Round table: Falling into the Youtube Era

January 18, 2012

Among our standards for news decisions at this newspaper is "How many people were present?"

In the case of my Friday night folly, the answer was "hundreds."

I feel it only fair, in the interest of full disclosure, to report on an incident Friday night that I am sure readers will find compelling.

The editor fell on his backside.

Not in a figurative sense. Literally.

And there to witness it were about 300 people. Fortunately, the majority of those present at Vannet Court at HRVHS were watching what they should be, junior cheerleaders showing their moves, and not my low point.

But I know that some people saw the sideshow as I fell over backward, iPhone aloft. We have documentation, of sorts.

The slapstick happened during halftime of the girls varsity basketball game. Local youth, aged 5 to 10, were taking turns demonstrating what they had learned at a recent cheer workshop. While one group did a cheer, others sat on the floor waiting their turns.

I walked among the action, recording it on my iPhone as I moved backwards and suddenly realized I was about to step on a couple of girls. Almost subconsciously, I did a near-flip backwards to avoid hurting the girls, and there in front of The Dalles-Wahtonka crowd, I landed on my keister and left elbow.

I also had the presence of mind to prevent damage to the Nikon that was around my neck by holding the camera aloft as I went down. The iPhone slid across the hardwood, and a nice man picked it up and gave it back to me.

"Should be quite a video," I think he said to me.

In my 32 years as a reporter I have had my share of embarrassing mishaps, such as driving my car into a watery ditch, tripping on bleachers and tearing a coat while climbing over a fence. Most of these went unwitnessed, and even a minor sideline collision or two with football players passed without much notice.

But Friday, my halftime tumble happened in front of hundreds. It was a YouTube moment - my first.

I asked the two girls I nearly stepped on if they were okay, and one of the senior cheerleader said yes.

The eyes of one of the little girls, however, spoke volumes. "What a bozo," they seemed to say.

She was right. And in that spirit, we are posting that video. I felt it only fair to share it with readers, including the 299 people who did not say anything to me.

The first 30 seconds or so show the cheerleaders doing their stuff, and then the iPhone goes skyward and you are free to laugh.

"Quite a video," indeed. Enjoy it, on our website homepage:

(I meant to do that!)

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