Sports Column

NELSON: When is the next flight?


It was quite a last seven days. The weather wasn’t as big a factor as I feared on trips to West Lafayette and Champaign, although it was close, and it appears as I write on another Wednesday that we might not get missed this week. The forecast says I will have a lot of snow to drive home through on the way home from a Pacers game tonight (Wednesday).

As you read these notes Thursday, you can look outside you window and determine just how good the forecast was, and if I might still be trying to get home from the Pacers game...

I was literally all over the map in the last week.

A trip to cover a high school game was canceled last Thursday because of the weather, so things started on Friday.

I got to Champaign without any issues, and of course it was snowing/sleeting when I left the arena. As I said, it looked worse than it was, at least on main roads, and I got home by staying in the right lane behind a truck.

The problem was that it was already after midnight, and I had a 6:30 flight out of Indy on Saturday morning.

It was pack, grab a three hour nap and head for the plane.

I had four one-way tickets in my pocket for the weekend.

That early Saturday flight was to Houston. The first game of the new XFL League was my destination.

It was the same stadium I went to for a couple practice games a couple weeks ago, so after a computer issue was settled with my Uber driver, it was off to the game.

I don’t usually travel to the bigger national events on game day, so my schedule was a bit off kilter, but things started okay when I got to the stadium before my crew did. That gave all of us plenty of time to get our prep work done.

The game and our broadcast went well. I hope you football fans took a minute to watch the new league in action.

After the game, we had cars waiting to take a few of us to our flights.

Yes, I flew in Saturday morning and flew out Saturday night. Talk about short stops.

I managed to foul up the works a bit when I got delayed in the press box and the car I was riding in got left in the caravan. I was stopped in the press box by a couple stats folks from both the teams and the league. They were asking about a couple of the little glitches we had in the stats program during the game. Having these people right there at that second was better than five conference calls during the week, and I knew some folks down at the trucks would be unhappy. But I stayed and talked to the folks for 15 minutes.

There was still plenty of time for of us to slog through a lot of Houston traffic and get to the airport for our 9:30 flight.

Ticket No. 2 was to Raleigh, North Carolina. I got there around 12:30 Sunday morning, and got to spend five great hours there, because ticket No. 3 was active at 6:15 on Sunday morning.

That one took me to Newark, where Day 2 of the new XFL season was awaiting.

We were 45 minutes late leaving because the jet bridge was stuck and could not back away from the plane, but there was not a tight connection to worry about, and I was still ahead of the game.

I arrived at Newark around 9 and grabbed another Uber (no trouble this time) and off to the Meadowlands I went. This location is very familiar, since I have covered maybe 20 NFL games there. I even knew which gate to have the driver let me off at.

It was 70 in Houston Saturday and just above freezing Sunday, so there was a bit of adjusting to do there. The coats all went back on.

That game was not as well-played as our Saturday game, and we had a few more technical issues that the crew had to deal with, but all in all, it was another good game and day.

After the game, I did not dally, and got to the cars in time to catch a ride back to the airport for my second straight fly in/fly out day. I had a 7:30 flight that was mostly on time and was back in Indy late Sunday night. Four flights to four cities with two games in between.

Then, add a Pacers game Monday and Purdue on Tuesday and then Pacers last night, and the week has flown by.

If I don’t have to shovel too much snow, today is a prep day because things start again Friday.

It’s a trip to Seattle Friday for a Saturday game, followed by a flight to Los Angeles Saturday night.

It’s spend the night in LA, then catch a 7 a.m. Sunday flight back to Houston for a Sunday early evening game.

I get to spend Sunday night in Houston, and will fly back to Indy on Monday morning.

Nothing to it – right?

The Pacers are on all-star break next week, and there is a lighter college schedule, so Jared can find me a couple games to cover. Maybe see some of you there.

Safe travels.

Jeff Nelson works in national television. His column appears each Thursday in the Journal Review.


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