Game 116: at Delaware 79, Central Connecticut State 73 Thursday, December 30, 2005
Bob Carpenter Center - Newark, DE
The difference between being a Real Actual Sports Journalist and a citizen journalist (or "blogger," if you prefer) goes far beyond the fact that coaches and sports information directors actually answer my telephone calls now. One of the biggest perks of my new life as a travelling scribe (as opposed to my life as a travelling fan) is that I've been fed pretty well.
When I'm a ticketed customer, I stand in line and pay bloated prices for nachos and sodas. When I go as a member of the accredited press, I walk right in the door, and it's mine, mine all mine
. Sometimes I like to imagine that the money I put into fan-pizza slices is somehow filtered through athletic budgets to pay for my press-pizza slices. I know that's not the way it works (because of Sodexho Mariott and the like), but that's the way I like to think.
On Thursday night in the First State of Delaware
, however, the press-pizza slices were inferior to every fan pizza slice I've ever had, more hideous than the most cardboard of Domino's deliveries, more heinous than the most freezerburnt five-buck Celeste cheese-discus. On Thursday, I ate the Worst Pizza Ever Made.
In most cases, the meal service is wiped out an hour before tipoff (fun fact: photographers eat 75% of all press room food), but there were three of six full pies left at halftime - that wasn't a testament to a lack of collective hunger, but a clue as to how bad the situation was.
At UD's Bob Carpenter Center, the media hospitality room has an exposed interior window, allowing folks outside to see what's going on in Pressland. Before tipoff, I noticed a young boy of five or six looking in through the plate-glass, watching the strange people with their funny badges enjoying what appeared to be a lavish smorgasbord. His father quickly pulled him away with some mumbled words, and I could hear the lad cry out in anguish. If you're reading, little boy, I want to tell you exactly what you were missing out on.
The Worst Pizza Ever Made featured a crust made of what seemed to be sawdust, which would collapse into crumbs with any sort of pressure from fingers or teeth. The surface was made up of alternating warm areas and frozen areas, as if it were cooked by precision lasers. The cheese was like candle wax, and inexplicably, there were torn bits of wax paper baked into the bread below.
But try as I could, I couldn't stop eating the Worst Pizza Ever Made. I had sacrified my dinner hour to drive down I-95, and didn't stop for fast food along the way - as a responsible Real Actual Journalist, I wanted to make it to my job in proper time. I'd skipped lunch earlier as well, so I had to fill my stomach with something. If it had to be five whole slices of the Worst Pizza Ever Made, so be it.
Perhaps the number one reason why athletic departments provide food in the press room is to entice writers to write nice things about them. So I should mention that "The Bob" is a beautiful new-style building with all the right amenities - UD should be very proud of what they've built. The fantastic and helpful Delaware athletic staff, their adorably loveable mascot
, nor their extremely talented senior forward Harding Nana (28 and 11 on this night) had anything to do with the Worst Pizza Ever Made. The six white boxes were proof that this was delivery, not DiGiorno.
But despite its inherent horribleness, it wasn't evil or mean-spirited. Several hours after the game, in a cold, inky black southern Connecticut midnight, the W.P.E.M. took leave of my body, exiting the way it entered. An Evil Pizza wouldn't have given me any previous warning, wouldn't have allowed me to pull into a service area, wouldn't have let me run lurching out of the car and towards a garbage barrel.
So this isn't a slash job, it's a tribute. Thank you, Worst Pizza Ever Made, for your consideration, restraint and selfless understanding. Happy New Year.