JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On Tuesday, the sweet smell of the morning dew awoke me to the new day. I slowly rose from my deep slumber of the night and looked out the window at the sun's strident path across Florida's cloud-filled sky.
The only object in my way was a 30-foot weeping willow minding its own business. Of course, the tree didn't bother me; it was the second day involved in the quest for the Super Bowl.
An atypical breakfast took place with people scrambling for eggs and pancakes. Jevon Kearse, aka The Freak , in his hungry manner took a to-go plate and filled it with waffles, fruit, muffins, grits and oatmeal. You know if you're a big man you have to eat big meals. Brian Dawkins took his Atkins-friendly diet and proceeded to the egg whites where he knew he would get the most out of his food. After all, flexing is a part of his program, and there is no way unhealthy eating is going to invade his valued system. I think I stumbled past, with the night still stuck to my face, and picked up a Boost and some grapes. I love breakfast, but sometimes it just isn't happening for me.
Today was Media Day -- aka Super Hustle, aka Super Frenzy, aka Super Crazy. It was just plain out of control, and we all had no idea of what to expect. Loading on to the bus, it seemed as if everyone had taken a trip to Best Buy and bought out the electronic section. I thought the other day was bad with the DVD cameras, but today the Axe (Jeremiah Trotter) was still opening the box while arguing with Mr. Corey Simon about whose camera was better. If you ask me, neither of them knew how to use the entire gadget. The only techno-savvy individual I have see work a camera is Ike Reese. He claims he spends hours on end with the remote because it is the true key to a functioning device.
Our rubber-wheeled chariot pulled into the parking lot, and we quickly hustled to the locker room to get a glimpse of our esteemed jerseys. Each was placed quietly on its individual hanger, one after the next. The locker was no different -- just different hype. Then out of nowhere FredEx (Freddie Mitchell) quickly took off around the corner as the team paparazzi, including No. 5 (Donovan McNabb), No. 54 (Trotter), No. 59 (Mike Labinjo), all interviewed him before he took to the field. We all need a rehearsal sometimes.
Mug shots and specialty shots for "special people" rattled off one after the next. Then in an organized format we took to the Frenzy Bowl. I walked casually up and down the sideline to get acclimated to the super playground we were about to utilize for the first time in more than 20 years. My comrades did the same, taking in the fresh smell of the clean-cut grass, wondering what would transpire in days to come.
Feeling the rumble of the ground beneath me, I looked to the stands and out of gargantuan doors poured reporters from all over the world, 3,000 in all. There was not one continent that was not represented. The Bachelor represented Canada. The legendary Michael Strahan represented "The Best Damn Sports Show, Period." Ike Reese and myself had local television cameras following. Even Stuart Scott took time to ask some profound questions to the players getting hustled at the podium. I heard Michael Labinjo asked No. 5 about his new flavorful beef potroast chunky soup. While everyone was getting interviewed, I found a way to get my bowties into the main stream by crashing the set of the NFL Network. Rich Eisen found himself wearing a Eagle Green Super Bowl special edition while Terrell Davis looked in amazement at how good it looked.
Like clockwork we were in and out. It was a moment in time to remember for the rest of our lives, a photographer's dream. Onward and upward we proceeded to the practice field and like the DJ scratching the record, we played "here we go again." Cleats were placed readily on our feet as we gathered our thoughts and our minds for the important task at hand. Father time, Coach Reid, ensued to his regular place and practice commenced. And we practiced well.
For more on Dhani, see his Web site www.dhani55.com.