When I went out to California for school I had the mistaken idea that I would see A-list actors and rockstars everywhere. I didn't. Must have something to do with being in Riverside instead of Hollywood or Palm Springs.
However, this morning more than made up that.
There I was, walking over to the practice field to watch the morning walk-through and who should be just a couple steps ahead of me but Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson, and Kevin Williams. Eventually, this will sink in and I'll feel like a jaded journalist and actually report on how they were or weren't playing. But for now, I'm kind of stumbling around in a dream state--leads to the very real fear of actual stumbling.
Other little girls had crushes on classmates (okay I had those too), but I was sure, as only a seven-year-old can be that I was going to marry former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer. However, little girls can be fickle in their affection and it wasn't too long before I had moved on to Scott Studwell.
This morning I got to see Mr. Scott "Crazy Blue Stare" Studwell in the flesh and, with the exception of some gray at the temples, I can say he still looks like he could kick ass if the other linebackers aren't up to the job.
All of this sensory overload is even more bizarre because, until just the day before yesterday, I didn't think I was going to be able to attend training camp. That would have been a real shame since the Vikings organization has been so nice as to reach out to alternate media sources like the Daily Norseman. But, on Wednesday I realized that I was going to be able to make the hike out here to Mankato (I haven't seen this much corn since I was in school in Lincoln, Nebraska) and it has been kind of a whirlwind of planning and travel and trading info since then. Then this morning suddenly, I was there, on the practice field trying to look like I belonged there with the other journalists.
If this seems like a lot of "aww shucks" to you, well, that's fair, but I honestly never really thought of myself as a journalist so the only person more surprised than I am that I'm here would be my reporting teacher Mr. Greg Rumsey.
In addition to the sheer coolness of getting to see all those football players up close, I finally got to meet the Daily Norseman's own Ted Glover in person. Last December when Chris Gates graced Minnesota with his presence so he could cover the Vikings home game against the Buffalo Bills, I got to meet our esteemed leader as well as Mr. Eric J. Thompson. But Ted decided to snub us and not hot-foot it up to Minnesota. Something lame about work. It was nice to see that he's embraced that renegade blogger thing and decided to show up for training camp. Now it is only Kyle who is being mysterious and snubbing me.
Standing there on the sidelines this morning, roster in hand, while the team walked through the first practice of the day, I had ample time for gawking at the other sports writers who were also cruising the sidelines. Some of them are a lot shorter than I thought they were.
Yesterday the new CBA was voted on by the players and then officially ratified, meaning all those players who had to hang out on the sidelines got to play in the afternoon practice. But today, proud new father Adrian Peterson was back at practice. I think we can finally say the whole team is here and working out. And I'm here to watch it--somebody pinch me.