The best thing about having a team-issued credential to cover the Lightning is that I'm a Lightning fan, and I like to believe that being a credentialed member of the media allows me to be an ambassador on behalf of fellow fans who will never get to experience the game of hockey that way. Through this weekly column, I'll be sharing peeks behind the magical media curtain with you. Today, we're going to talk about the thing that actually gets you access into the press box (among other areas), the team-issued credential.
“This ‘Credential’ is issued by ‘Club’ to ‘Accredited Organization’ for the sole purpose of providing arena access to an individual with a legitimate function on behalf of Accredited Organization in connection with the event for which Credential is issued (the ‘Game’)... Credential is not transferable, may be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of Club, and will automatically terminate if any term is breached.” - Terms and conditions printed on the back of media credentials issued by the Tampa Bay Lightning
“With great power there must also come great responsibility!” - Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben
It’s pretty simple, really. The Lightning issues you a credential to give you access to resources (a seat in the press box, entry into the dressing room, attending practices, etc.) so you can do your job as a member of the media. If you don’t behave responsibly (not performing legitimate functions, running around and acting like some kind of idiot, etc.), they reserve the right to take it away from you. That’s fair and completely understandable.
It doesn’t specifically say that these terms and conditions apply strictly to the confines of Amalie Arena, but surely a reasonable person can safely assume ‘Club’ doesn’t want the individual representing ‘Accredited Organization’ running around and acting like some kind of idiot in the community. For that matter, neither does ‘Accredited Organization’. So the following scenarios have totally never happened and are submitted for the sole purpose of illustrating what not to do.
At the WaWa...
Individual (not me): I noticed you looking at the credential hanging from the lanyard around my neck.
Chuck (he works at the WaWa): Nope. I wasn’t.
Individual: Ha ha! Yes, I am a member of the media, representing an accredited organization, covering the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thanks for asking!
Chuck: Oh. I didn’t ask. But, cool.
Individual: As such, you think maybe I can get some extra peppers on that hoagie?
Individual: Being a member of the media definitely has its perks!
Chuck: Extra peppers are something that’s available to all our customers.
Individual: But especially the media?
Chuck: Sure. Whatever.
At the movies...
Ticket seller: Yes sir, one senior for “Rogue One”. That’ll be $9.50 please.
Individual (again, not me): Ha ha! What? I’m not a senior!
Ticket seller: All right. Then it’s $11.
Individual: What was I thinking? My birthday was the other day! I am a senior.
Ticket seller: Okay, $9.50.
Individual: (flashing credential) How much is it for a member of the media, representing an accredited organization, covering the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Ticket seller: Are you a movie reviewer?
Individual: No, I’m a hockey blogger.
Ticket seller: Then it’s either $9.50 or $11, depending on what age you’ve decided to be.
Individual: Can you just let me in to catch the last 15 minutes of the previous show for five bucks?
Ticket seller: No, sir.
Individual: If I give you a dollar, will you just tell me how it ends?
Ticket seller: Have you not seen the original “Star Wars”, sir?
Individual: I’m waiting for it to come out on Netflix.
With an attractive woman...
Individual (still not me): *Ya-a-a-w-n* (‘accidentally’ sticks out chest in order to prominently display credential)
Attractive woman: Do you wear that thing everywhere you go?
Individual: What? Oh this credential hanging from the lanyard around my neck, issued to me, a member of the media, representing an accredited organization? Yes, you’re right; it is pretty cool. Ha ha!
Attractive woman: Oh boy. Here we go.
Individual: Have you ever seen one before? They’re very hard to get, and thus pretty rare...
Attractive woman: Yes, I have seen one before.
Individual: ...as is a man who has one.
Attractive woman: I’ve seen that one before. I’ve seen it a lot.
Individual: Any guy who has one is obviously a pretty big deal, and therefor, not just ‘any guy’, amIright?
Attractive woman: I’ve seen it a lot because you wear it all the time and we’ve been dating for more than two years.
Attractive woman: I still can’t believe you wore it to my brother’s wedding.
Individual: (quietly) I just wanted him to like me.
Attractive woman: I promise, he likes you more than I do right now.
The point of this is that you should always use the tools of your trade as intended, in a professional manner. Also, it’s never a good idea to run around and act like some kind of idiot, no matter where you are.