As a sportswriter, I enjoy covering high school football games under the Friday night lights.
My work begins after the game ends. I interview both coaches, at least one key player on the winning team, tabulate the statistics and write my article. I try to get finished within an hour so I can email my article to the editors at the newspaper website.
I’m usually the last to leave the stadium. This presents another challenge. Assuming I don’t get locked in the stadium – which has happened at least six times – I must find my car.
Bear in mind that I’m 66 years old and directionally challenged. Invariably if my car is parked on the right side of the stadium, I will go left or vice versa.
Already this season I have walked all the way around a stadium in my midnight search for my vehicle. This is an uncomfortable feeling. I’m walking alone with a laptop computer over my shoulder and using my cellphone flashlight to light my way.
One Friday night this season, I finished my story inside the school building and had to go outside to get an Internet signal so I could email my article. I sat on the curb and emailed my story. I saw a few cars parked nearby, one with its lights on. I figured they were cheerleaders or coaches just talking about the game.
So I ventured around the school building looking for my car because I figured it was parked somewhere by itself. I walked all the way around the stadium, through a wooded area with my cellphone flashlight leading me.
Finally I ended up right where I had started in front of the school building. The small group of cars was still there. I figured I might as well try to see if my car happened to be one of them. Boom. It was. Happily I walked toward my car and got in.
All of a sudden, a sheriff’s deputy pulled up in his patrol car. He asked what I was doing. I said I’m a sportswriter who had finally located my car and was on my way home. I showed him my media badge. I repeated to him that I’m a sportswriter.
“You already said that once,” he snapped. I thought to myself uh-oh I’d better be extra polite to this man. He asked if I had been the one sitting on the curb with a laptop computer. I said “Yes, sir.” He said and you mean to say you did not see your car which was parked 10 feet away in this parking lot. I replied, “No, sir. I’m old and I didn’t think my car was in a group of cars that were still here.”
He said, “That’s bizarre.” Two other deputies arrived. I repeated my story, showed them my driver’s license and they finally believed me and let me go.
Moral of this story: I’ll make extra certain I know where my car is parked next time.