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Diary of a commentator

Discussion in 'Our Errors are Mistakes: The Media Forum' started by ConigliarosPotential, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. canvass ali

    canvass ali lurker

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    74
    Hey CP, just want to say thanks for your detailed narrative. The word "fascinating" popped up in earlier responses and rightly so. It really is fascinating to hear the behind-the-scenes stuff and the process you go through, both in prep and delivery. Regarding feedback, I concur that one should be careful what one wishes for. Constructive criticism is what you hope for but probably not what you'll get. In any case, no one should question your attention to detail and your commitment to your craft, it's remarkable.
     
  2. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Thanks, canvass.

    Today I commentate on the first game in which I have a direct financial stake in the outcome. If Sochi defeats Jokerit, I'll have Game 6 of the series to commentate upon on Sunday and will get an extra payday; if Jokerit defeats Sochi, I'll actually head straight back up the road tonight and won't have another assignment until the tennis on Tuesday. I'm not worried about sounding impartial - I'm enough of a pro by now that my commentary will be exactly the same regardless - but it is a curious position in which to find oneself.

    As it happens, DAZN has taken the editorial decision to only show games from the Jokerit-Sochi and CSKA-Spartak series in the first round of the playoffs, and so with the former having already ended in a CSKA 4-0 sweep, today could be our final game of the first round of the playoffs. I'm guessing the logic is that viewing figures for Eastern Conference games haven't been great, and it may not be cost-effective to show those games (and pay me) in the short run...but I would have thought that spreading our coverage across the league would be worthy in the long run in several ways, not least in making the playoffs seem bigger and more of an event. Not my decision, though.

    Anyway, I'm in my pregame holding pattern just now, waiting for the starting lineups to be posted, having just made a quick dash out of the building to buy some extra blu-tack and pens - somehow I managed to leave my stationery kit on my kitchen counter at home. The latest in a long series of stupid mental errors like that...sigh.
     
  3. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    So yesterday, Sochi led 1-0 late in the third period, but then Eeli Tolvanen - Jokerit's 18-year-old superstar who had 9 points at the Olympics and will be leaving to join Nashville in the NHL as soon as his KHL season is done - scored the tying goal with three minutes left in regulation before then scoring the winning goal in overtime. So I'm back in Scotland, having had to fight through a very frustrating drive back north (including two diversions off of the main motorway because of construction works). In the end I was at peace with whichever result might occur in the game, and for the overtime goal I really read the situation well: Tolvanen was skating with the puck with so much pace, and I said something like "Here goes Tolvanen - he's feeling it!" before he bore on goal, drew the Sochi goalie out, skated around the back of the net and scored on a wraparound attempt.

    The game-winning goal went to a lengthy video review, as the referees tried to determine if Jokerit's Brian O'Neill was in the Sochi crease on his own accord and in such a way to render the goal illegal. I'm getting pretty good at filling even a three- or four-minute delay like this (I had one at the end of Game 1 in the Jokerit-Sochi series, and another at the end of the Germany-Sweden quarterfinal at the Olympics), but it is quite tricky: you have to find the right balance between talking and not talking, you have to add value with the comments you do make, and you have to avoid repeating yourself.

    So now I have a few days to unwind and get ready for my tennis assignment - for which I've already bought train tickets from Leeds to London which can't be refunded. I may wind up driving down to Leeds on Tuesday to catch the train, rather than just taking the train from here...because I may not know when my next KHL assignment will be back in Leeds, and I may or may not need to stay in Leeds on my way back. I do wonder how easy it is to sort out the logistics for commentators covering the MLB, NBA or NHL playoffs who fly between cities for each game but may have different destinations depending upon the results of different games.
     
  4. Trotski

    Trotski Member SoSH Member

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    179
    What is the single longest game you've ever broadcasted? When I was in college, I did some Pbp and I ended up calling a 5 OT Women's hockey ECAC championship game. UNH and Providence. Couldn't talk for like two days afterwards.
     
  5. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Wow. The 2OT game I called last week between Sochi and Jokerit was the longest single game I've called, although I've done a few doubleheaders lasting over four hours between them. Nothing to match a 5OT hockey game, though!
     
  6. Trotski

    Trotski Member SoSH Member

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    179
    If I remember correctly, it was 6 hours of broadcasting straight? I do remember running out of things to talk about in between OT's 4 and 5, so we just sent it back to the radio station to play music for 15 minutes so I could drink some coffee.
     
  7. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm trying to figure out what matches from Indian Wells I might be covering tomorrow, and I reckon I'll get the 2-3 least attractive matches of the following Round 3 singles lineup in the bottom half of the draw - i.e., these are the matches that should be assigned to the Stadium 3 court:

    Jack Sock (8) - Feliciano Lopez (28)
    Sam Querrey (18) - Yuki Bhambri
    Marcos Baghdatis - Dudi Sela
    Milos Raonic (32) - Joao Sousa
    Juan Martin Del Potro (6) - David Ferrer (29)
    Leonardo Mayer - Taro Daniel
    Gael Monfils - Pierre-Hughes Herbert
    Marin Cilic (2) - Philipp Kohlschreiber

    I think I can safely discount Sock-Lopez, DelPo-Ferrer and Cilic-Kohlschreiber as being the marquee matchups almost certainly destined for one of the two featured courts, and although Querrey defeated Mischa Zverev on Stadium 3 yesterday, I'm pretty sure that as an American he'll get promoted to a bigger arena to face the conqueror of Lucas Pouille. So that leaves four matches to consider: I'd love to get Monfils-Herbert, as Monfils is always box office and Herbert is a doubles specialist having uncharacteristic singles success this week (which makes for a good storyline), and Daniel did defeat Djokovic yesterday in three sets (which is a match I might talk about at length). But whatever I get should be fine; I think I'll go ahead and do some preliminary research on Monfils, Herbert, Daniel, Mayer, Baghdatis and Sela today, but even if I'm wrong, it shouldn't be too difficult to catch up once I know the order of play tomorrow morning my time.
     
  8. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Well, I was wrong about Querrey getting moved away from Stadium 3 - he is fourth on that court against the Indian qualifier Yuka Bhambri. It's just as well that I only got so far last night as researching Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer, as those are the only two of the six players I mentioned who I'll be covering today. Here's the full order of play for today: I get Daniel-Mayer and then Querrey-Bhambri, with each match being sandwiched by women's singles matches that I'm not covering. So I'll probably begin around 3:30 p.m. ET plus or minus with Daniel-Mayer, and then Querrey-Bhambri might follow around 8:00 p.m. ET (with a huge margin of variance depending upon how long the previous matches go). It's lucky that I watched a lot of the doubles match Querrey played and won yesterday with Gilles Muller against Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, as that will give me a few extra nuggets I can use tonight.

