Using his 'Caps Card Loyalty Rewards points, Whitecaps FC fan Ryan Newton won an auction to be a reporter for a day at the September 1 match against Chivas USA. Below is his blog detailing the experience.
On September 1, 2013, myself, Ryan Newton, and my wife Pam got the opportunity (through the ‘Caps Card program), to experience what it was like to be a press reporter at a Whitecaps FC game. Although we were given an itinerary, we still wondered what the day would bring; we both knew the rules of the press box, but that was it. Was it going to be just a generic tour? Would there be any real substance to the whole day? All I can say is that the entire experience far exceeded all our expectations.
Introducing the 'Caps Card
From the minute we met our guide, Josh Nanavaty, we knew it was going to be a good day. His general enthusiasm for the club was unquestionable. This was a characteristic of not only Josh, but every Whitecaps staff member we encountered along the way. There was always a smile on their faces and they were all too eager to answer any questions we both had. The best example of this was running into the Whitecaps videographer. He took five minutes to give us a sneak peak at the latest pre-match video he prepared for the team to pump them up and inspire them. Only the team and staff ever get to see these videos, so it was pretty cool to be included in that small group. The best part was that we didn’t even ask him. He was more than happy to show us, which made us feel like we weren’t a bother to anyone. Everyone else we met was just as welcoming.
What we got was a full tour of BC Place and the operations behind a Whitecaps game. From meeting the video board operator and the “in-house voice” of a Whitecaps game, touring the suites, going into the press conference area before the match, watching warm-ups from pitch side, and poking our heads into the Sportsnet broadcast booth to see Craig MacEwan and Paul Dolan preparing for the match, we saw it all.
We watched the game from the press box, which provided a great perspective for purely watching the game. Plus, you couldn’t beat the view right on the centre line. As members of the supporters group “Georgia Strait Supporters” on Vancouver Island, we found it extremely hard not to chant and cheer! Both of us are big supporters of the club, so for us being in the media lounge disguised as press rubbing elbows with likes of Joe Cannon, Nigel Reo-Coker, and Omar Salgado while getting a glass of water was a bit surreal. You walk into the room and there’s Carl Valentine sitting having a chat with Peter Schaad, the radio voice of the Whitecaps, and other well known Vancouver media people, and you have to take a minute to ask yourself “am I actually here?” Speaking of Carl Valentine, the man is as advertised, a class act and a gentleman all the way.
The match ended and we went down to Martin Rennie’s post match press conference where it was interesting to see the cat and mouse relationship of coach and media with our own eyes. As questions were asked and answers were given, we couldn’t help but notice the intricacies of both sides, which often don’t translate on paper or through a lens. After the press conference, we said our goodbyes to Josh and made our way outside.
As we waited for the bus to take us back to Horseshoe Bay and the ferry home to Nanaimo, we were both in disbelief that this had all happened. I think the first words out of our mouths were, “did we really just see all that?” What I can honestly say is that it has taken three days for the whole experience to finally sink in. If asked ‘would we do it all again?’ YES! Both of us had a fantastic day and we have a story we can share for years to come.
Thanks to the Whitecaps, Carl Valentine, and especially Josh Nanavaty.
Ryan & Pam Newton