Monday, August 21, 2006

Swim Moms and the Meter Man

A couple of weeks ago I had to cover the Greensboro City Swimming Championships, the swim meet to beat all swim meets around here. There are 2200 kids who are active in the 22 swim clubs in the Greensboro Metro Area and I think they all attend this meet.

That makes for a complex logistical nightmare to the folks holding the meet and the parents brining their kids. The parking lot at Lindley Park Pool where the meet is held is only good for a couple of hundred cars, if that, and unless you are the early bird you are left fending for yourself on narrow neighborhood streets that surround the park and it's pool.

Of course that situation is the perfect scenerio for a intrepid TV Photog looking for a visual, compelling, emotional story, because with all those swim moms (and dads) vying for for the closest open spot, and the rest walking for blocks to get to the pool, there was plenty of opportunity for trouble.

My angle on the day....the meter maid, or technically the meter man. He was a good sport too. I followed him around and watched him ticket the worst offenders and turn a blind eye to the marginal infractions, explaining his every move along the way.

He could have towed a lot of cars from tow zones and in front of fire hydrants but even those got by with just a ticket.

The second leg of my story was to go poolside and get all the appropriate cover video to tell the story and interview parents and friends about their confidence in where they parked. With all the inherant natural sound involved in a swim meet the foundation for my story was solid.

But the final leg of my day(these things come in threes) was to get the reaction shot. We hear all the time that good TV is about action and reaction so I was on a mission. I had the action, now I needed the reaction.

It was easier said than done. With 30 or more cars in the 10 block area with tickets on their windows I could hunker down on one and wait for it's owner to come calling or I could drive around the neighborhood and hope to get lucky and catch someone just getting in their ticketed car. I chose the latter in hopes of an earlier catch, but in fact missed several of the cars that I had pinpointed for sitting with for the durations, as they left while I was around the block.

But finally with some luck I spotted two ladies getting into a ticketed SUV and I quickly parked illegally in the middle of the road, jumped out grabbing my XDCam from the shotgun position and gathering the sought after reaction. She was a good sport, grabbing her ticket and wondering out loud why she was cited.

The meter man made his way past and told me of a tow away that I had just missed.

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