    I'm now on the train from Leeds to London, having driven down to Leeds this morning to use the train tickets I bought a week or two ago when I though I would probably be calling a hockey game yesterday. I parked at a free park-and-ride facility on the outskirts of the city to save a few quid and caught a bus to the train station; the good news was that the bus arrived as soon as I'd parked my car, but the bad news was that I was in such a hurry to catch the bus that I left my winter jacket in the car. I don't *think* I'll miss it until I get back to Leeds on Thursday, but we'll see. Meanwhile, I've got WiFi on the train I can use to research Querrey and Bhambri, so I'm off to do that now. I'm definitely feeling nervous about tonight, particularly on the grounds that I don't watch enough tennis these days to feel fully confident about my tennis commentary abilities, but at least it's usually when I feel nervous that I focus more fully on what I'm doing and pull a few rabbits out of the hat. We'll see...
     
  9. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    5,240
    Good luck! I'll try to tune in for Daniel-Mayer. Tough luck on your other match being a 1am GMT start.

    You might disagree, but I'll always feel tennis commentary is one of those less-is-more affairs where nobody is expecting you to fill the space, even between points. The observations I always wish I were getting include things like,
    - what's making them be content to trade groundstrokes vs decide go for a winner / dropshot / approach to net
    - who's getting their footwork wrong (or impressively right)
    - what spin is being played (Especially with the men) and what that suggests about the opponent or surface
    - particular shots that are or aren't working for each player

    the players always come out with a very specific gameplan for the match, which they'll never share with anyone, but you can kinda determine when (say) 90% of shots by Del Potro's opponent are going to his backhand. Sometimes someone re-evaluates between sets, and then goes more (or less) aggressive. Exposing that planning for the viewers is always great stuff.
     
  10. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    FWIW, it's actually only a four-hour difference between the UK and the US East Coast this week because of the difference in when the clocks go forward, so probably only around midnight for the start of Querrey-Bhambri.

    As to the rest of your post, I agree with you about the less-is-more principle - it's quite a change from ice hockey commentary, that's for sure! - although I think you're perhaps asking for too much with regard to your wish list there. I don't even have access to real-time winners and unforced errors stats during a match, let alone the sort of Hawkeye-based data you get sometimes during the slams: I can only report what you'll see in the onscreen graphics. (Which I can assure you is a source of some discomfort to me!) And of course I don't have any inside information regarding gameplans, although I do like the chess match element of tennis very much, so hopefully I can elucidate *some* of this.

    Anyway, I'm now in a holding pattern, waiting for the Marketa Vondrousova vs. Petra Martic match to end on Stadium 2 so Mayer-Daniel can get out on court. My new colleague next door, commentating on the Stadium 2 match between Monfils and Herbert, was here until nearly 5 a.m. last night waiting for Thiem to stagger out of his match against Cuevas and then had to be up for a 9:30 a.m. doctor's appointment back in Bristol; when Monfils seemed to hurt his back in the first set and called the trainer out after falling 6-2 behind, said commentator could be heard muttering, "An early retirement would be looove-ly...". Me, I'm happy to go deep into the night to get some third-set drama in either or both of my matches, but to each his own!
     
  11. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Huh. So that's what tennis commentary actually feels like.

    I had a disorienting sensation in the first set, in that I was commentating on a sport and wasn't sure I was enjoying myself. Tennis is just so different to ice hockey, with so much time to think about what you want to say and then so much time to judge yourself harshly after saying something you weren't 100% happy with. And as I was trying to feel out what both players were doing and how they were reacting, I really felt like I was struggling to say anything I liked. But toward the end of the first set, something kinda clicked and I felt like I was off and running. Leonardo Mayer and Taro Daniel went with serve until Daniel served to stay in the set at 4-5, and at 15-0 up he had three overhead smashes in a row: the first two were right at Mayer, and the third (off a great defensive lob) went into the net. And Daniel went on to lose the game and the set after saving two set points from 15-40, after which Mayer clicked into overdrive and cruised to a 6-4, 6-1 win. I wouldn't say I was brilliant, but by the end I did kinda like my voice and what I was saying, and I wasn't afraid to cite a line from Season 2 of The West Wing at one point, saying that maybe Daniel was relying a little too much on the recuperative powers of a new shirt. (The new shirt into which he changed at the start of Set 2 was more or less maize and blue, and I resisted the temptation to compare his second half of the match to the second half of the University of Michigan football season.)

    So that's one match down, and now I get probably the more interesting of the two matches in Querrey-Bhambri. The first women's match on court today finished in straight sets, and the second was 6-1, 2-1 at one point but is now back to 6-1, 2-3 on serve in the second; hopefully that finishes in straight sets as well, in which case I might be out of here not too long after midnight. Or perhaps Querrey-Bhambri will be a three-set thriller and I'll stay up later; either way, I'll be happy with that. (I have also been told that I should get at least one singles match tomorrow from Stadium 2 if my only match on Stadium 3 is a doubles match, which will be nice either way!)
     
  12. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    3,829
    Well, that was great fun tonight. Querrey defeated Bhambri 6-7, 6-4, 6-4...and having reorganized my note-taking method between matches, I was much better positioned to succeed. More specifics tomorrow after I get some sleep, but first a quick programming note: I actually get to call the first two R16 singles matches on Stadium 2 tomorrow (Chung-Cuevas and Herbert-Kohlschreiber), which means more great experience and an early night as well. Result!
     
  13. cgori

    cgori Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,163
    All I can think of is a sportsnight episode (pair of episodes?) based around rain delays at Indian Wells. It’s been so long that I have no idea if they are even applicable here, it’s just the first thing I think of when I hear “Indian Wells.”

    Still mightily enjoying the “inside baseball” aspect of this thread, please keep it going.
     
  14. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    31,385
    At least he's not calling a match with Yevgeny Kafelnikov!
     
  15. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    3,829
    But in the one visit I've made thus far to the All England Club, the match I saw the most of featured...Yevgeny Kafelnikov (against Paradorn Srichiphan, IIRC). And now I'm back in Wimbledon. Spooooooky....

    Anyway, as I mentioned previously, I changed my approach somewhat for the Querrey-Bhambri match relative to what I did for Mayer-Daniel: instead of just relying upon the factsheets I'd prepared for each player, I instead tried to translate those sheets into bite-sized chunks I could use during the broadcast. Here's what that looked like in practice:
    A lot of these chunks were meant to be used during the changeovers, where I didn't have to talk - Adam, the other commentator next door who is far more experienced than I am, treated them as ad breaks and didn't say anything at all during them. But felt as though I shouldn't completely disengage if I had enough material. Staying up-to-date with the the latest tennis news - e.g., finding out that Ken Flach died yesterday - certainly helped in that regard. Of course, it was tricky to judge whether or not I should aim to use all of these points during the first two sets or plan to keep stuff in reserve for a potential third set; Bhambri winning the first set pushed me toward the latter course, which was in the end vindicated. In any case, I will refine this approach further still as I prepare for my two matches today.

