Friday, September 12, 2008

Classroom chat with SVP

So in sports (journalism) class this week we had an hour-long conference call with Scott Van Pelt. As noted earlier, the key to discussion, as stated by the professor, was to treat celebrities like normal people and normal people like celebrities. We were prepared.

Scott, known as SVP in our class, is a very cool, laid-back, self-deprecating, funny, and articulate guy, just like the one he is on TV (and presumably the radio). He was so happy to answer the questions of a room full of aspiring sports writers, announcers, and marketers. He answered a wide variety of questions: really specific ones addressing past radio segments, hoping to get tips on getting the big break in the industry, how he enjoys acting in the ESPN commercials, how long his days are, and even "What did you think of all ESPN coverage of Brett Favre this summer?"

SVP was very honest in all of his responses. When asked about landing his ESPN job (he got it after 5 or 6 years at The Golf Channel and because of his ability to chase down Tiger Woods interviews when most journalists were unable) he even said, "you have to treat celebrities like they are normal people." Unseen to him, eyes darted around the room at each other, and of course, the professor. She prepared us well.

Well, I was watching SportsCenter last night and it was cool to hear the same relaxed voice anchoring the program a few days after the call. In watching highlights, I can't help but notice SVP's gift for saying my exact thoughts, but in a much more succinct and snazzier way. In reference to a UNC blowout of Rutgers last night, he said, "I've never seen Carolina with that shade of blue trouser. Whatever it is, it works, they win." Prior to the segment, I was aware that Carolina wasn't great at football and was surprised by their performance against a I-A football squad of any caliber not named Duke. When watching the highlight, the whole time I kept thinking "I don't think I've ever seen Carolina wear navy blue pants before. Not a good uniform choice. I miss the Carolina blue." Next thing I know SVP is commenting on the shade of trouser. I would have never put it so eloquently.

Anyway, all in all it's always encouraging to hear of likeable people finding so much success in their lives. Other celebrities (though SVP doesn't seem to think of himself as one) certainly could stand to learn a thing or two.

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