Thursday, July 06, 2006

The LPGA Is A Sport, Right?

For the zero readers out there who care about my personal life, I’ve been writing for a local lifestyle magazine for about a month now. It’s nothing exciting: I get an assignment, I call up relevant businesses to solicit advertising, and I beg them to grant me an interview so that I have credible quotes for my story.

Quite honestly, this has become tiresome after just a month. The writing part is great; they allow me plenty of time to research, write, and tinker with my stories. Soliciting advertising, however, has proved quite a detriment. It appears people get slightly peeved when you ask them to spend money, even if their job is to do so.

Before my intro becomes too long-winded, here goes. Everyone in the office knows I’m a sports nut. That much was made apparent during our recent trip to Yankee Stadium. So when a sports assignment came in, it was immediately handed to me. This would have been wildly exciting…had it not been an LPGA assignment.

But hey, it’s sports and it’s a start. While ladies playing golf may not be the most interesting sports subject, it sure beat the shit out of writing about a local chamber of commerce. Press festivities were scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, the day following a glorious (woo hoo!) four-day weekend. My mind would still be on vacation, anyway, so it was nice to know I’d be out of the office.

Upon awakening yesterday morning, one thing sorely stuck out: it was raining like the dickens. Shit, I thought, there goes that plan. Looks like a day of sitting in the office and pretending to cold-call businesses. Could the day get much worse?

I spent the first hour or so like any normal day: diddling around at my desk, reading baseball blogs, and kind-of-sort-of editing my chamber of commerce article. It was much to my surprise that at around 10:15, my boss asked if I was getting ready to leave to cover the Anika Sorenstam press conference.

Me: Uh [Boss], it’s pouring. Are you sure they’re still holding the press-ops?

Boss: Sure they are. They always have tents for the media.

Okay, time to pack up and head out. At very worst, I get there and nothing’s going on, successfully wasting half my day. So I shove off from work, anticipating a day not spent biting off my cuticles.

But my aspirations die about three minutes into my trip. There I sit, dead in traffic. Now, I commute 30 miles a day, which equates to about an hour of travel time, much of which is spent moving inch by inch. But for this to happen at 10:30 a.m. is inexcusable. It can’t be construction, because the New Jersey government has temporarily shut down because they’re all a bunch of faginas. So it must be an accident. Morons.

Thankfully, I have a book sitting on my passenger seat. Catch by Will Leitch (no, seriously, that’s what I was reading in traffic; I’m not just saying that to get a link on Deadspin). I’ll be sure to review it in the coming days.

After crawling along for roughly 40 minutes, I finally come to the culprit: road cones. Apparently, they were left there from last week’s roadwork project, and since the government is in shutdown, they aren’t about to go out of their ways to remove them. Unless the cones are the exact size of devastating potholes, I see no reason for their obstruction of traffic.

Finally, I reach my destination. The Jeep rolled up the gravel paths with ease, but there is one thing insurmountable even to the King of Off-Road Vehicles: the security guy. He oh so kindly pointed out that I lacked a media parking pass, and therefore had to park a mile away in the general admission lot. Wonderful.

What he failed to mention was that the general lot was basically a grass field, muddied by the torrential downpour of the morning. One step out of the Jeep, and my shoes were instantly ruined. A look at my watch reveals that it’s 12:15, making me an hour late for Sorenstam’s press conference. Surely its over by now. And, as if things couldn’t get any worse, I’m stuck walking through the gravel and mud to the shuttle bus. All this for women’s golf – AND THEY’RE NOT EVEN PLAYING TODAY!

At this point, I’m surprised I even have a media pass. I’ve been given no real instruction other than to take notes on the press conference, so when I finally get to the festivities, I’m just wandering around. It’s humid, and sweat is rolling down my back. Worse yet, I’m by myself, as the office didn’t deem it appropriate to pair me with a cameraman. And the worst: I have to wear one of those retarded looking media badges. There is nothing dorkier than hanging a badge from your neck. I should know; I’m King Dork.

After confirming that I had in fact missed the press conference, I strolled over to the media center where I conveniently find transcripts not only of Sorenstam’s media dealings, but also those of three other golfers of whom I’ve never heard. Maybe they’ll have something interesting to say…wait, they’re athletes. Of course they don’t.