    I did one thing last night that I've never done before during a broadcast: I yawned a LOT. The thing about hockey, or even basketball, is that no matter how late you're on and no matter how tired you're feeling, there's almost always something to be said. I'm pretty sure the gaps in tennis commentary are as wide as the gaps in any other sport, and last night I got really tired - not as tired as I did for the Olympics, but not far off given that I'd been up since 6 a.m. - and just needed to yawn. And then one yawn led to another...always during points when I didn't need to talk, of course, but frequently I'd go 4 or 5 points in a row where I had to go into full yawn mode. (All of this yawn talk is making you want to yawn as well, isn't it?) It didn't impact my commentary at all, but it didn't help me feel any more professional.

    That said, our producer (Harry) was very kind and said I'd done a "really excellent" job, which is good to hear. Any feedback is good to get in this business, positive or negative!
     
  16. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Incidentally, there was a rain delay this past Saturday night at Indian Wells. I think I heard someone say they get about four inches of rain on average each year in Indian Wells, and they got about three of those inches on Saturday. But yeah, Indian Wells is one of those place names that is utterly synonymous with a sporting event; no wonder the Sorkinese on this one is so strong.

    Incidentally, I should mention that one of the great delights of my job is that it has reawakened my love of certain sports that sometimes fall down my personal pecking order. I haven't really had any time for tennis over the past few months with everything else going on, but this week reminds me that I really ought to make more time to follow tennis, or at least it has confirmed to me that if I were on a desert island with a satellite dish that could only connect me with telecasts of any one sport, I wouldn't really care what sport that might be, because I can find enjoyment and satisfaction in pretty much anything.

    Oh, one other thing about tennis commentary: it teases noises out of my mouth that no other sport does. There's a real art in figuring out how to sigh with disappointment at a wasted shot, or to purr with delight after a powerful winner, or to yelp with surprise after an unexpected passing angle is found. These noises are so much more delicate and nuanced than the usual "HE SCORES!!!" in a hockey game; I think I have an advantage that I often make these noises at home while watching tennis for fun, so translating them into commentary isn't so difficult, but hopefully my viewers will agree!
     
  17. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    3,829
    After my previous post in this thread, I hit the web pretty hard in tracking down facts about the four players I would be covering today, working from pretty much 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with only a half-hour interlude to pop up the road for some lunch. And after all that, and having finished my two matches today...I feel pretty unsatisfied. I mean, I did fine and had enough stuff to talk about - I even pulled some news off the wires about Boris Becker saying Novak Djokovic needs to spend less time with his family if he wants to get back to Federer's and Nadal's level again, and about how Federer's kids opened up a lemonade stand on the street of their rented house in Indian Wells and made about $70 the other day. But I feel somehow fraudulent at this, in a way I don't when covering other sports. I mean, if I had to cover one of these players again tomorrow, what else would I have to say? I could talk in greater detail about what they had done in today's matches, but I'm not a guy with scores of anecdotes about how Philip Kohlschreiber's forehand looks like Thomas Muster's (I just made that up) or how my match between Hyeon Chung and Pablo Cuevas reminded me of a match Mary Jo Fernandez played in the 1980s (which it kinda did, but I didn't risk working that into my commentary). And at the end of the day, there are only so many times you can praise the effectiveness of Cuevas' high kicking serve out wide into the ad court without sounding hopelessly repetitive, or past a certain point, merely hopeless. I'm really just faking it at tennis at the moment: I think my fakery is pretty convincing, but it still feels like fakery. The good news is that now that I've been in the hotseat for four matches over two days, I should be able to listen to future tennis commentaries with a much more discerning ear, and hopefully learn a few tips about how better to fill - or not fill - the gaps between points.

    As for the matches themselves, they both finished in straight sets, but not without incident. Chung was serving for the match over Cuevas at 6-1, 5-0 after less than 55 minutes had elapsed, and Cuevas was all over the shop. And Chung had 7 match points in that game, which lasted nearly 17 minutes, but Cuevas managed to force the break. And then Cuevas held serve, and then he broke Chung again, and I was trying to recall in my head if Mary Jo Fernandez had indeed rallied from a 6-1, 5-0 deficit to win a match or if it was 6-0, 5-1, or if I was just making all of that up. Then Cuevas fell behind 0-40 on his serve at 3-5 down...and then he won two points to make it 30-40, and I said words to the effect of, "If he digs himself out of this hole, then I really have seen everything." And then Chung won what was his 10th match point, and that was that: "Not your stereotypical 6-1, 6-3 victory," I called it. Nice to get a little buzz from an otherwise disappointing match at the end, particularly given that my next match couldn't start until 1 p.m. PDT and I still had 30 minutes in which to have my dinner sandwich and get ready for match #2.

    Speaking of which, Kohlschreiber broke Herbert (pronounced "HAIR bear") in the first game of the match and held serve the rest of the way to take the first set 6-4, and then he broke Herbert in the first game of the second set and held serve the rest of the way to 5-4...but then Herbert broke back. They went to a tiebreak, which Kohlschreiber won 7-1, so that was that. But I did enjoy a few moments: I compared Herbert to Andy Murray, both in physical appearance (slight) and in their tendency to become way too aggressive when facing their opponent's second serves (more pronounced). There was a stat that flashed up on the bottom corner of the screen talking about the RPMs of each player's ground strokes or something nonsensical like that, and I railed against both that stat and the general tendency for meaningless stats like that to get in the way of the fan's understanding of the game, particularly when good stats are available to enhance the fan's understanding instead. And I had a real chuckle this afternoon when I found out that Kohlschreiber's fitness coach is called - in possibly the best example of nominative determinism I've ever heard - Carlo Thränhardt (pronounced pretty close to "Train Hard"), and duly shared that with my viewers.

    Anyway, I finished just as Agent Tim was finishing up his UEFA Champions League highlight duties as a commentator, so we popped out to a pub for a quick drink with two other guys, one of whose voices I recognized as he calls Spanish soccer matches for Sky Sports. We discussed such weighty matters as the merits of the away goals rule in two-legged European ties, and how much better the BBC's "Match of the Day" is than ITV's "The Premiership" was.
     
  18. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    By the way, I had a chat with Agent Tim this afternoon about my relationship with my production contact at DAZN, and how I should perhaps be a bit more sparing in my correspondence with her. I clearly don't want to anger anyone, least of all her, so hopefully I can figure out how best to keep her happy while still getting as much of what I want out of my hockey relationship with DAZN. (Apparently I have become a slight nuisance over the past few weeks, not least because my daughter's TV show filming dates have just shifted laterally by a day again, and today I asked if it may possibly work out to swap the shift I said I could do this Monday for an alternative shift next Wednesday...)

    I do have my KHL playoff lineup more or less sorted, now that Salavat Yulaev Ufa defeated Avangard Omsk in OT in Game 7 today. DAZN will be covering two series in full during the Conference Semifinals: CSKA Moscow vs. Jokerit (#2 vs. #3 in the West), and Ak Bars Kazan vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk (#1 vs. #5 in the East). I'm very happy Ufa won today, as that set up the very tasty-looking series between Kazan and Metallurg, and it would seem as though I'll get games on every date when I'm available, starting with CSKA-Jokerit Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday. Speaking of which, I should probably squeeze in a bit of hockey research before I go to bed in an hour or so...
     
