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Jun 25 / Alan Hainkel

No own-goals, please: Sporting KC writer to play in media game

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a soccer player, specifically a goalkeeper. I went out for the team and was even in the team picture my freshman year. Somewhere along the way, though, my body decided, without consulting my mind, that I was not made to be a soccer player.

Now, fast forward almost 27 years. I’ve played some soccer (mostly indoor) and I’m okay at it, I guess. I also hold media credentials to cover Sporting Kansas City with a reserved seat in the press box. I have also written about and/or photographed the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams.

It is that access to Sporting KC that I’m a bit nervous about right now. You see, I’ve been invited to play in the team’s Media Game at halftime of the match against the Chicago Fire on Friday.

Just thinking about it now, I can feel my heart beating a little faster. On that day, I’ll be walking out onto the pitch where the team I cover, and have supported for 17 seasons now, plays its games.

I’ll be walking out onto the pitch in front of several thousand people. I’ll have my own personalized jersey on and I’ll be praying to every deity I can think of to not let me embarrass myself. The game is on national television on the NBC Sports Network, so there’s the added possibility the audience for any misstep could be that much larger. Of course, I suppose that also goes for anything I might do that someone considers spectacular.

One of the reasons I even have this opportunity is that Sporting KC has a very open media policy. There are several bloggers who have credentials and sit up in the press box. The team has also gotten some of them involved with the two radio shows it does on a weekly basis. We get the same press releases everybody else does and the same locker room access after games.

I’m also sure another reason I have this opportunity is my affiliation with Bleacher Report. The increase in potential audience size doesn’t hurt and one of the new B/R billboards is not too far away from the stadium.

When I started writing for Bleacher Report, and again when I became a Featured Columnist, I knew that I would get to do things average people don’t get to do. This is just one example of what I’m sure is coming in the future for me.

Right now, though, all I can think about is not putting the ball into my own net. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Alan Hainkel is a Featured Columnist covering Sporting KC.