Around the time of the Super Bowl it dawned on me that, hey dumb ass, you’re in the national media now. You should milk it for all it’s worth and start scooping press passes. It was one of those 11th hour revelations where you’re too tired to be productive, but too plugged in to the Internet to fall asleep, so I started clicking around.
Media Day was too close, so the opportunity to dress like Chewbacca and ask questions in Shyriiwook will have to wait until next year. But another peak event, the NFL Combine, still had open reservations. Perfect!
I’ve always been fascinated by the combine. It seems more like a slave auction than an extended job interview – professionally unprofessional, if you will. It’s a marquee event to really see how the mustard is made. This one was mine.
I filled out all the forms, gave the requisite references, and did an impressive standing long jump through all the hoops. In my mind I was already sitting at St. Elmo, popping enough shrimp cocktails to make George Costanza blush.
I debated reserving a hotel room – after all this is the big time. Can’t be staked out at a Super 8 with semen-stained comforters and a broken ice maker. But, with plenty of ties to Indiana, I figured it was okay to lay off. Worse comes to it, I could shack up with some family friends.
Airfare was never an issue. I set Kayak alerts like an arsonist. Besides, this is a work trip. Write it off, baby! Maybe a little first class was in order for the celebration.
Nothing left to do but wait for my moment in the sun.
You never know when credentials will be sent, only that a mysterious email will appear in bold in your inbox. It turns out February 10 was the day.
Subject: 2014 Combine Credential Update
Oh yeah, it was time. I cruised over to the cabinet, poured a celebratory glass of whiskey, and opened my first official creden … wait. What the hell is this?
We have received your request for media credentials to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. Unfortunately, due to tremendous demand, we are unable to accommodate your request.
Thank you for your interest in the NFL.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Thank you for my interest in the NFL? I have to be interested in the NFL. It’s part of my job.
Cold sweats. All those college rejection letters (Washington, Columbia …) start flooding back. Hundred of job application “Dear, Johns” from my year of darkness flood back. I’m under the desk, clutching my coping spirits, overcome with PTSD of inadequacy.
Finally, once the liquid courage coursed into my liver, I crawled back to the captain’s chair and fired off an email.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (or as I like to call you, NFL)
I received your acknowledgment and rejection of credentials. Hopefully this isn’t because I called the combine a slave auction. Or called bullshit on your halfhearted attempts at player safety. Or take umbrage with your antiquated views on homosexuality and embrace of good-ol-boy leadership.
Hopefully we can move past this. I look forward to seeing you at Media Day next year. I’ll be the big furry guy sandwiched between a big-breasted Mexican lady wearing a wedding dress and pudgy Where’s Waldo doppelgänger.
JONATHAN MICHAEL BASS