Thursday, April 10, 2008

Strangers When We Meet: A Last-Minute Interview with Lacey V.

Disney character coloring books pages on one wall. A Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows books advertisement stand on the other side. On my right, my friend Cecelia and her friend and co-worker Lacy sit on a couch watching TV. I’m sitting in a recliner next to them. This is Thursday night at Cecelia’s apartment living room on Western Avenue. Originally, I was going to interview Cecelia’s roommate, but Lacy offered to be interviewed at the last minute. In this interview, 18-year-old Lacy V. gives describes the differences her life in the exurbs and life in Albany.--Alex Tunney

Cecelia tells me that you work with her at Friendly’s in Crossgates Mall. What’s it like working there?
Yeah, it’s not anything that I brag about. [Cecelia laughs.]

How long have you worked at Friendly’s?
I think I started around two months ago. [Cecelia]: Yeah, it was some time around last Halloween. [Lacy]: Yeah, I remember because I had fun handing out candy to the kids.

Where are you originally from?
I’m from Rensselaerville. Not Rensselaer. That’s a completely different place.

[Both I and Lacy agree that Cecelia is distracting and Cecelia is sent to her room.]

What are your favorite TV shows?
One Tree Hill or Scrubs. It’s a tie.

Do you have a lot of time to watch TV?
With work I used to not have any time. But now, I have a lot time. Not much to do back home. TV’s a big thing.

What was it like growing up in your hometown?
It was interesting. I showed horses. I went to school and showed horses. That was about it.

Who’d you show horses?
I showed horses with my dad’s girlfriend.

I mean who did you show horses to?
Huh, what do you mean?

Oh, show horses, like show dogs. Sorry—
[Lacy laughs.]

I’m so out of it tonight. Sorry.
It’s no problem.

Why did you come to Albany?
I still live in Rensselaerville. I just come here for work and stay here with Cecelia. Then I hang out here on my days off and it’s basically… hanging out.

Do you currently go to school as well or are you just working?
I don’t go to school right now. I’m working, taking a year off before going to school.

Do you have any idea where you might want to go to college?
If I stay here in Albany, I may go to the College of Saint Rose. I may go to SUNY Cobleskill if I don’t.

You said you’d probably major in Childhood Education in college, what do you want to do as a career?
I’d like to be a Head Start teacher to two- to five-year-olds, or have my own daycare. I do know I want to work with kids. I worked with kids during high school. I know I can handle kids, I can work with them. I know how to go about teaching them.

So what’s your impression of Albany?
I live in the middle of nowhere, so it’s different, definitely different. It’s a pain in the ass with the buses and everything. And people are rude up here. It’s definitely different than living in a small town.

Do you have any idea where you would live if you moved here?
Probably in Denise’s brother’s apartment in the downtown area. His place is right off of Quail Street.

Are you worried about moving into Downtown Albany a.k.a. the Student Ghetto?
Yes and no, kind of. [starts to play with a lighter.]

What things would bother you?
People, I don’t like people. I don’t like strangers. I won’t ride the bus by myself.

Would you say it’s just people in Albany or are you talking in general?
In general, I just don’t like strange people.

Do you consider everybody strange or certain people?
Its people I don’t know. The thing about growing up in a small town means that everybody knows everybody. In Albany, it’s a bunch of new people. I’m not a big fan of change. I like things to stay the same.

But you’re cool with Cecelia?
I don’t like meeting new people but when I do get to know them, then I’m fine. It’s kinda complicated.

Speaking of which: Cecelia, you can come out now!
Yeah, you’re time-out is over! [laughs]

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Everybody's the Goalie: An Interview with Shannon R.

The Siena College men’s basketball team was the center of attention at the Times Union Center as they beat Manhattan 69-65 on Thursday night, but on this Friday morning it was Shannon R. who took center stage. Shannon is the Director of Community Relations for the Albany River Rats who are part of Capital District Sports Inc. CDS Inc. also partially runs and operates the Albany Conquest, an Arena Football team. I sat down to talk to Shannon about herself in an empty Times Union Center. We talked in an empty office with glass walls on the second floor of the familiar arena.--John Urbanski

Where did you work before coming to the River Rats?
Actually, I was an intern here my last semester of college. The last game of the hockey season, we always have a block party outside, and I was assigned to work the speed pitch machine for the Diamond Dogs, the baseball team. The GM was here at that time and liked what how I was with the fans. He hired me on the spot to work their promotions on the field that summer.

When did you begin working with the River Rats?
The Diamond Dogs folded at the end of the summer, but the River Rats found out and they picked me up. Kind of like a player.

What organizations in the community do you plan events with?
We do a lot with youth hockey organizations where our players go to different youth hockey practices and teach the kids different skills they’ve learned; it helps the kids. The teams we visit then come out to our practices and our games.

Sounds great. Are there any other organizations you team up with in the community?
We do a lot; we have a reading program called “Reading with Rowdy,” where our platform is reading to promote literacy. March 2 is “Reading with Rowdy Day,” where all the kids who participated in the program come out to a game, we have custom made jerseys for that day and after the game we have a jersey auction, so all the jerseys the players are wearing are auctioned off and all the money goes straight to the Ronald McDonald House.

We did it last year and raised twenty to thirty thousand dollars.

If you had to compare your job to any hockey position, what would you compare it to?
I’d probably compare it to a center, because I handle all the community events, so the purpose in us going out to the community is to assist in all that we can, but also to let people know this is what we do. We want people to come to our games; we want to score by having them come to our games.

Who are you trying to score on?
Trying to score on? Everybody.

So everybody is the goalie?
Everybody, yeah everybody’s the goalie.

Do you ever get any crazy fans or people coming into your office or even at the games just kind of doing things you have to take care of?
A funny aspect of my job is, because I go out in the community, I want to wear some type of clothing that says where I’m from, so I have a personalized jersey that has my first name, “Shannon” on the back and I’ll be in the stands or wherever and people will come up and talk to you like they’re your best friend, it’s great though because that’s another way I can get to know the fans.

Sometimes you meet some pretty interesting people, you learn their life story. But that’s part of the gig.

Which name do you prefer: Times Union Center, Pepsi Arena, or the Knickerbocker Arena?
It’s not really which I prefer, but more of what I’m used to. I’d probably just say Pepsi. I know people who still call it the Knick, but people still call it the Pepsi too, so what can you do?

Do you live in Albany?
I’m originally from Rome, New York, but once I graduated from college I stayed in Albany and I live in Albany now. Albany is a great place. One day down the road when I have a family it’s a good place to raise a family. There’s so much to do and the education is great, I’ve enjoyed my time here.

What do you most enjoy about Albany?
I just love that it’s so close to New York City and close to Boston. I’m always traveling there for different Celtics or Mets games.

You must be happy about the Celtics this year.
I’m going to see them next Friday.

Who are they playing?
Timberwolves.

That’s a pretty good game to see with Kevin Garnett facing his old team.
Should be a good game.

Unfortunately I can’t agree with you with the Mets.
Yankee fan?

Yeah.
Sorry.

It’s all right. I apologize to you, you had a rough September.
We did, we did.

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