When something goes wrong – the first thing to do is find the route that with the least amount of damage as soon as possible. While watching the Louisville/Duke game on Sunday, what went wrong was a devastating injury to Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware.
The injury was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I’m still trying to process how his leg bent that way because it still doesn’t seem possible. I don’t think I will ever actually know how it was possible either because I can’t watch it anymore. In fact, I refuse to watch it because it makes me sick to my stomach and brings tears to my eyes. As the scene developed, I somehow strapped on my producer hat and started thinking about what I would do if I were in that situation.
It’s something I can’t help but do. I stack these invisible hats on top of each other – all ones that define who I am. Aspects of our lives affect everything we do whether we want them to or not. This was one of the times when being a producer affected the way I reacted to an event and made me look at something differently than a lot of other people.
My first thought was to go to break. Something like this happens rarely and I was worried that it could spiral out of control quickly. CBS could replay that horrific scene too much, get the wrong angle of Ware on the court (showing his leg bent), etc. The numerous tragic possibilities started flowing into my head. I started to worry and waited to see when they would cut to break.
As producers, we are trained to constantly be thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong and how to handle it. That’s why going to break made the most sense to me at first. My mindset was to go to break, have the producers/staff tell everyone the game plan for when they came back and then proceed with caution. But what seemed like the best option to me wasn’t what they did.
Something I didn’t take into consideration at the time was the production team the producer was working with. Having a group of people that can look crisis in the face with blinking is something to be truly blessed with. I’m sure the team working the NCAA Tournament is the major league crew for CBS – which is why I don’t think they ended up going to break. They took control without even batting an eye but still managed to proceed with caution. They let the story unfold in front of America and kept it from turning into a disaster. CBS was able to feed the masses as hundreds of thousands started spreading the news on social media. They also taught me to view the audience a different way. I learned that sometimes I need to think of the viewers that I could get at any moment at the same level I think about keeping the viewers I have. By putting on my producer hat I learned a valuable lesson I might not have learned otherwise.
As time progressed, we slowly learned more about Ware’s injury – details so gruesome that hearing them didn’t make it any less painful than seeing it. In his post game interview head coach Rick Pitino described how despite having a bone sticking out of his leg, Ware kept telling his team to win the game. That type of passion and strength is something that everyone should admire, whether you are a Louisville fan or not. Having the ability to still put your team before yourself when you are in pain like that is amazing. My heart goes out to Ware, his family, his friends and his team. It made me become a Ware fan – even having never met him before. In that moment of pain, we got to see the true type of person he is. He is admirable and I pray that he is able to recover as quickly and painlessly as possible. I hope that the strength he had in front of his team will help in the long fight ahead of him. And most importantly I hope that Louisville is able to go to Atlanta, the home of Kevin Ware, and win the national title for him.
Louisville, I picked you to win it all just two weeks ago and I hope that to be true. Come on Cardinals, Win for Ware.