This weekend was an exciting one. It marked the first time I had the opportunity to travel for a game with the National Lacrosse League as the New England Black Wolves hosted the Buffalo Bandits at their home opener.
One of my absolutely favourite things is being able to take in the atmosphere and excitement of a live sporting event, particularly with the NLL, so despite this not being a vacation, I was extremely excited to be able to experience a game at the Mohegan Sun.
The trip started early Friday morning, double checking to make sure I had all the equipment in tow. Camera? Check. Tripod? Check. Batteries? Check. The list goes on. Once I had checked for the zillionth time, it was time to head down to the Toronto City airport.
Since there are no flights that get you close to where Mohegan Sun is located, the trip consists of a flight and a drive. I jumped on a porter flight to Boston and from there rented a car. I have only flown into Boston for work, so one day I will definitely have to come back to experience the city for itself.
I was definitely that annoying person on the flight with way too much carry on that wasn’t going to fit anywhere, but hey I am not checking a camera. A quick flight followed by an hour and a half drive and I was checked into the hotel down the street from the Mohegan Sun.
It was then time to prepare notes and have a concrete game plan for the next day. Being a videographer is one of the hardest yet most rewarding jobs because you are responsible for all aspects of the production. I needed to make sure I had my questions ready for the players, the camera batteries charged, the computer ready to edit.
After a long day of travel it was a hotel gym, followed by room service, followed by a movie kind of night. Mohegan Sun is one of the most incredible and fun casino’s I have ever been to with endless shops, restaurants, and bars, but I knew if I made my way over it would be a late night, and I sure needed my beauty sleep.
An 8 am wake-up call, I was at the Mohegan Sun for the Black Wolves shoot around at 10am. At that time I also had my first interview of the Day with the NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz to talk about what is going on around the league with partners, expansion, etc.
I then had to gather b-roll and interviews for the game preview stories. Once I had gathered everything I needed I only had about 3 hours to head back to the hotel and edit the two stories and get them posted to NLL TV.
Once that was all done it was time to head back to Mohegan Sun for game time. I spent the majority of the pre-game upstairs getting some video of the crowds coming in. Fan after fan in their Black Wolves or Bandits gear. I was quite impressed with how many people packed the stands, but I didn’t realize I was in for a history making night.
The clock ticked down to the final minutes and then it was go time. I had the chance to be on the field as the players ran out of the tunnel. I don’t know how to put that experience in to words. The arena went dark, and fans got their glow sticks out to light the stands , and then all of a sudden bright lights and the players came running down the floor. I had goosebumps down my arms experiencing this from a front row seat.
The stands were full, the cheers were loud, the game was intense. The overall atmosphere can be summed up as electric. Fans with wolf heads on, or orange bandit hair. They were hard core, true lacrosse fans.
I had heard that after every Black Wolves goal, the crowd lets out a howl. It was amazing to experience this in person. The entire arena coming together and cheering on their beloved team.
The game was as tight as can be separated by one goal at half time. Both teams fighting for the ball, going back and forth with goals, back and forth with hits, back and forth with saves. It was impossible to decide who was going to come out on top.
The game wasn’t decided until less than a minute was left on the clock, and New England Black Wolves all star Kevin Crowely came up with a huge game winner. The crowd was on their feet roaring and howling.
It was at this point we were also informed that for the first time in franchise history, the New England Black Wolves had a sold out crowd. No wonder it was so loud, so energizing. It was amazing to see the standing ovation when this was announced. Fans on their feet supporting their team, supporting the game.
It was an incredible experience to be a part of history and to see the growth of this game first hand. To talk to the fans who drive from hours away to cheer on their favourite team, to support their favourite player. It made me fall even more in love with this sport.
It was incredibly fun, but also incredible tired. Once the post-game interviews were done, it was time to head back to the hotel, pack my, bags, and hit the hay because I had a flight to catch the next day.
Work trips are always hectic. There is always so much to get done. They are also some of the most amazing trips, especially when you get to experience two teams battling head to head, when you get to talk to the incredible die hard fans, when you get to feel the cheers in your soul.
Thank you for the Black Wolves and Bandits for an amazing game and an amazing experience, I can’t wait for my next game.
Now first order of business, finding time to get a massage after luging that heavy equipment around!
Can’t wait to share my next adventure with you