HOUSTON – As I walked into NRG Stadium, the rain was positively ruining my hair. I forgot my rain boots, so my ft have been moist. I needed to flip again round to go to my automotive and get my masks, however I didn’t care.
I’m overlaying the Texans, child!
After a bizarre low season (pandemic, social justice points, unhealthy economic system, individuals 10 instances meaner than they’ve ever been, I might go on) it was simply so good to know I used to be overlaying an NFL sport in-person.
Each media member needed to fill out a number of kinds main as much as game-day, and upon arrival, underwent a temperature test. The NRG employees couldn’t have been nicer, even standing within the rain. The Texans public relations employees has been next-level organized with ensuring all of us have what we want.
The Texans employees additionally made the press field really feel as regular as attainable. We every had hand sanitizer at our desks, and clear dividers between us. Everybody was sporting masks, however that’s the norm now.
There are two massive variations. The primary one is post-game. It’s all through Zoom. I do miss that in-person interplay. It’s enjoyable to see the gamers come off the sector and hug their wives and youngsters, and attending to ask them questions in-person creates a unique sort of setting the place you possibly can decide up on nuances and tidbits that assist with reporting.
However, it’s the best way we should function throughout this time, so we benefit from it.
The second main distinction is followers. There have been none this week, although the Texans are desirous to welcome fans for week four when they host the Vikings.
I can’t specific how unusual it was to listen to little or no cheering (the faux crowd noise solely does a lot) when J.J. Watt obtained a sack, or Deshaun Watson made one in every of his miraculous performs.
My focus has all the time been telling tales, and fortunately I can nonetheless do that in this pandemic. It takes some creativity, however we’re all on a degree taking part in area proper now. Gamers, for instance, attempt to not even depart their homes oe flats as a result of they need to keep secure and COVID-19-negative. We’re all adjusting.
So far as the opposite sports activities go, it was more durable to cowl the Rockets as they have been within the bubble in Orlando. The Astros have accomplished a superb job of holding the media spaced aside. (The Astros toilet has a door you possibly can open along with your foot so that you don’t have to the touch the deal with. Can we preserve that after the pandemic, please?!)
We’re persevering with to cowl highschool sports activities, too. Once I was at Stafford for his or her soccer sport towards Sealy, I used to be impressed with the extent of cooperation the gang had with social distancing and sporting masks. These children want sports activities, marching band, and cheerleading as they mature. I wore a masks and stayed far aside from everyone, but it surely was great simply to be there.
Though sports activities will not be crucial factor, they do carry individuals collectively. They assist create jobs for stadium employees. Native eating places are attempting to remain afloat, so that they actually hoping followers will need to sit down and eat, or get takeout on game-day.
Overlaying sports activities seems completely different, however the whole lot seems completely different proper now.
What we will all do is figure collectively. Be affected person. Be encouraging.
And…wash our fingers.
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