[This is my column in the Aug. 7 issue of The Commercial Review.]
I would have been better off in the stands with the fans.
A week ago I went to the campus of Anderson University to attend the only night practice of the Indianapolis Colts’ training camp.
Despite what I had heard about the hassle of getting media credentials to regular-season home games, scoring a pass for training camp was relatively easy. I do, however, owe a little bit of credit to a friend of mine — an assistant on the Detroit Lions’ coaching staff — for getting me the contact information for the media person with the Colts.
Before I left Portland, I made a list of the players I wanted to focus on during practice. The list included Joe Reitz, the son of former Jay County residents. It also had Jonathan Newsome, a rookie defensive lineman out of Ball State University.
Additionally, I put the stars on the list — Andrew Luck, Robert Mathis, Trent Richardson and Reggie Wayne.
There were also a couple people I wanted to look at for my own personal notes, such as former Michigan State defensive back Johnny Adams, and a couple guys — three-year veteran Josh Gordy and rookie running back Zurlon Tipton — who played for my alma mater, Central Michigan.
Camp turned out differently than I had expected.
The rest of the media and I were quarantined to a small portion of the track on the southeast corner of Macholtz Stadium.
When stretching began, the TV cameras started rolling and a couple of the photographers there started snapping pictures. I didn’t, though, because those photos are boring. It was the drills and the actual practicing that I wanted to capture.
It also didn’t help that Luck, Richardson and Tipton were on the opposite side of the field from where we were located, and Wayne hadn’t even arrived to practice yet.
Drills got underway, and I shot photos of the people I could spot quickly. I shot photos of Reitz, Luck when he was close enough, and I happened to spot Coby Fleener catching passes on the near sideline.
But as the 7-on-7 and full team drills got underway, the remaining players lined up to watch, blocking our view in the process.
I was frustrated. How was I supposed to get photos of the guys I wanted — at least a halfway decent photo to accompany my story for the following day’s paper — if I couldn’t see what was going on?
After asking a few questions, I discovered the media is only allowed to shoot photos of the drills and not the full practice. It didn’t make sense to me.
The fans that attended the practice were not checked as they entered, so I could have just as well gone in without credentials and gotten better photos and a look of what the Colts were doing in those full-team drills.
However, I would not have gotten to interview players afterward.
I should have just gone in the stands. At least I would have had a better view.