Dave and I went to cover the Team USA women's gold medal game last night at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. We were excited to go and watch a gold medal game because we have only attended one other medal competition at these games.
We went with a crew from Phoenix and a reporter from Cleveland all with Gannett, our parent company. We each had our own team members that we had claimed as our own whether it was because they were born in our area or they attended college in our cities.
We all watched in shock to see what happened during the game much like most people watched it from home. But it was after the game that was the hardest for me to handle. I have covered hundreds of losing games for Minnesota teams when I was the sports photographer at KARE. Last night topped them all.
The first player to come into the mixed zone (an area where we can interview players after an event) was Megan Bozek. We called her over to our area and she was just overcome with tears and emotion. I had the hardest time not crying along with her, NOT because I felt like I was a part of their team, but because of the raw emotions that were all around us. Everyone on the team had been crying.
Megan was a class act in talking to us at all especially after what had just happened, but so was everyone else we talked to. I am not certain that I would have been able to talk to reporters had I gone through the same experience.
When I looked over to our crew from Phoenix, they were hugging the one player on their team from the area, Lyndsey Fry. That is what happens when we cover these Olympic athletes for a while. We become a part of their experience and I definitely saw that on display all around us last night.
Eventually, I did tear up which is something I rarely do. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I've ever done it before. But I really did feel for those amazing ladies last night and I could really feel their pain.
Here's to hoping that I don't have to go through another night like this for the rest of these games.