Sleepless Nights, Successful Event, Stay Tuned For More
Let me know if you know this feeling:
You struggle through a few hours of fitful sleep, distracted by the rapid approach of an exam in a class you’ve been skipping all semester. As much as you need to study you realize no amount of cramming will compensate for weeks of missed instruction, so you force yourself to sleep, reasoning that if you can’t go into the exam with brain full of knowledge you can at least tackle it on a half-decent night’s sleep.
Then you wake up and remember you’re more than a decade past your final mid-term, and that the exam you had feared existed only in your dream.
That was me all last week.
Except waking up didn’t ease my anxiety because even though it’s been *ahem* a few years since I graduated from the World’s Greatest J-School, a vitally important test still loomed for me and my partners at All Balls Don’t Bounce.
Understand, my partners and I had hyped the event as much as our meagre budget would allow. Duane Watson kicked it all off by connecting with Zirin’s camp in the first place, Will Strickland and I made sure word of the event penetrated deep into our social and professional networks, and publicist (and good friend of ABDB) Renée Weekes compelled the mainstream media to pay attention to our event.
But despite the event’s rising profile and assurances from more than 100 Facebook users that they planned to come out, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that on Friday night we might present the film to a theatre empty except for the three people to whom I’d handed free tickets.
We lost sleep over that prospect but it turns out we could have rested easy.
The event was more successful than even the filmmaker and a trio of rookie event planners could have asked.
Theatre: Packed. When staff at Cineplex Canada Square informed us that the 125-seat auditorium had sold out, Will, Duane and I quickly surrendered our own seats so we could squeeze in a few more viewers.
The Doc: Enthralling. Based on Zirin’s book, A People’s History of Sports in the United States, the 60-minute documentary explores the strong connection between sports and social activism, exploring how athletes have confronted issues like racism, sexism and homophobia in the nation’s sporting arenas.
The audience: Enthralled, enthusiastic and above all, engaged.
The post-screening Q&A session lasted as long as the film itself, with queries and comments pouring in from a crowd that had clearly done its homework. Zirin fielded questions like the pro that he is, weighing in on topics like the courage of John Carlos (tearfully impressed), the “I am Tiger Woods” ad campaign (significantly less impressed), and the writing of Jason Whitlock (thoroughly unimpressed).
Only the clock stopped us.
None of us would have minded the Q&A session running even deeper into the evening, but Zirin had a 6 a.m. flight Saturday morning we wrapped up, gave our respective plugs and put the event to bed.
But Friday’s event showed us that there is indeed an appetite for sports coverage and commentary that reaches well beyond the playing field, and only whetted our hunger to provide more of it.
So if you missed ABDB’s first event, make sure you catch our next one. We’re already brainstorming it.
Until then, keep up with us on our via social media (Facebook, Twitter), and check out the first two episodes of our podcast, which is quickly building a following among sports fans who yearn more than stats and scores.
Listen, subscribe and spread the word about All Balls Don’t Bounce.
But most of all, stay tuned because we’re just getting started.