Tales from the Beat: Out in the cold for an interview

By Tom Nader | Sports Editor Published:

The weather on the night of Sept. 27, 2005, was not any different than you would expect for late fall.

At least not if you are living in Northeast Ohio.

The temperature hovered in the mid to low 40s, the wind whispered just loud enough to make it feel a bit colder than it really was and the night sky was mostly clear with stars poking holes through the few clouds that were above.

My assignment that night was the Rootstown boys soccer team’s matchup with Kent Roosevelt in Kent.

Prior to leaving my house, I figured I had covered all my bases.

For work purposes, I had done my homework and prepped all of my stat sheets and notes.

For weather purposes, I dressed appropriately. Jeans, with a T-shirt underneath a hooded sweatshirt underneath a jacket, and a stocking cap. I wanted to dress for elements, but also knew that I would have access to the press box during game coverage.

When I got to the field, I walked up to the press box, sat down and began setting up a work station for the night. I shared the space with just one other person that night, the clock operator.

As the game progressed, I couldn’t have been more comfortable. Obviously, I was shielded from the real weather elements outside. Upon glances, though, even those watching the game from the bleachers seemed to not be bothered by the weather too much. There were only a couple of blankets out and there were more baseball hats than there were stocking caps.

At the conclusion of the game, which featured a 3-1 win for Kent Roosevelt that delivered the first loss of the season to the Rovers, I collected my stuff and worked my way down onto the field to interview the coaches.

I always sought the visiting coach first, knowing that they are the ones that have a bus to catch to get their players back home. That meant my first interview was with Rootstown head coach Charlie Voth. As I walked down the bleachers and onto the field, I caught up to him near midfield just after he had briefly spoke to his team.

When I got to him, a rush of wintry chill was sent through my body. The weather, nor the temperature, had changed, but it was like it all finally caught up to me at once after sitting in the press box for the last couple of hours. I still had on all my layers, but for that moment, none of it mattered.

I got so cold that my lips actually started to tremble a bit just as I was about to ask coach Voth my first question. Voth replied to my question, and he did the same to the next two or three questions I asked. I figured I had disguised the rapid cold chill that flushed my body enough that coach Voth had not recognized anything.

I thanked him for the interview, shook his hand and started to walk toward the Kent Roosevelt team for an interview with its coach Chris Vanderneut.

As I was walking away, coach Voth called out, “Hey, Tom.”

I turned around.

“Maybe next time you interview me, you will wear warmer clothes and won’t be shaking so much,” he said with a friendly chuckle.

I laughed with him.

“You are right,” I said.

Strange thing is that during my walk across the field to talk with coach Vanderneut, it was like my body finally had adapted to the temperature. The cold had left my body and so did my quivers.

I closed out my interview with coach Vanderneut, drove back to the office and wrote my story. 

Upon review of my story, nearly nine years later, nowhere do I reference the weather. I guess, though, had I wrote a story about my interview with coach Voth, the weather would have been mentioned because for those five to 10 minutes, it felt like the dead of winter.

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