Booted Out of Boston

Maybe it was not as humiliating as faceplanting your unicycle into the sidewalk during the naked bike ride. Maybe it was not quite as embarrassing as dropping your overflowing dinner tray in front of your crush at Simpson dining hall. But it was close. I’m referring, Catamount sports fans, to my recent experience representing The Vermont Cynic at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. After securing second row seats behind the goal for a Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals game on March 15, I thought it a glittering opportunity to test out my newly forged credentials as a college sports journalist. As die-hard Black and Gold fan and school spirited sophomore, I asked to interview former Cats’ legend and current Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas for an article in the school newspaper. To my surprise, through contacting the Bruins’ director of Media Relations, I received authorization to interview Thomas after the game. With my father as photographer, we were issued two all-access press passes complete with press room, press box, and locker room privileges. Forever a passionately devoted Boston sports tandem, my father and I earnestly awaited our paved passage into hockey heavendom.After enjoying a complementary, fivestar pregame meal amongst the professional scribes of America in the Will McDonough Press Room, Dad and I saw Brandon Bochenski exiting the locker room through double doors toward, the ice. We showed an usher manning the press room door our passes and asked if we could see the rest of the Bruins onto the ice. The usher advised us to double-check with a guard manning the locker room doors. Again, politely flashing our passes and asking if we were allowed access, the cop told us to wait until the players finished exiting the locker room, then let us in. I could not believe my starstricken eyes. We were actually in the locker room! I was in the presence of Zdeno Chara, Glen Murray and Marc Savard! There I was, standing next to P.J. Axelsson, who promised me he would be healthy enough to return for the playoffs. With minutes remaining until faceoff, a suited, ear-pieced authority told my fa-ther and I that we were “not allowed” to be in the locker room before the game and needed to leave immediately. We showed him our passes, apologized and left to find our seats. Dad and I forgot all about the incident and proceeded to watch a thrilling, 4-3 come-from-behind Bruins win. As freshman-phenom Phil Kessel sent the Garden into victorious uproar with his game-winning shootout strike, I hastily assembled my game notes, organized my questions for Thomas and got ready for the biggest and most famous journalistic expedition of my young career. However, my euphoria quickly evaporated into a “this can’t really be happening to me” kind of experience. As my father and I entered the press room runway, a suited guard was waiting for us. With a “someone wants to see you,” the guard led us down the hall to the Director of Media Relations. It was not quite like being hustled through the Bada Bing to see Tony Soprano.But it was close. I stuck out my hand in appreciation for the passes, but the director cut me off. We had broken the rules, he announced, by entering the locker room before game. The interview was off. I thought we had done everything right. I attempted to explain to him that we showed our golden tickets and politely asked for and received entrance into the locker room from a policeman guarding the door. The director curtly replied that “his staff would never allow that” and, at the snap of his fingers, summoned a burly, Boston-accented security guard to eject us into the cold, harsh night. Staring back at the great celestial dome of the T.D. Banknorth Garden, I felt like Lucifer being dropkicked from heaven. It was over before it even began. So, Cynic fans, this should be a story about Thomas’ professional journey from Burl-ington to Boston. You should be reading about how he credits his time at UVM as a crucial stage in his development. I should be quoting Thomas saying that Boston rode the momentum of the night’s pivotal victory to sneak into the playoffs. Instead, the Bruins are nose-diving out of playoff contention and I am writing to you as a failed journalist; a childlike innocent in the tough world of media gate-keepers and big city sports, wondering what I had done wrong and wishing that I had received the opportunity to write something special.