Being a Reporter Could Kill You . . . Or Your Car

There’s a game going on on Facebook right now. You “like” someone’s status, and they give you a year to reminisce about. But when the year 2003 popped up, I realized just how bad my mom brain is. . . I could barely remember what happened that year. So I decided it was time to revisit my columns from way back when. The Inside Outs that have taken readers of the Sullivan County Democrat on adventures with me ARE my stories of the years gone by. 

Here’s one from April 2003!  

You’d think I got into this job knowing what I was in for.

I figured there would be some late nights covering meetings, some early mornings out with the fisherman kicking off the season, maybe even a dash of excitement.  And if you believe that’s all that’s to it, I’ve got a
bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Let me tell you, in recent weeks, I’ve learned the true “perils of reporting.”
Let’s just say no one, and nothing, is safe around me.

A few weeks ago, my nice, comfy J. Crew jeans took a beating when I was crouching at a local school to get
a great shot of some kids playing with a dog from the Rock Hill SPCA. With my infinite “coordination,” I had
one leg under the other, and I was duckwalking backwards to get the right angle.

I got caught and stumbled. Down I went, and I heard the pocket of my jeans go with me – “riiipppp.” It was a slow-motion nightmare. I’d caught my pocket on something, and suddenly I was feeling rather exposed. 
Well, if that wasn’t enough, cut to a recent Thursday afternoon. It was sunny and nice, a break in the midst
of our week-long downpour.  For the first time since the season officially began, a game I was scheduled to cover was actually happening, and I was there, in the midst of the action, taking rapid-fire shots of kids rounding first base, boys cracking their bats against their first pitch of the season, the pitcher winding up to  throw it right in there.

I just didn’t know how central a figure I’d play in the action. My eyes were focused on the pitcher, watching him wind up, clicking my pointer finger on the button of my camera as he fired away.  I didn’t see the Goshen player at the plate fouling off. I just heard it – that telltale “crash” of a leather ball connecting with glass.

My stomach started to sink. Where did that ball go? They said it was a black car?

I turned slowly, asking folks on the stands, “Which car was that?” And there it was, in all its glory.  My car, which just moments before had a back window covered in paw prints from the neighborhood cats, had made a spectacular catch – my backseat was covered in glass, and there was a baseball sitting right where my American flag had been resting just seconds before.

I guess this was nothing – I’ve had worse. I was on the way to a basketball game last year when a reckless driver destroyed my car and left both my husband and me covered in bumps and bruises.

At least this time I wasn’t standing in the middle of a busy intersection trying to take the “now” pictures to go along with “then” photos that had previously been shot when a flood had covered the street and stopped the traffic.

Perhaps instead of handing over fresh notebooks and rolls of film, they should start outfitting new reporters with a flak jacket and a cell phone. And hey, throw in some cookies – you never know when you’re going to be stranded!

Image via sskennel/Flickr

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