The lone silhouette of this goalie effortlessly gliding over the glossy, untainted ice mystified the prospective journalists. The sounds of pucks hitting off the post, glass and boards, while initially startling, would eventually become the soundtrack of the day for all who were involved.
Soon after, each and every player filed out of the locker room and prepared for practice. Some were unmoved by the presence of the young journalists. Their eyes were locked on target and did not waver.
There were others who let their personality seep through their outer demeanor with an audience in attendance. These players, namely starting goalie Marty Turco, would do anything from posing for pictures as they made their way around the rink to firing pucks into the glass separating the students from the ice.
After lunch, all in attendance moved across the street, where the press conference would be held. There were chairs set up facing a long table where the panel of guests would be sitting.
Before the players entered, the journalists who were at the event spoke to the students about the trials and tribulations that a sports journalist has to go through to make it big.
Stars play-by-play announcer Ralph Strangis moderated the press conference. He introduced other members of the media that included Gina Miller from CBS 11 and TXA 21 as well as Fox Sports Net anchor John Rhadigan.
They all came up to the podium and gave their testimonial. They told how their careers started and how they got into the business.
Everyone preached about things like showing up to work, being thorough and working hard. But more than anything else, the journalists spoke around one topic at the proverbial pulpit: Persistence.
Gina Miller spoke about getting her first job in Houston, in which she called the station every day for six weeks until she finally got the job. John Rhadigan talked about the time he left the Dallas NBC affiliate for the newly created Fox Sports Net. He called them every day for months, even after he was sent to Sydney for the Olympic Games by the station he was already working for.
These tales of perseverance opened the eyes of all listening, as the students realized how it might very well be them in a few years.
After the students asked a couple questions of the esteemed journalists, Stars players Steve Ott
, Stephane Robidas
and Trevor Daley
came in for the second part of the press conference. The entire room listened in awe as Ralph Strangis briefly interviewed the professional athletes. Then the floor was opened up to questions to members of the “press.”
Hanging off of every word and engrossed in every syllable, the players’ words were awe-inspiring to those listening. The fact that the students were being treated like adults was a refreshing change to the normal treatment a high school journalist receives.
The fact of the matter is these students all want to be at a point in their lives where they may be standing on the other side, telling their story to students, explaining where they are and how they got there.
The entire day was a learning experience and an eye opener for all who participated. And the Dallas Stars High School Media Day wasn’t just about watching a Stars practice or talking with players or missing part of a day of school.
It was about giving a bunch of deserving high school students a chance to live out their dreams and to be given an experience to spend a day as professional journalists in an environment where they felt like they belonged.Author: Brian Brown
Brian is a senior at Plano West High School