  19. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Today I was back on the hockey beat, after popping into the office yesterday to apologize to my production contact at DAZN for any sins I may or may not have committed. (I've been forgiven, although unless I'm physically in Leeds I will now go through Agent Tim to sort out my bookings instead of contacting her directly myself.) It felt pretty good, even though my game was a clunker: CSKA Moscow defeated Jokerit 4-0 and has now conceded one goal in five playoff games. I've realized that I probably need to narrow my vocal range so that I hit fewer high notes and keep everything tonally lower in pitch, as the moments where I like my voice the least usually come when I'm a bit too high. I was happy with the clips of myself that I listened to after the game.

    I'm really wishing I had been given the other series we're covering this round - Metallurg Magnitogorsk defeated Ak Bars Kazan 4-3 in overtime, and that has the look of a six- or seven-game series. The bad news is that after tomorrow, my next game won't be until next Friday, a consequence of my enforced absence early next week to chaperone my daughter on her first professional acting assignment. That game will be Game 5 of the Metallurg-Ak Bars series, if necessary, and the good news is that I'll then stay down to call both Game 6s and both Game 7s thereafter. (If necessary.)

    Incidentally, I'm now watching the third set of the Del Potro-Kohlschreiber match from my hotel room and taking a few mental notes. I think once the KHL playoffs are done, I'm going to try and watch a fair amount of tennis and hockey and actually write some notes down: I think there's always, always more to learn in this job, even if certain prominent commentators seem to act as though they think the opposite is true. In fairness, I am still very new at this; maybe I'll get to a point where I do feel like I've learned enough to where I can coast a bit, but I hope I never do even if that does happen.
     
  20. StupendousMan

    StupendousMan Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Perhaps you are remembering the match in 1993 between Fernandez and Gabriela Sabatini, in the quarter-final of some event (Wimbledon??). Sabatini was up 6-1, 5-1, but then Fernandez rallied to take the second set 7-6 (7-4), and won a monster of a third set 10-8.
     
  21. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Good knowledge! Wikipedia tells me it was the French Open QF in 1993, not Wimbledon, but I'm almost certain that was the match I was thinking of. (I'll pat myself on the back for remembering the match at all, to be honest...)
     
  22. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Jokerit played better yesterday in Game 2 against CSKA Moscow...but they still didn't score. It finished 2-0, and now the series is 2-0 as well. At least the Ak Bars defeated Metallurg in their Game 2, so I'm guaranteed at least one more day of work in this round of the playoffs. And at least CSKA-Jokerit ended in regulation, which meant I could head up the road into another nor'easter snowstorm before road conditions got too bad. (That said, at one point a car traveling in the opposite direction on the motorway was ramming into the central barrier, and when I looked in my rearview mirror he was skidding across the middle of the three lanes in his direction, so hopefully that accident wasn't too serious.)

    One thing I'm trying to work on at the moment is how I script my introductions to games. I tend to get very wordy in my writing (as you may have noticed), and even when I'm not, I can often choose polysyllabic words that don't scan very well when spoken. I'm happy to use complicated words, but I find myself needing to work harder and go through more revisions of each draft - and to practice saying each draft aloud - to make sure what I've written will work well when spoken, and just as importantly, that there aren't any landmines in the text that might trip me up when I'm trying to speak it.
     
  23. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    A quick KHL update: I'm at home today and tomorrow after chaperoning my daughter on her first professional acting assignment the past two days, but my hockey will restart on Friday when I call Game 5 of the Ak Bars Kazan vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk series. As noted above, I'm down to call every remaining game of the Conference Semifinals after Friday, but as things stand, that could be just the one game on Friday itself: Kazan won a pair of road games to go up 3-1 in their series, and CSKA-Jokerit is also 3-1 for CSKA heading into tomorrow's Game 5 in Moscow. So I may wind up getting a bit shortchanged again in this series.

    I have now been told that I should get every single game in the two Conference Finals series if I want them - and I've said that I do want them. This could mean I wind up spending 14 straight days in Leeds if both series go to Game 7! Not that I've been so lucky to date, but we'll see. (I may pop home to be with my family on Easter morning, even if it means a Saturday night drive north and a Sunday morning drive south, but the specific match times may dictate that.) While I'm disappointed that CSKA has taken command of their series with Jokerit, the dream SKA-CSKA Western Conference Finals series does look exceedingly likely, so that should be a lot of fun. And the Eastern Conference Finals should be pretty evenly matched regardless of who gets through. It's time to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak!
     
  24. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Game 5 of the CSKA Moscow vs. Jokerit series has just started its 4th overtime period, with the score 1-1 - both goals coming back in the first period. (Shots on goal so far are 68-42 in CSKA's favor as things stand.) It's now after 12:30 a.m. in Moscow, and after 9:30 p.m. here; I rather wish I was there calling the game, albeit on the basis that I'd be staying over to call my game tomorrow rather than having to drive home super late at night. I wonder if Paul Adey, who I think is calling the game in my place, will miss the final train back to his home near Nottingham from Leeds?
     
  25. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    CSKA's Roman Lyubimov had the puck in the net in the 4th overtime period, but after video review it was ruled out for some reason, so they went to a 5th overtime...and in the end, at the 144:09 mark of the game, Jokerit scored! So I do get to call a game on Saturday. I'm gutted I wasn't there for this game, though - it was the longest game in KHL history, and as I learned from the English-language KHL Twitter feed, one of the Jokerit players tonight was on the winning side of what is now the second-longest KHL game as well. (Jokerit goalie Karri Ramo saved 83 shots tonight; his team had only 48 shots on goal at the other end.) I bet Paul is gutted I wasn't there as well: I checked the train timetables, and I'm almost certain he won't be able to get home by train tonight. Tomorrow I'll have to email him and ask him what happened...
     
  26. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm back in Leeds, and yesterday I called Ak Bars Kazan vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a game in which it took seven minutes to match the goal total of the 144 minutes in CSKA-Jokerit Game 5. There was only one goal after that, though, and Kazan led throughout to win 3-1 and clinch the series 4 games to 1. That means I don't have a game to call on Sunday, so I'm going to check out of my hotel shortly and head back home this evening after my game; if Jokerit wins, I'll come back to Leeds on Monday as a day trip for Game 7. (Better news yesterday for me was Ufa's 1-0 win over Traktor Chelyabinsk to take a 3-2 series lead; if Ufa wins that series, we'll not only have a "Green Rivalry" series between Ufa and Kazan in the Eastern Conference Finals - one of the great rivalries in Russian hockey - but I'll also have made it through the playoffs without calling any games featuring teams I didn't call during the regular season, thereby saving me a fair amount of extra research!)

