Into The Abyss

While others spent Friday, October 6th watching movies, eating a nice dinner or relaxing, I was putting up banners and moving 10,000 rally flags inside a half-lit arena until 12:30 am. And so, it begins again. “It” being hockey season and ”it” being the combination of emotions that comes along with working in a front office of a professional sports team.

Part of the responsibilities in my new position with the team are to oversee the game presentation department. What’s that? Well, I usually explain as “all of the fun stuff that happens at games.” Think videos, think music, think intermissions. For an organization like ours, it’s a tall task because of the bar that we’ve set for ourselves in five seasons here. Daunting? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Creative and exhilirating when it works? Absolutely. There’s nothing like that rush you get when an idea you’ve created gets a great reaction. On the flip side, it can be an empty, hollow feeling when something flops miserably. But the show must go on. That’s show biz for you.

Saturday was our Opening Night, the kickoff to the season. It’s like the season premiere of a good TV show as you debut a lot of the cool new stuff you worked on during the offseason, while also bringing back some of the familiarity that makes people remember why they came in the first place. The process of an Opening Night is nerve-wracking and intense. I have never worked as hard and as many hours as I did over the past two months. I paced for almost an hour in our zamboni tunnel, waiting for everything to come together. My mouth was dry and I wasn’t making any sense at times. Friends will say that’s nothing new, but that’s why they’re friends.

Sleepless nights, a few ‘Oh my god’ breakdowns, breakthroughs and breakdowns were all stops along the road to Saturday night. Have you been watching the new NBC show, Studio 60? (If not, you’re missing a great hour of TV. More on this later.) If you are familiar with it, the Matthew Perry character and myself have a lot in common, especially when it comes to ‘The Clock.’ The mental clock in my head has been ticking down to 6:30 pm for months and got a bit more pulse pounding in the 24 hours leading up to the game. What would happen? Would the wheels fall off? Could we make a big night happen? Disaster? Success? I was on an emotional roller coaster to be sure, par for the course when you’re talking about ol’ J.H. Nason.

As I sit in my apartment on a Sunday night, I am happy to report that everything went great. Phew…it’s awesome to say that. No major disasters, a few glitches but overall, a successful October 7th, 2006. 9500 fans seemed to be having a kick-ass time and I’m glad that I was part of it. The staff working for me pushed and pushed and it all came together in a strange, beautful and chaotic way. We kicked off some major initiatives and nothing fell down. No matter where I find myself mentally or physically in the Fall of 2007, I know that we did something special in the Fall of 2006.

Now? 39 more games, seven more games and life getting back to what I consider normal. After talking and planning for so long, I needed that first game to happen just so I could truly grasp the monster that’s in front of me. Monday begins one of those ‘first day of the rest of your life’ deals as I finally get to roll up the sleeves and help us improve where I think we need it. It’s my favorite part of the job and I’m excited to get at it.

I think.

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Questions For You:

1 – Any Killers fans out there? Despite what critics are saying, their latest disc “Sam’s Town,” is really good. It’s not as synthesizer-driven as their first CD, but they admitted they were going for something different. I think it’s going to be one of those records that is seen in a better light months down the road. Also, I’m getting into Flyleaf, a female-fronted hard rock band that is starting to make some noise on the alt rock scene. I’m also looking forward to listening to the new Hot Hot Heat and Evanesence releases too. Fall is a good time for everything, including music.

2 – Catch the opening of New Orleans Saints’ first post-Katrina game a few weeks ago? The Green Day/U2 collaboration was awesome. And seriously, who doesn’t want to be Bono for a day?

3 – Anyone looking forward to an announce team of Bryant Gumbel and Chris Collinsworth for the NFL Network games? Yeah, me neither.

4 – I guess that five-game sweep the Yanks pulled off on the Sox in August really made a difference, right? I love the disarray that group of pinstripers constantly find themselves in. Yeah, firing Joe Torre will change everything. I still am shocked that either Detroit or Oakland is going to the World Series. Say what you want about football, but baseball is more parity-driven than the NFL. There hasn’t been a repeat champion since the Yankees in 2000.

5 – When does it become ok to admit that you Tivo Last Call With Carson Daly? Is it now?

6 – Finally, I’ve been checking out some new shows that I’m really liking: Studio 60 and Heroes, both on NBC. Studio 60 is a dramedy about the day-to-day running of an SNL-like show starring Matthew Perry and one of the people that used to be on The West Wing, no coincedence since Aaron Sorkin also writes this show. Long story short, check it out Mondays at 10 pm. It’s awesome. Heroes is right before it and focuses on people that are finding that they might have some powers that are reserved for the comics. This one is a little more complex in the story they’re trying to tell, but I’m liking it so far.

And Lost? Awesome as always.

Thanks for reading,
nason

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