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On the road with the Cats.

September 21, 2007 by Mark Cornelison  
Filed under Blog, Mark Cornelison, Sports

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I am sitting in the Chicago-O’Hare airport. My day began at 5:00 a.m. to catch the 6:30 flight that brought me here and later to Arkansas for tomorrow’s UK-Arkansas game. When I was first getting into this job I always thought how cool it would be to fly around and shoot games all over the place. Now that is a reality for me at certain times of the year. It is the cool factor that is not always so high.

Things you don’t think about:

1. Catching the early flight to save some money SOUNDS good when you are booking but when you have to get up at say 4:00 a.m. (after going to bed at midnight following the game the night before) to drive almost an hour to catch a 6:00 or 6:30 flight it is quickly not so cool.

2. The great “airline accepted” travel cases we have to put our cameras in, that are guaranteed to fit in the overheads, do in fact fit in a LOT of planes. Just not most of them that fly into a lot of the SEC towns we travel too. Today I am flying into the Northwest Arkansas Airport, which is literally in the middle of a cow pasture. So the result of the cases being too big is you have to check them. This is not a good feeling the first time you have to do it. If you get to the location with no cameras suddenly I am one of the guys on the sidelines shooting with a Sure Shot camera! The answer is to gate check the cameras. I usually have my personal Pelican case with airline-approved combination locks. The locks are more for a deterrent and to help keep the case closed in the event it rolls around a lot in the plane.

3. When covering many games the day after the game is sometimes your day off. Do you fly home early to actually enjoy your day off, or do you sleep in because it is your day off. If you sleep in you feel a little better physically, but you are getting home at 5:00 and can barely make it to a sports bar to watch the Raiders play. Sometimes THAT is not worth the rush home either. The end result is you fly home early. (SEE #1). You are home in time to have a day off, but are tired from being up late and getting up so early.

Now, none of this should be seen as complaining. I love to travel with the Cats and I love the pressure of being the only staffer there to get the play of the game. No back up! Gets the blood flowing.

So now I have put myself out there declaring I will have the play of the game in tomorrows paper. During the game winning run in the Louisville game Steve Johnson streaked down the sideline right past me holding a 300 2.8. WAY TOO TIGHT! Knowing it was too tight, I looked to shoot Andre’ Woodson celebrating the play but with people running all over the sideline exploding I had no shot.


The funny thing about it is my boss Ron Garrison was at the game, actually shooting, and said he was looking through some of his photos with our Editor Linda Austin, also at the game…. not shooting, and noticed everyone was looking at the end zone except me looking the other way. Many people who don’t do what we do may not understand what I was doing looking for the second layer of the moment. I’m sure it can appear that you don’t know what you are doing! Hope Linda knows what I was doing! Had the shot of Woodson been great it would be a no brainer, what I was doing but since it did not work out I find myself in the Chicago airport explaining myself!

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One Response to “On the road with the Cats.”
  1. KL says:

    The fact that you enjoy having the responsibility of getting THE shot is what makes you the professional and me the amateur.

    Of course, it also makes me the one who gets to stay in bed as long as I want on my days off.

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