    I did exchange emails with Paul Adey yesterday - he wound up getting put up in a hotel after the game, which is good of DAZN (and nice of me to know for the future). For my game today, I did a lot of prep on the longest overtime games in world hockey - you may recall that a Norwegian game last March went to 8 overtimes - and other stats, facts and figures relating to Game 5. I really do enjoy going down rabbit holes like these with my research to learn facts that I think my listeners might find interesting. *I* find them interesting, anyway...
     
  27. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    In the first period of my call of Jokerit-CSKA Moscow Game 6 today, I mentioned that I've done a fair amount of soccer commentary for DAZN, and that this series reminded me of soccer in terms of the value and scarcity of goals - they had been so rare, that each goal almost feels as though it counts double. So of course, today Jokerit took a 2-1 lead after one period, and then it was 4-3 CSKA after the second period...at which point I suggested that perhaps everyone should ignore my comments about goal scarcity from the first period! But then CSKA clamped down in the third period and strangled the game, hanging on to win by that 4-3 scoreline and set up a great showdown with SKA St. Petersburg in the Western Conference Finals, starting on Thursday. Shame about the ending, but I was pleased to get seven goal calls today in a series in which no more than four goals had been scored in any one game previously. (CSKA actually pulled goalie Ilya Sorokin after the first period, even though he wasn't really at fault for either goal and even though he still has an 0.73 goals against average and a .964 save percentage for the playoffs: a brave call, but it worked out, as backup goalie Lars Johansson stopped 14 of 15 shots in his first action in the playoffs.)

    As for my own performance today, despite getting an unusually good night's sleep last night I felt a little slow in keeping up with the play for much of the game. Maybe the uniforms were putting me off: Jokerit's blue/red/yellow home jerseys are notoriously difficult to read, but CSKA's numbers were tough to decipher as well. I did check the playback during each intermission, and everything sounded OK, but I want to keep progressing to where I feel I can hold my own with the average NHL TV commentator even with the disadvantages of watching the commentary on a sub-HD monitor. Incidentally, I did include what I thought was a nice line in my introduction to today's game: these are the Gagarin Cup Playoffs I'm commentating on, so after doing some research I noted that Yuri Gagarin himself could have orbited the earth four times in his Vostok-1 spacecraft in the time it took for Game 5 of Jokerit-CSKA to finish.

    Anyway, I headed back up the road after the game and am now home in Scotland again until Thursday - I had hoped to have another Game 6 tomorrow and two Game 7s on Monday and Tuesday, but if as anticipated I get to call every single game in the final two playoff rounds and am away from home as much as I think I might be, having this extra time at home now will be appreciated by my wife and kids. I missed 10-year-old son's soccer match this morning, in which he apparently nailed a half-volley from more than 20 yards out across the goalie and into the upper corner for what his coach called "the best goal I've ever seen at this age level" in his postgame match report; as someone who has never traveled or been away from home anything like as regularly in past jobs as I am in my current job, I am certainly aware that my dream job does entail a certain level of sacrifice.
     
  28. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Incidentally, before my game today I took the time to record the Russian national anthem as it was performed before Game 2 of the CSKA-Jokerit series - I think the Russian anthem is one of my 4 or 5 favorite anthems in the world, but I'm not so sure about this rendition. (As you can hear from my comments after the performance is over!)

     
  29. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I spent a fair amount of time today working to revise the format of my standard ice hockey research template for the teams still alive in the KHL playoffs. I've realized that when I look down at my sheet to match a player's number to his name, the number and name are on the left side of the sheet, which means that information on the right side of the sheet tends to get ignored when I want to reference a fact or stat about a player in possession of the puck while the play is continuing. So I rejiggered things to put the postseason stats and one key fact about each player directly adjacent to their names, which I think should help a lot during the normal flow of play.

    I got something of a bad break today when Traktor Chelyabinsk won Game 7 of its series at Salavat Yulaev Ufa. That means we don't get a Kazan-Ufa "Green Rivalry" series in the KHL's Eastern Conference Finals, and because I haven't yet commentated on Traktor at all this season, I have to do extra research on them than I would have needed to do if Ufa had won. Still, it shouldn't be too difficult, and I can tailor that research to my newly changed template; I have found that as the season has gone on, the teams that I waited until later in the season to call for the first time are the teams that I've tended to be the best prepared for. (I actually went back and re-researched some CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg players today to make sure I had all the information I should have for them - a long overdue step, really!)
     
  30. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    What a brilliant start I had to the KHL playoffs today, as Game 1 of the hotly anticipated series between SKA St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow - almost certainly the two best club teams outside of the NHL, in my estimation - lived up to the billing and more. After a decent first period, in which SKA scored the only goal, the second period burst into life with a game-tying goal for CSKA at 0:59, a go-ahead goal for CSKA at 5:01, a tying goal for SKA only 12 seconds later at 5:13, another CSKA go-ahead goal at 8:39, and then another SKA tying goal at 12:06 to make it 3-3 after two. Both teams then traded goals in the third period, so we went to overtime tied 4-4...and at the 6:35 mark of overtime, the unheralded Andrei Kuzmenko - whose only playoff point of the season had come in Game 6 against Jokerit - completed his hat-trick for CSKA to win it 5-4. I generally thought I had a strong commentary game, and I had a really nice, simple call of the OT winner - "Kuzmenko turns, shoots...scores!" Very clean. I can only hope I'm so lucky over the rest of my trip.

    What didn't really work, though, was my new research template. Some of the changes I made worked, but some of them were too confusing during the heat of battle - I felt like I was floundering in trying to find information on my sheets. So I'll need to tweak things again before tomorrow's game between Ak Bars Kazan and Traktor Chelyabinsk.

    On the personal front, despite not getting a room at the serviced apartments very near to the studio, which my production assistant was trying to book me (they couldn't accommodate me across each of the first eight days I'll be here), I've got a double-sized room at the better of the two hotels I normally frequent, which is a bonus. Also, this trip will be rather different insofar as I've scheduled a round of golf during it! There are two highly regarded courses near Leeds called Alwoodley and Moortown that were designed by Alister MacKenzie (the architect who designed Augusta National and two other courses I've played and dearly love, Cypress Point and Pasatiempo in California); I've been meaning to play both of them at some point while I'm down in Leeds, and I have a 9:40 a.m. tee time at Alwoodley on Wednesday, before SKA-CSKA Game 4. I'm at least somewhat hesitant to put an obstacle like this ahead of a commentary engagement, but my game the day before ends early, and my game on the day itself doesn't start until 5:30 p.m. my time, so the circumstances are as favorable as they could be. I do wish I hadn't forgotten my winter coat at home again, though...mainly because it has my winter golf hat in one of its pockets.
     
  31. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Here's a look at my studio setup before the start of my KHL commentary game today between Ak Bars Kazan and Traktor Chelyabinsk. I suppose it's *possible* that I could have squeezed more information within sight of my eyeline, but I doubt it.

