By: Lisa Richardson, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, DSA-MN
I would have thought that after, ahem, 40-plus years in the court reporting and CART/captioning field, I had seen it all and experienced every possible job scenario. Well, not quite, as it turns out! But, isn’t that one of the best parts of our field?
In August, I was asked by my firm, Paradigm, if I’d be interested in a new opportunity: Transcribing the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Head Football Coach P.J. Fleck’s press conferences. My first reaction, you do know I only do CART and captioning, right? And you do remember that I haven’t done an official transcript in over 10 years, right? And you have noticed that Coach Fleck talks REALLY fast, right?
Once I got over the initial fright of doing a verbatim transcript from which the press will quote, and of someone who rarely talks less than 250 words per minute, I figured it was worth a shot. After all, I provide the captions at TCF Bank Stadium for Coach Fleck’s football team, and I’m a big Minnesota Gopher fan, so perhaps it would even prove to be kind of fun! And in keeping with Coach Fleck’s philosophy, if we don’t rise to a new challenge, we don’t grow. I said yes.
Coach Fleck’s “pressers,” as they are called, take place at the U of M. I sit in the same room with all the reporters that we read and see on television (which is another story by itself). The interaction between them is interesting, and I’ll leave it at that. One of the things that’s been kind of cool is the interest by the press in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. They are amazed that I can keep up with P.J. Fleck! It actually became a small “trend” on Twitter. HA! I am thrilled that these pressers are a vehicle to help spread the word about/shine light on our profession.
At 2:00, the action starts. Coach Fleck walks in and away we go! Typically, he opens it right up to questions from the reporters, who all talk over each other trying to be heard. Thankfully, we don’t need to get every word THEY say! But depending on the question the coach is answering, he can really get rolling! I have clocked him at 375 wpm! There are times he’s going so dang fast, I don’t even think about looking at the screen. It’s all I can do to keep up!
Then comes getting the transcript out, and the deadline for that is RIGHT NOW! As fast as possible! Isn’t that part of the thrill of this job — accomplishing the almost impossible? I stay on campus to do my editing so I can flip the transcript as quickly as possible. But the Fleck pressers have reminded me why I DO NOT MISS depositions. Those rush transcripts were always stressful!
Now that I have several pressers under my belt, some of the nerves have subsided. But I must admit, I sure love the feeling that comes with hitting the “send” button when the transcript is complete.
It’s exhilarating to overcome the fear that often accompanies doing something new. It also feels great to tackle difficult assignments – no pun intended!
As Coach Fleck would say, Row The Boat! Ski-U-Mah! Go Gophers!