Since my prime objective is now moot, I begin Task No. 2: searching for hot media tail. Having interned at a TV station that will remain nameless and working at no less than two college newspapers, I know that there’s plenty of potential. And, not to my dismay, I quickly notice a tall blond honey headed for the media building. I’m feeling a bit hungry, so I slowly make my way to the same destination.

A closer look reveals that this chick has the goods. 36-24-36 with ravishing blue eyes. According to her badge, she’s working with CBS. This makes me a bit jealous, since CBS rejected me a few months back. But she doesn’t appear to be with the television station, since she’s with a still photographer. I debate for a second introducing myself as a Sports Illustrated writer, but it appears that everyone from a real media outlet has a real identification card, unlike me, who is stuck with the generic media badge.

The buffet lunch is just a room to my left, but hot reporter heads down for the driving ranges, sans cameraman. If there is ever going to be a chance, this is it. So I head down there, scrawling down sarcastic notes to myself as to not look like I’m stalking the girl. I get to within 20 feet of her, but stop immediately in my tracks. From that distance, I can see a glimmer emanating from her left ring finger. Engaged/married! Foiled again! All the sudden, that buffet is sounding better.

Lunch voucher in hand, I reenter the media building where I’m swiftly distracted by a dark-skinned brunette. I imagine her name is Maria; I also imagine I’ll never find out for sure. She as well is the bearer of a diamond, but that doesn’t stop me from glancing her way every five or six seconds.

Apparently, they’ve never heard of meat on the LPGA, because I’m not finding any of it in the buffet. I’m not a huge veggie fan, but I get by with them. However, I do not particularly like jambalayas of cold vegetables, especially when they’ve been sitting around all day. But I’m pretty hungry and am forced to sustain myself on bread, butter, Rice Krispies treats, and cookies. What I wouldn’t give for a hot dog right now (well, I wouldn’t give up $5, which is what they are going for in the pro shop).

After lunch, I’m forced to come to the sad conclusion that there’s just nothing to see here. There are various players practicing their driving, chipping and putting, but how interesting is that? I mean, they don’t even have nameplates. Don’t they know that no normal person can identify a female golfer not named Michelle Wie?

Speaking of Wie, there she is! No, wait, that’s just another Asian.

Resigned to the fact that I’m getting nothing accomplished by being here, but still not ready to sit in the office, I head back to the media building. Shockingly, not only do I find out that I have a seat with the rest of the media, but I’m next to a guy from The New York Times, a publication for which I wouldn’t mind writing. John Branch is the writer, though I honestly have never heard of him. That doesn’t stop me from trying to pick his brain, but he seems far too focused on his story to give me any usable advice.

I’m about to bite the bullet and return to the office, but decide to check out the driving range one last time. And, much to my delight, there is yet another radiantly beautiful woman checking out the action. She’s just my type: short, a little junk in the trunk, and…golf shoes? She’s a player? It can’t be. I mean, this would be nearly unprecedented. I don’t think I know of any hot (and legal) female golfers. The taller, older dude accompanying her wears a Pro-Am badge, so there is a distinct possibility that she’s an “Am.” There’s a greater possibility that I’ll never find out for sure. Usually I’d have more balls than this, especially when I’ve definitively determined that there’s no ring on her finger. But there’s something intimidating about approaching a girl with her golf coach.

Let’s recap. Over the course of my abbreviated day, I took particular notice to three females, two of whom bore engagement rings. The other was being watched by a father figure. So why were these women inaccessible? It’s simple supply and demand, my friends. Both sports and the media are both male-heavy industries. Beyond on-air talent, hot women are rarities, even as they continue to fill more and more jobs. Obviously there’s a high demand for hot women, who are in short supply. Hence, most of these women will be taken. It makes me hate economics just a little bit more.

My solution…well, I don’t really have one. As far as I know, this ends my time covering the LPGA. The actual match play begins today, but who the hell wants to cover that? Everyone knows that the interesting stuff comes from the players mouths, not from their swings. Hell, they should probably cancel the tournament. After all, the players were already interviewed, thus ending all things interesting about sports.

But if I was to cover the triviality that is the match, I’d be sticking to hitting on the event staff. At least they’re not surrounded by sweaty, sex-deprived men all day.