    [​IMG]
     
  32. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Plenty of interesting things happening today - well, interesting to me, at least - on my commentary journey. The aforementioned game between Kazan and the Traktor boys was 1-0 to the visitors (Traktor) heading into the third period, with another potential upset on the cards, and they killed off nearly two minutes of 5-on-3 Kazan power play time right at the start of the third as well. But Kazan scored goals at 11:00 and 13:44 of the third period to rally into the lead, and then survived a 6-on-4 Traktor power play right at the end of the game, in which a Traktor player had a wide open goal scoring opportunity with five seconds left - just needing to redirect the puck into a virtually empty net - but managed to shank it over the glass and out of play.

    As you can see from the above setup, I print out a LOT of information before each match - much of which is in Excel spreadsheet form, or Excel spreadsheets copied as images and pasted into a PowerPoint slide which I can then print (I use PowerPoint as an easy way to organize multiple images and text boxes for printing). And today I made a two significant modifications to my normal routine. For one, I learned to used a pair of scissors effectively, cutting off the unused margins of my printing to allow me to squeeze more information into each square inch of space. (My wife used to be into scrapbooking and has a couple of guillotines lying around the house back home; I may bring one of those with me to Leeds next time.) For two, I discovered that our office printer has an A3 paper supply (UK equivalent of 11"x17"). Those two multi-colored sheets hanging below my monitor were printed on A3 paper and then cut to size: those are my main research notes for each team, and I've now realized I don't need to be bound by with width of an A4 sheet when printing stuff off. A very handy, if somewhat belated, lesson to have learned.

    At the top of the monitor, you can see a very thin strip of paper running horizontally that I scissored off the top of one of my other printouts - it has a few phrases and words on it that I wanted to try and work into my commentary today. I think the single area I'm weakest at in my commentary now is my descriptive ability: I wish I were more poetic, more capable of snapping off memorable phrases to perfectly describe what I'm seeing in front of me. Not being ornate for its own sake, but to really pull off a memorable descriptive phrase. For example, I mentioned here that I recently watched the final round of the 1975 Masters, and when Tom Weiskopf made his birdie putt on 15 to move ahead of Jack Nicklaus by a stroke, Ben Wright said that the applause ringing around the green and across to 16 where Nicklaus was "would be evil music ringing in Nicklaus' ears". I don't know how to get to where I'm capable of such genius, but I do hope in my spare time in the offseason to do some work in studying other great commentators and scientifically mapping out some strategies and ideas in this regard. Meanwhile, what I did this morning was go to www.dtmts.com to watch the highlights of the Blackhawks-Jets and Bruins-Lightning games from last night, and while listening to Pat Foley and Jack Edwards I jotted down some phrases I liked that I thought I might be able to use which I don't normally use, and then I challenged myself to use as many of them as I could at appropriate moments during today's game. Most of them were basic: e.g., I often use the words "deflection" and "diversion", but I rarely use the word "redirection" to describe the re-routing of a puck headed toward the net, so I put that down on my little strip of paper. Another slightly more descriptive one was "blew a tire" to describe a player who falls to the ice seemingly without cause, often at the end of a shift, and I did manage to use that phrase in the third period at an apt moment. I liked how this exercise worked today, and I think I'll pursue it again during my current stay in Leeds and see where it takes me.

    The other vaguely interesting thing that happened today was me receiving an email around lunchtime my normal production contact at DAZN, asking when I'd be in the office today. I wondered if I was in trouble or something, but actually, she wanted to give me a parking pass that I can use to get into any of four different parking garages in Leeds, one of which I can see out the window in the hallway outside the studio. This is an experiment good only until the end of the month, but it may prove handy particularly on the last day of my trip when I want to leave the office quickly and head north immediately. It'll be less handy when I head off for my round of golf on Wednesday morning, given that my car is currently parked very near to my hotel and the nearest one of these car parks is probably five minutes' walk away, but it's nice that for the rest of the month I won't have to rely upon paying for my own parking, forwarding the receipts on and then getting reimbursed long after the fact.
     
  33. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Oh, I also bumped into Producer Ben while he was alone, looking at his phone on his lunch break. A rare moment in which I could pin him down, and I asked him about how DAZN Canada is covering the MLS, particularly from the commentary perspective. Apparently DAZN doesn't have the rights to any of the Canadian teams' games, and for now they're just using the World Feed commentators for the games involving US teams. But there may come a point later in the season where they do gallery games involving Leeds-based commentators - and they might have done a gallery for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's MLS debut if they'd gotten the word in time - and I mentioned as casually and cheekily as possible to Ben that maybe my American accent might play well in this regard? He said yes, it might, and smiled...which is really all I was hoping to get out of him. I'm hoping to get *some* work during the summer between the end of the KHL playoffs in late April and my trip to Jakarta in mid-August; right now I only have two ATP 1000 tennis dates from Madrid in May and probably some World Cup Basketball at the end of June, and while I'm happy to pretend I'm on a teacher-like schedule and get most of the summer off, I'd like to have a bit more work to keep me going along the way. The MLS might be one possible answer in that regard.
     
    #483 ConigliarosPotential, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  34. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Game 2 of SKA St. Petersburg vs. CSKA Moscow just finished and was a bit of a damp squib - plenty of intensity, the occasional fight, and two decent goals scored by SKA, but it never reached the heights of Game 1. Not a bad result for DAZN, though: in about an hour-and-a-half from now, all four commentary booths in Leeds will be used (three soccer matches and the boxing card leading up to Anthony Joshua's latest title fight being covered), and if my game had gone to double overtime, that could have been problematic. I did identify the risk here and brought it to the attention of both the control room and Producer Ben; it's the sort of situation where if you don't plan for the worst, the worst is probably all that much more likely to happen.

    The most interesting element of the game was probably the technical glitch we had in the first period. At one point the screen briefly went black but came online after a few seconds, but then a short time after that there was a very odd electronic-sounding buzzing noise that overtook most of the arena sounds as the picture started flickering. I kept commentating over the top of the buzzing, and CSKA committed the first penalty of the game during this period; just as they were showing replays of the penalty, and as SKA prepared to go on the power play, the picture went completely black and all sound disappeared. It was off for a good three-and-a-half minutes as the control room tried to sort things out, and the long we were off, the more sure I was that SKA would score to take the lead. After about two minutes I quickly Googled "KHL streaming", hoping to find a working stream that might allow me to see any key incidents while we waited for my satellite connection to be restored, but all the links at the site I found led to interminable adverts and pop-up windows, so that plan wasn't going to work in time. Rather suddenly, the picture and sound was restored, so I immediately started commentating again...only to then hear the control room voice in my ear saying "It looks like the picture has stabilised, so we're going back live in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and you're live." So I had to regroup and start again - the good news was that we didn't miss a goal, and I think I was able to bluff my way through the outage by saying "You didn't really miss anything", and luckily when a few highlights from the power play were shown, none of them was terribly dramatic. (Still not sure whether the issue was on our side or the KHL's, but when our control room rang through to our designated helpline in Russia, nobody answered.)
     
