" and as soon as I thought that, I felt a drizzle... then I felt another... then another. So in the matter of 60 seconds it goes from sunny southern California weather to a full on rain storm. I don't know if it was from the excitement or the nerves, but I didn't feel cold nor wet. I was locked in. I thought to myself, "Let's do this thing!" The first two players on the field were Kameron Kelly and an other San Diego Wideout. Kelly was working on his "toe drag swag" and I was all for it. I knew who Kelly was as soon as I saw him, but as he approached me I was trying to think of something smooth. I said, "hey man, I'm Jeremy... what's your name?" Even though I knew who he was, I let the nerves get to me. But from there on I had no more nerves. I asked my first question, then I was off. I was on a roll and I got to interview Ja'Quan Gardner, Alex Barrett, Dylan Donahue, and LaMont Jordan to go along with Kelly. This was what I came here to do and I got it all done. I got great videos of players like Bug Howard, Younghoe Koo, and a bunch of other great players warming up. About 15 minutes before the game started, when all the players were in the locker room, I had no clue where to go. So I walk inside the stadium, through the Legends' tunnel and I see this purple rag on the ground. I pick it up and for some reason my first thought was to smell it; then I realized, "yup this isn't a rag... this is a sock!" So then I dropped it immediately and continued to run down tunnel. I was already a little shook up from that experience, and then as soon as I step on to the field a firework goes off! I hear a voice yell, "watch out bro! the players are about to come out!" This definitely got my heart racing. I was right next to the tunnel where all the players were getting to run out. One of my favorite videos I took was of San Diego Fleet Safety Jordan Martin doing his, "Buss Down Dance". I was right next to him as he did it and I even got him to post the video on his instagram! After all the players ran out, I made my way up to the press box.
For the first 10 or so minutes I was standing up, but then I saw this card. Seat 95, "Jeremy Platt Between The Tackles". This moment stuck out for me, I realized I've made my way into the media. I did it! Throughout the game I was able to talk to my seat partner who worked for the podcast, "Locked on Chargers". It was great to just talk football while watching the game. The game was awesome! We saw the Legends jump out to an early lead with scoring their first touchdown in team history. Then we saw a "second half surge" as I put it. The weather conditions didn't allow any big throws to happen, but the Fleet started to dominate the run game. Ja'Quan Gardner started to run through gaping holes on the left side and the offensive line was doing it's job. On a 4th and one, head coach Mike Martz had to get creative. They had been hammering the running back dives all game long and there was no doubt he was about to do it again here. So the defense brought pressure through the one and the two holes. BAM! It was a fake, QB Phillip Nelson faked the fullback dive to Terrell Watson and flicked it out to Ja'Quan Gardner on the outside! Martz came up with the perfect play call to give the Fleet their first touchdown in team history. After that we started to see domination on San Diego's side. We saw a pass by the quarterback Phillip Nelson who threw it facing the other way like a bride tossing her bouquet. Then we saw Gardner secure the game with another touchdown on a running back draw. The Fleet would end up winning the game 24-12. After the game concluded, I made my way down to the post game press conference after greeting all the players in the tunnel. I was able to ask Mike Martz a question about the weather's impact on his play calling and Ja'Quan Gardner a question about the conversation in the locker room at half time. I was helped by Rich Herrera from 97.3 the Fan. He gave me advice for video and when it's appropriate to ask the questions. That was the end of the game and an experience of a life time. Thank you to all the players for embracing me, everyone who set this experience up for me, and all the people who helped me and talked to me throughout the day! I look forward to going back soon!