The Minnesota Vikings season is over with the loss to Seattle in the playoffs on Sunday, but despite the final heartbreaker, it will be a season to remember – particularly for IPR Digital Video and Media Production student Audrey Swenson. And not just because of that definitive win in Green Bay to clinch the NFC North Championship.
DVMP editing instructor Tony Fischer has had a lifelong affiliation with the Vikings. Tony’s father was a high school football coach for Edina High School and was one of the original “chain gang” crew members – the crew that carries and holds the first down stakes on the sidelines. Coach Fischer worked the chains until 1992 and passed the job down to his sons Tom and Tony. Tony has since moved into a role with the NFL, coordinating commercial breaks during Viking’s home games, while his brother still works the chains, flying in from California for each game.
When Audrey took Tony’s editing class and shared her career goals, Tony cashed in some favors and got her an on-field pass for the December 20th game versus the Chicago Bears at TCF Field. While there, Audrey shadowed an in-house camera operator, high-fived some Vikings players, and invigorated her passion for a career in sports media.
Here’s Audrey’s take on the day:
IPR: Tell me about the experience leading up to the game, was there a lot of security? Did you get a special badge? Did they do a background check?
AUDREY: The security was the same as any ticket holder, the only difference was I didn’t have to stand in line because I was able to go through the media doors. I wore a badge on the zipper of my coat, and they did not need to do a background check. They trusted Tony [Fischer] enough to let me in.
IPR: What did you do while you were on the sideline?
AUDREY: I followed one of the in-house camera guys as he went back and forth up the sideline capturing the game and crowd shots that would play on the big screen in the stadium.
IPR: What was one thing that really surprised you about what goes on when you are on the sidelines?
AUDREY: One thing that surprised me was how tough and intense all the on-field camera people have to be. Football players are not small and do not stop on a dime. Those camera and audio people stay put as long as possible to get the perfect shot, even if that means getting run over. It was a little terrifying down there.
IPR: Is Tony Fischer kind of a big deal during the games? Did you get to observe him working?
AUDREY: Tony Fischer is known and respected by a lot of the media people down there. I got to see him, but I didn’t stay next to him during the game. I followed the camera.
IPR: As a fan, what was it like to view the game from the ground? Was the experience different?
AUDREY: Eight-year-old Audrey’s dreams came true that day. The stadium is loud and large from on the field. Football players are huge. Everything moves very fast down there. It was the fastest three hours of my life.
IPR: Did you meet any players? Get any autographs?
AUDREY: I gave Stefon Diggs a high five and stood next to the players at the end of the game as they gave away their gloves to the fans. No autographs but a few pictures.
IPR: Did this experience heighten your interest in sports media? Would you consider a career in sports broadcasting after this opportunity?
AUDREY: I am very interested in sports media and broadcasting. I have always enjoyed being around sports, so to find a career that brings media and sports together would be amazing. This experience definitely heightened that interest! It has now become my main goal.
IPR: Anything else you’d like to add?
AUDREY: I just hope I can get a job for the Vikings within the next two years because they are going to win the Superbowl and I hope I’m there to be a part of it! Skol Vikings!!!!!
This summer, as a part of her degree at IPR, Audrey will intern on the live broadcast team at Running Aces Harness Park – the first step on a path toward a career that combines her two passions.