  35. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Just a quick addendum to today: after going out for a bite to eat (at a curious chicken-and-waffles food truck within a shopping center near to the studio), I popped back to pick up my stuff and also say hello to Agent Tim, who is currently calling the Juventus vs. Milan soccer match along with Dominic Matteo, the former Liverpool and Leeds defender/midfielder. I then participated in a really interesting conversation, mostly listening to Dominic hold court on all sorts of subjects - the old facilities at Liverpool's Melrose training ground, how much money Eric Cantona demands for speaking engagements, how much nicer Gary Neville is as a person now that he's a commentator rather than with Man Utd, how much money you get for a commentary assignment with Sky Sports (a *lot* more than I make at DAZN!), and so on - but also trying to chip in and leave a positive impression where I could. You may recall that I had commentated on the reverse fixture between Milan and Juventus in October, so that was good a good starting point, but I suddenly found myself surprising myself by saying stuff like "Ian Harte was a really good set-piece taker, wasn't he?" (to which Matteo said, "Oh yeah - he could bend it even more than Beckham") and "I remember you in Championship Manager as being the ultimate utility man, a real Swiss Army knife of a player who you could buy and slot in pretty much anywhere." I don't know where this knowledge resides in my brain, but I suspect it's taking up RAM that ought to be devoted to remembering to bring my coat or power cable with me on my trips somewhere.
     
  36. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This morning I went to church for Easter Sunday and then got to the office not long after noon, nearly three hours before Game 2 of Ak Bars Kazan vs. Traktor Chelyabinsk was due to start. I figured I'd veg out and record some of my broadcasts from the internet while having lunch, but I hadn't been in long when Nick Halling popped in to ask if I'd see the coat he'd left behind last night while commentating on the boxing. Nick used to be one of the two main NFL presenters on Sky Sports in the UK, and he famously (or perhaps infamously) became the first non-American commentator on an NFL game when he called Panthers-Falcons for Fox more than a decade ago now. After helping him track down his coat, he asked how I knew his name, and so I struck up a really nice conversation with him which I think went on for nearly an hour - he was calling Nice vs. Troyes in Ligue 1 an hour after my game started, so we both had plenty of spare time. I was a bit nervous about mentioning that I was now presenting NFL games for DAZN, but when I did he said that he'd put his name in the hat for that previously but was told that Canada would definitely need an American voice on the NFL, which was a relief for me to hear, as was his judgment that I potentially have quite a nice niche here in the UK as an American voice, particularly as DAZN in Leeds is hiring and expanding and clearly isn't going anywhere.

    We covered a huge range of topics, and while there were many pleasant avenues our chat went down, the thing that will probably stay with me was his brief summary of what caused him to leave his NFL job: it boiled down to a bit of office politics, and it wasn't a role he'd wanted to leave, but he said he was given about five weeks' notice and found himself leaving a job he loved and one for which he was very well compensated. He did find other work with Sky, at least for a while, but at nothing like the level he'd been at...and that's always the danger in this business, isn't it? Job security is a myth. Of course, I've also discovered firsthand that job security in more traditional 9-to-5 jobs is rather more tenuous than I'd thought was the case, so I'm not about to chuck it all in any time soon...

    As for my game today, it was a cracker for about 45 minutes - Traktor scored twice in the first six minutes to take a 2-0 road lead after the first, but Kazan scored three times in less than eight minutes in the second before a great equalizer for Traktor made it 3-3 after two. There were great saves and chances and injuries and penalties...and then, 56 seconds into the third period, Traktor committed a 5-minute major penalty. A minute into that power play, Traktor committed another penalty, but they managed to kill off the full two minutes of 5-on-3 action, and I thought this could be a major turning point in the series. But then Traktor committed *another* penalty, Kazan scored 5-on-3 to take the lead (I think they had 14 shots on goal in the first seven minutes of the third period), and Traktor ran out of steam and lost 4-3. So it's two games to zero for Kazan; I do think Traktor has at least one win in them in this series, but I'm not sure they can get to two or three.

    One other note: last night I was a bit worried that I might run out of things to say during the playoffs, covering the same four teams every day, so I reached out to some people I vaguely knew from Twitter to see if they'd willingly become my KHL pen pals. I did connect with one of them and got some nice insider-ish information about the league I hadn't heard before. And I also discovered - after asking and hearing back from two people - that I've been sort of messing up the name of the best team in the league all season. For SKA St. Petersburg, I'd always spelled out the initials as "S-K-A". But during the current playoff series, I heard the PA system in St. Petersburg reference "Ska" (as a word and not an anagram), then I heard the crowd chanting "Ska! Ska!", and so I thought I'd check...I think "S-K-A" isn't wrong as such, but it is more commonly "Ska". So now I have to figure out a way to introduce that pronunciation into my commentary without sounding like any more of an idiot than I feel for not having checked this out much, much earlier in the season.
     
  37. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    While I'm thinking about it: are there any parts of my diary you guys would like to hear more of, or less of? Game reports, conversations with other commentators and my agent/producers, things that happen to me during my commentary games, logistical stuff about my travels...all suggestions would be appreciated. (I'm not just writing all this guff for myself, after all.)
     
  38. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Anything? Anything at all? (Bueller?) :)

    Game 3 between CSKA Moscow and "Ska" St. Petersburg just finished, and it finished 5-2 to SKA (including an empty-netter at the end). Not the first game in the postseason I've called that has started strong and been very fun for two periods before really fizzling out in the third; not sure if that's just down to good clamping down by the team in the lead, or a general lack of fitness across the KHL, or just rotten luck. But I did enjoy the first two periods...and while it sounded very unnatural to say "Ska" at first, I coped with it fine and found it much easier to say than "S-K-A", being one syllable instead of three and all.

    One thing I'm discovering is that lowering my voice into a loud growl can be just as effective in emphasising a point as raising the pitch of my voice into a yell. In fact, I rather prefer the sound of my low growl to my high yelp: I made a couple of calls on great yesterday for which I instinctively dropped my voice rather than raising it, and I consciously tried to do more of that today, I think successfully. It's another step in my development as a commentator, I think, as I inch closer and closer to what I think would be a truly acceptable standard for NHL commentary. (Doing all of these games in succession definitely helps rather than hinders my development, as I can quickly put these lessons I'm teaching myself into practice.)
     
  39. CallYaz

    CallYaz Member SoSH Member

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    Great to catch up on everything at lunch today. Really fascinated with your setup and how you handled the glitch. Did you mention to the audience that you were having technical difficulties and then stay silent?
     
  40. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    The other way round, actually: as soon as we get a glitch, I go quiet as soon as possible, and then only once I'm back on air and the picture is restored do I apologize for the technical difficulties. To talk over a blank screen would truly destroy the illusion that I'm there in the arena; I figure it's easy enough for people paying attention to tell that I'm watching on a screen myself, but why spoil things for people who are happily ignorant in this regard?
     
