Thursday, November 5, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: "I got your back, literally."

Kelly Brennan

When you’re the only female on a staff, sometimes you feel like you have to “role with the big dogs” so to speak. Well, that is exactly what I tried to do. It’s difficult to keep up with the guys physically, especially when I’m a whopping 4-foot-11 inches!

I went with the sports crew (myself and 3 other guys) to Ironton High School to interview Bob Lutz. Lutz is the head football coach who just broke the record number of high school wins to become Ohio’s all-time winningest coach. It’s an incredible honor for a man to be a part of one school for 40 years and to have only one losing record.

Photo courtesy of Herald Dispatch.

One Painful Move
Before the interview began, we had to set up equipment for about 45 minutes. This is the time when the heavy lifting gets done by the guys. Our lighting and camera equipment is too difficult for me to carry, but I feel like I can’t stand there and watch them do all the work. So naturally I hopped on board and started lifting.

My dad always taught me to “lift with your legs and not your back.” I sure could’ve used that advice on Tuesday. After bending down to lift a c-stand (used for lighting), I didn’t quite make it back to a standing position. In one swift movement, I yanked the c-stand with my back and felt the painful “pop” in my lower back. As I fell backward, Matt (photographer) ran to my side and grabbed my back saying “I got your back,” pun fully intended!

Needless to say, I had tears rolling down my cheeks during the interviews that night. With spasms and knife-jabbing pain down my leg, the car ride home felt like eternity. It was another six days before I found out that I have a slipped disc in my lower back.

Daily Struggles
Daily tasks are not easy for me. I struggle to even put on my socks. So as I returned to work this week to report for news, I knew I was going to have to rely on others tremendously.

Working Through the Pain
Athens MidDay reporter Pat Henderson and I set off to work on a story about Halloween in Athens. Thank goodness for teamwork, because I could barely carry my purse. Pat sure “had my back” the entire day. We set off on foot to Court Street hoping to speak with business owners about precautions they took for Halloween and what problems they experienced during the block party.

We walked, and we walked, and we walked a little bit more. After talking with bar and shop owners in twelve separate businesses, we had no interviews on camera. Every employee we spoke with would not talk on camera either because they were uncomfortable or they didn’t think they had much to say.

The clock kept ticking and our frustration was growing, almost as quickly as the pain in my back. It was time for a break, and my couch at home was calling my name! One turn off Court Street and we were headed for food and rest. It was short lived, but much needed.

In thirty minutes we were back to work. Pat and I talked with residents living on Palmer Street who witnessed a couch fire during Halloween. When we talked to Dan Kollecker, a junior at Ohio University, he told us in a very animated way about one arrest he saw happen on Palmer.

Dan Kollecker witnessed someone resisting arrest.

Bonding with Porch Furniture
We talked with Dan for awhile on his front porch, and he entertained us with the “emotional bond” he has with his porch furniture. One of the porch couches is actually a bench taken from a minivan. It’s old and dirty, but Dan is adamant about protecting his beloved car seat.

The interview continued and my back pain started rapid firing throughout my entire lower back. I needed to get off my feet and rest again. I guess you could say that the dirty old car seat I first frowned at began to look quite appealing. Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures, but I managed to get back home without relying on Dan's car seat for a rest!

I was really glad that I could rely on my Athens MidDay colleagues, though. They truly gave new meaning to the phrase, "I got your back".

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