TODAY’S REALLY LOW POINT
In an effort to photograph the finish I walked into the finish area and waited with the soigneurs until the finish, and when the racers passed, I photographed them. This is all super straightforward, right? Only I continue to not have credentials (e.g. a green or blue vest, see #upgradecreds) because, well I don’t know why. But I didn’t. In the middle of photographing the racers as they passed, a member of the security staff asked me to leave the finish area and find my way back to the other side of the barricades.
I attempted to reason with him, stall him, beg him, bribe him, whatever-it-takes him, but he would not be assuaged in regards to the burden that is the security-in-the-form-of-access-regulation of the Santos Tour Down Under.
At any rate we had a civil enough conversation, no shouting or pushing or violence of any kind. He continued to ask me to leave, I continued to bargain with him and intimate that I would leave just after an uninterrupted moment or two to photograph the finish that was, let’s be honest, nearly finished at this point. At one point he asked if I had emailed the Media Director, and I was like “Dude, have I ever!” Understandably frustrated he asked for my badge/credential/name information, which I happily provided. He said that he was now forced to bring this altercation event-type deal to the Media Director’s attention, on account of the fact that I continued to not leave the finish area, on account of the fact that I was really and seriously truly continuing to try and take an employable photograph or two.
As we separated I accidentally knocked his sunglasses out of his hand and onto the ground, where they skittered four or five feet across the pavement until coming to a stop, roughly between where Cadel Evans and Nathan Haas were then currently standing. I was worried this development, due to prior developments, looked/felt suspicious, but because this dude was a reasonable and kind man, and because it was in fact a bona fide accident, we laughed it off.
And then shortly after returning home for the day, I received this email, reproduced here verbatim:
Thanks for the additional information which I did not had a chance to look at until today. Prior to deciding on whether to allocate green level photo access to you I received a report from our security department that you refused to follow the direction of a security guard to leave the track at the finish line in Stirling.
At the time you did not have the appropriate access credential and, he reports, you were not wearing the orange photo vest that you have been issued.
In light of this we have determined we will not proceed with an upgrade for you at this time. I also ask you to respect the access guidelines for the race from this point forward and follow the directions of the security personnel who are are briefed in line with race policy.
We held a briefing for all media on Sunday to go through the processes and answer questions. I do not recall seeing you at this briefing. Details of the access restrictions were discussed at the briefing and detailed in the media notebook guide provided to you when you collected your credential.
We welcome media coverage and in our experience professional media working on major sporting events are well aware they need to follow guidelines. Those in place here are far less restrictive than at many other events both here and overseas. However if you do not feel able to abide by the conditions of your accreditation please return your credentials to the media office.
To which I responded:
Thanks again for considering my credential upgrade request in the first place, and in light of what happened this afternoon in the finish area I’m just happy you’re not demanding my credentials and orange vest back immediately. Which really when you think about it I should be grateful for what I have instead of dissatisfied with what I think I’m missing. Please extend my apologies to the gentleman I spoke/argued with this afternoon in the finish area, it wasn’t fair to put him in what was a difficult and awkward position. I feel as though I let my enthusiasm get the best of me, it’s not an excuse (though it’s true!) but the whole way over here from the United States (it was a 36 hour flight!!!!) all I could think about was being in the finish area and photographing the racers as they came past me on their way to victory. I completely understand why you alluded to my lack of professionalism and inexperience, missing that meeting was inexcusable as its clearly cost me a lot of unnecessary hassle and turmoil. I’m beginning to think I’ve started to let shooting a couple of Grand Tours, Stage Races and Spring Classics throughout Europe and the United States go to my head! This was a much needed wake up call. Hopefully, this finds you well. I look forward to the rest of the tour and I promise to abide by the conditions of my accreditation.
As we say in our country, “Scout’s Honor!”