Since the University of Worcester Arena opened its doors, I have had the pleasure to be part of the social media team which covers some very exciting sports events there, including the Continental Clash, the Netball Superleague Grand Final, all home games of the Worcester Wolves, amongst many others.
Last Sunday, we had to take our social media work to another level – live coverage of the BBL Trophy Final! We had the mission to deliver excellent real-time coverage and the Wolves had the mission to get that Trophy and bring it to Worcester.
Glasgow, here we come!
Bright and early at 6.30am, the Wolves and University Arena social media team (my lovely colleagues Carly, Corina and myself) and the two coaches of ‘the best fans in the league’, we all headed up north to Glasgow, where our very own Wolves were going to challenge Glasgow Rocks for the BBL Trophy.
Our social media work started minutes after we left Worcester, thinking about how we can spice up Twitter and Facebook before the game. Among us were some of the University’s Wheelchair Basketball players, who went very creative in their preparation for the day – fantastic t-shirts, banners and Wolves masks.
“I’d rather be a wolf than a rock!”, said the University of Worcester Wheelchair Basketball team!
After 6 hours of travelling, we were finally at the Emirates Arena, ready to make some noise and see the Wolves get the reward they deserve.
While the fans were making their way to their seats, we headed up to the Press Centre where we picked up our press packs and we set up all laptops and tablets.
Twitter was getting on fire with all the lovely messages from the Wolves’ fans, wishing the team lots of luck and hoping to see them with the Trophy in their hands.
The Emirates Arena was huge and full of people – nearly 6000 basketball fans came to see the clash between the two teams. Despite that the wolfpack was a lot less in numbers, nearly 250 fans, compared to 5000+ Rocks’ supporters, they were ready to shout, jump, support and show their love to the team.
Meet the wolfpack!
After a quick slam dunk competition, it was 3pm – time for the court to decide who is going to win. There was only one thing that was clear: both teams came to win – that game was going to be a nail-biter.
Wolves and Rocks on court
The players were showcasing their great skills, the crowd went crazy and all of us, the photographers, we were going around the courts, trying to get the shots that we wanted to have.
With the advantage of being on their home court, the Rocks took early lead and opened up a 10 point difference in their favour. The Wolves were determined to change this and reduced the difference to six points at half time.
Hungry to win, the third quarter saw Paul James‘ team taking the lead.
Will Creekmore and Jamal Williams in action
The crowd was getting louder and louder, the atmosphere was buzzing as there was one final quarter that was going to decide who get the Trophy – enough time for a change in the score.
That last quarter saw the Rocks’ fouls mounting. The pressure on the court was more than obvious. More and more fouls, more and more thrive from both teams to get that win.
Captain Alex Owumi
The game stayed open until the very last seconds. When the final buzzer sounded, the score board was showing 83 points for Worcester Wolves and 76 for Glasgow Rocks.
The wolfpack lifted the roof with happy ‘howls’, Coach James and Assistant Coach Alex Radu couldn’t hide their euphoria and Captain Alex Owumi couldn’t hold his tears. Jamal Williams proved to be the man of the game, getting the award for Most Valuable Player with his 26 points.
Jamal getting his MVP award
The Wolves made history – winning their first silverware since joining the BBL in 2006. The Trophy does the justice to the hard work of the whole team.
Paul James and Alex Radu
The team went to meet and share the happiness with all those dedicated supporters, who were the proudest in the world at that moment. Hugs, kisses, smiles and love was all around in the air.
Celebrations on court
The game was over, but our job was at its peak – Wolves and Arena Twitter accounts went absolutely crazy, I don’t think we have ever done so much tweeting, retweeting and favouriting in one day.
As we went on the coach and headed back to Worcester, I opened my laptop and started selecting and editing the first images. Our game was still on and we were up against all other media to release the images and try to recreate what happened minutes ago in the Emirates Arena through pictures.
Now, when you see someone at a service station rushing to go to a spare plug socket to charge their laptop, phone or tablet, it is highly likely that this person is not crazy, but works in social media. That was us – all three crazy ladies, as Carly said, making a beeline to charge our gadgets for the rest of the journey, getting all the strange looks we possibly could get.
Despite that the laptop’s battery died, our phones kept vibrating and the tweets kept coming though until we reached Worcester, about 12.30am.
At the end of that day, there was one thing we could say: both missions successfully accomplished!