Super Bowl – Day 7: Pro-Bowl Dress Rehearsal

Casey Henry

Casey Henry

Today for the first time, after being here for a week, I made it down to the beach. We don’t have to leave until noon today, so I went to take a walk. There’s a boardwalk (brickwalk? It is certainly not made out of boards…) right next to the beach and I couldn’t figure out why everyone was walking/running/biking on that instead of the beach…until I started walking on the beach and realized that no matter where you walk you always sink down into the sand. There is no hard packed sand like I’m used to on beaches further north on the coast, not even right next to the water. I gave my calves a workout for about ten minutes before I got tired of it and joined the crowd on the boardwalk.

picture of durians

New fruit discovery: durians.

I hadn’t brought any money with me, so when I ran across Josh’s Organic Produce Market, right on the beach, I had to make a trip back to my hotel room to get my wallet. I stocked up on local oranges, some nuts, and dried mango. I also stopped in at their organic juice bar where I had some fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice and tried an entirely new fruit for me: durian. It’s from Thailand and next time I’m there (at the juice bar, not in Thailand!) I might try one of the smoothies made with it. It was creamy, a little bit fibrous, slightly sweet.

But enough about food. Yesterday we had the Pro-Bowl pre-game dress rehearsal. Dress rehearsals in general entail a lot of standing around for everyone. This is especially true for our volunteers. We use a small crew, about eighty people total, to move stages, speakers, and set pieces on and off the field at the appropriate times. Pre-game shows can only vary so much. You always have the same elements: team entrances, national anthem, maybe some other song. And all this is decorated up with lights and fireworks and cheerleaders and flags in various combinations.

Volunteers get antsy when they’re standing around a long time, especially when there is stuff going on and they can’t see it. I was waiting with a group inside one of the stadium tunnels for about an hour before they pushed a stage out onto the sidelines and they wanted to walk out of the tunnel so they could see. We really need them to stay right by the stage because we often don’t get much notice when it’s time to move it and we can’t be running around trying to track down volunteers. Once they’re out in the stadium and can see the rehearsals, they’re usually OK. We have them wait in the stands until we’re ready for them, and sitting waiting is always preferable to standing waiting.

But it still is wearing. Practice started at 2:00 and didn’t wrap up ‘til 7:00. That’s a long time to hang around to move a stage three times—maybe 30 minutes of work and 4 ½ hours of waiting. But it is essential work, and that’s why we’re so thankful that our volunteers are willing to give us so much time and dedication.

Today is game day (the first of our two game days). We’ll go park at an off-site location and get bussed to the stadium. We’ll do our pre-game work, get bussed back, and be home before the fourth quarter starts. Wish us luck!

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One Response to “Super Bowl – Day 7: Pro-Bowl Dress Rehearsal”

  1. Tom Mirisola Says:

    I wish I was there. I’m Jelous 🙂

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