  41. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    I hope you can work a Sublime joke in the next time you call a "Ska" game.

    I've enjoyed the stories about the inside-baseball conversations with other commentators. I do wonder how meritocratic vs politically craven these jobs are, and the chat with Nick Halling was interesting. You make Producer Ben sound like a nice guy but it does make me wonder a bit that once you clear the "marginally competent at calling games" threshold, if it isn't more like high school popularity nonsense than an evaluation of one's skills. I'm looking forward to the big plot twist in Season 3 where it turns out Agent Tim has been conspiring with his clients to keep your wages down while taking a sizable cut off the top, and you start using phrases like "of course you realize, this means war!"

    Either way, I've gotten a good picture of what the lifestyle is like, what parts are fun and what's a grind. I enjoy hearing the differences between sports, and especially the nuances of the craft and how you're working on it (since I can start to think about those things when listening to other commentary performances).

    The on-air incidents can be fun stories too, but those seem like occasional mishaps rather than an ongoing theme. I mean, it's not like your production crew are a bunch of bozos. Though I did laugh excessively hard at "when our control room rang through to our designated helpline in Russia, nobody answered". Speaking of which:

    I assume it was done Colbert Report style.
     
  42. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Curiously, Wikipedia tells me that St. Petersburg is actually the Russian home of Ska music:
     
  43. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    The office is really buzzing today, as everyone is gearing up for the start of the Commonwealth Games tomorrow - the big, Olympic-like event for Britain and all of its former colonies. DAZN is doing a gallery event every day during the two weeks of competition, and today they're doing a trial run with all of their production crew. I had a brief chat this afternoon with Director Ric, who directed most of my NFL gallery games last autumn (and who I hadn't seen since then - he's always seemed like a really nice guy); he's directing 11 different four-hour broadcasts over the 13 days of competition. I saw Producer Ben and asked him how he's doing, and he said, "If I can get through the next 14 days in one piece, I'll be OK."
     
  44. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    5,240
    Are you doing any of the events there? Sounds like it'd be all-hands-on-deck.
     
  45. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Actually, no - I'm pretty tied up with my KHL commitments through to the end of the playoffs. And in truth, I'm pretty sure DAZN will mostly be using the World Feed commentary to cover the Games - it's only the gallery events that require local commentary here, and I think it's more of a hosting/presenting job than a commentary job. The reason it's so busy here is that there's an exponential increase in the number of production tasks to be done - highlights to edit, promos to cut, and so on - in addition to the resources required to make the galleries work.
     
  46. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Ugh...what a sad ending to my KHL game today. Traktor took Kazan to overtime, tied 1-1, but committed a penalty early in the first overtime period. They had just about killed the penalty when one of their defensemen failed to clear the puck when given an obvious chance to do so, and as their player came out of the penalty box onto the ice but before he could get back into the fray, the Kazan defenseman at the point scored the winner through a screen. I gave a really rousing call on the winning goal, but as it went in my heart sank - it's now 3-0 to Kazan in the series, and it's possible my trip may end as soon as Friday, of Kazan can finish the job on Thursday and SKA wins its next two games over CSKA. Or alternatively, SKA could win its series 4-2, leaving me potentially to drive home to Scotland while the final round of the Masters is taking place. (Which would truly suck.) All of which may also cost me a fair amount of money as well, but we'll see...
     
  47. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Amusingly, Conor McNamara is in the booth across from me just now. I say amusingly because he was in Turin last night, calling Ronaldo's wonder goal against Juventus in the Champions League for BBC Radio Five Live, and now he's calling the Milan derby tonight in Serie A, but he's had to come back to Leeds to slum it with me instead of taking the short trip to Milan himself. That's the way it works in this business! I asked if he fancies a game of golf on Friday, but he's apparently got about four games in four places to call in three days from Friday to Sunday and has rather overextended himself; a golf round might send him over the brink.

    I made it to the office very early today, my golf game at Alwoodley having been reduced to a walk through various puddles (the course being unplayable), and was here in time for the second half of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. I can now see the commentary lineup in the different booths here over the next few days, and I can therefore see that the same two guys - who I think are both Canadian, and were probably flown over for the two weeks - are hosting each day's Gallery program around the same time each day. I think my main takeaway from observing this morning's transmission is that opening ceremonies for Olympics-type events seem really, really tedious both to broadcast and to commentate upon!
     
  48. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I caught a break today, I think, as CSKA Moscow rallied from a 1-0 deficit after 40 minutes to win 2-1 over SKA St. Petersburg. That ties the series up a 2-2, guaranteeing me another game on Sunday evening...and possibly forcing me to miss the final round of the Masters (my #1, can't drag me away from the screen sporting event every year), I'm not yet sure. That's definitely life as a commentator, though: you don't get to watch all the sports you may want to watch, because sometimes the sports you get paid to watch (or the travel you undergo to get there or back) get in the way.

    Today, the keywords I stuck to the top of my monitor were synonyms of "lift". When someone plays the puck high into the air down the ice, I've realized my vocabulary is limited to "lift", "scoop", "lob", "flip", "loft" and maybe occasionally the odd "chip" or "pitch" in the golfing sense of those terms. Five to seven words is barely enough to avoid boring repetition over the course of a full game, never mind when you're doing another game literally every night. As such, I wrote the following down for today: "hoist", "chuck", "launch", "propel", "catapult", "sling", "toss", "throw" and "dispatch". I didn't use them all, but I did like the timing of my use of "catapult" today, as it did match the visuals enough of the act in question to make it appropriate. Any other useful synonyms you'd like to suggest for me, I'll maybe (or maybe not) give you an on-air credit. ;)

    Meanwhile, I've take the time to upload a few of my highlights videos from the current round of the KHL Playoffs, if anyone is interested - these are my two favorite games of the Conference Finals so far:

    SKA vs. CSKA, Game 1:



    Kazan vs. Traktor, Game 2:



    You'll need to enter the password KHL to view both videos, by the way...and note that the clarity of each video gets much better once the intros are done and the actual game footage begins. (One point of amplification regarding one of my previous comments: check out my call at the five-minute mark of the Kazan-Traktor game to see what I mean about dropping my voice into a growl as a form of emphasis. I've been doing more and more of that of late, and I like it.)
     
  49. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    31,385
    I've always been partial to "skyed"
     
  50. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    That's a good shout.

    By the way, here's an excerpt from the intro script I've written for tomorrow's game between Ak Bars Kazan and Traktor Chelyabinsk.

    "In the KHL’s 10-year history, only one team has rallied from three games down to win 4-3: that was SKA St. Petersburg, in the 2015 Western Conference Finals against CSKA Moscow. Traktor does not look the likeliest candidate to repeat that feat, but to quote the old Chinese proverb, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And for the Traktor boys to take this series to Game 7, their future journeys back and forth between Chelyabinsk and Kazan will be about 1,000 miles long – so make of that what you will."

    Too Nantz-y?
     

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