The Ultimate Job Shadow: Matador Gets Close and Personal With Warriors

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Steven Shepard, Guest Writer

Every sports fan’s dream is to get up close and personal with the players, and I had the amazing opportunity to do exactly that. My parents won a chance to shadow renowned sports writer, Scott Ostler, at a Warriors game this season. I finally got my opportunity to go on Friday, Feb. 22.

To make it even better the Warriors were playing one of the top teams in the league, the San Antonio Spurs, who at the time were 44-13. To put that in perspective, the Warriors, who are also, as of now, a projected playoff team, had a record of 32-23.  So it was safe to say the Warriors were heavy underdogs.

I met Scott Ostler at 5:30 p.m. at the media entrance. I got my locker room passes and my ticket and entered Oracle Arena. I talked to him about what it is like to be a sports writer and how it was for him to cover the 49ers in New Orleans at the Super Bowl.

Then we headed over to the Warriors’ locker room for Warriors head coach Mark Jackson’s pre-game interview. The theme of the interview was Andrew Bogut, the Warriors injury plagued star center, who was missing the game due to back spasms. Next we headed over to the Spurs’ locker room for their head coach’s pre-game interview. Their coach, Gregg Popovich, focused on their point guard Tony Parker. He challenged the reporters to name a guard in the NBA who was performing better than Parker. He asserted that Parker’s name most definitely needs to be in the MVP conversation.

After the interview, it was finally time to eat some dinner. We headed over to the media cafeteria and had some pasta and salad. He told me his feelings about the Warriors and the game; he felt the Spurs would win easily and probably by double figures. But I told him you can never count the Warriors out of any game.

Now it was game time, we headed to the media area, took our seats and prepared for the game to start. There is one rule in the press area, no cheering during the game. This proved to be very difficult as the game was very close and exciting. No team outscored the other by more than one point in any quarter during regulation. With less than 20 seconds left in the game, Stephen Curry threw a no look over the shoulder pass while falling out of bounds, and hit Jarrett Jack behind the arc who then proceeded to drain a three-pointer and put the Warriors up by two. On the next play, the Spurs Manu Ginobili made a layup, tying up the game and sending it into overtime. The Warriors outscored the Spurs 14-8 in OT and won the game 107-101.

After the game we sat in on the postgame press conference where Jackson praised Jack and stated emphatically that Jack is the sixth man of the year. Then we continued on to the last stage of the night, the locker room. When we walked in most of the players were leaving the showers and getting dressed carrying on normal conversations. You would have thought they were just leaving work; in the locker room it was all business as usual. You could not tell that they had just beat one of the best teams in the league in a very exciting contest.

We watched Jack’s TV interview and then Ostler went over to Curry’s locker and asked him a few questions. He asked him about the crazy pass at the end of regulation and Curry said that that is actually a drill they do every day at practice. The conversation became very interesting and most of the media members made their way over and began to listen in and chime in with questions of their own.

It became quite overwhelming and I took a step back and let the situation sink in. I was inside the locker room of my favorite NBA team. I was within feet of all the players, this was truly a once in a lifetime experience. After the interview ended the night was over and we headed for the exits. I thanked him and we said our goodbyes. That day was truly a sports fan’s dream, and probably one of my greatest sports memories of all time. This is an experience I will never forget and I will cherish the experience forever.