THE BUNKER - My name is Allie Bailey and I am the summer 2016 sports intern at FOX 5 News. Every day has proven to be an adventure–in and out of the studio. From locker room interviews with the Braves to observing the Falcons closed practices, there is nothing quite like the sports media world.
Through my blogs, you too can experience it all. Throughout the summer, I will post up-to-date blogs that reflect my time as an intern. Come take a look!
The Time I Almost Never Showed My Face at the Falcons Training Facility Again
May 23, 2016
The sun beamed upon the Falcons training center in Flowery Branch, Georgia as the Atlanta Falcons restlessly sped through its first summer practice. The practice was a closed one, and only the media were allowed to linger by the sidelines.
This is where I come in. As the sports intern for FOX 5 News, I was allowed to tag along on this exclusive opportunity. To say I was in sports heaven was an understatement.
I eagerly snapped photos and videos for our social media accounts. We were later allowed to share the footage. I scratched the names off the team's roster as one by one, the FOX 5 photographer and I tracked athletes to film. I happily introduced myself to anyone nearby, hoping to get to know all the movers and shakers in the sports media realm.
But one face was familiar.
Darryl Ledbetter, the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, had been one of my sports media professors at the University of Georgia in the spring semester of 2016. He too was at the practice, and I could tell how well respected he was by his peers. So much so, the other reporters confided with me that Ledbetter was guaranteed the first question for any media availability. Well, except for me that day. I didn't expect it at all.
I know what you're thinking: how does any of this sound bad? And what was I doing talking to head coach Dan Quinn? At that point in the day, my biggest task at hand was to make sure the FOX 5 mic was held close enough to the athlete who was speaking during interviews. I left the reporting to the professionals and did what I came to the training center to do: help.
But that's when Quinn showed up. Cameramen and reporters alike gathered around Quinn, hoping to gain just the tiniest bit of information to make news. Quinn proceeded to give an overarching statement to the group, disclosing how smoothly the practice had gone. With that, Quinn opened up the floor for questions and everyone turned expectantly to Ledbetter. What he said next made my jaw drop.
"Allie Bailey has a question," Ledbetter said, gesturing towards me.
Everyone turned towards me–the intern eagerly balancing the mic near the far side of the group. My eyes widened as I realized what just happened. Quinn was staring at me. The reporters were staring at me. At the time, I felt like the whole world was staring at me. I had about five seconds to make up a credible question. And if I didn't, I was sure that I wouldn't be able to set foot on that practice field ever again. I honestly didn't know what was going to come out of my mouth next, but I surely hoped it was going to be something good.
"What did you expect of the rookies this practice?" I said.
At least, I think that's what I mustered. I was just happy to have said something–anything really. Quinn smiled, answered the question, and I instantly relaxed. Shortly after the interviews, Ledbetter gave me a high five and many of the other reporters congratulated me. Though the situation had presently been a coin toss between great and potentially awkward, I was glad it happened.
At the end of the day, reporting is just as much about the planned encounters as the impulsive ones. I know that the interview I had with Quinn was one for the books!