Between March 12 and 14 two white boards, both alike in dignity, traveled over 1300 miles from Cheshire, Conn. to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. and back to Bristol, Conn. Emblazoned with the Presidential Seal and the Final Four logos, the boards were, over their journey, touched by no fewer than four producers, three camera men, two ESPN executives, two ESPN reporters and one Leader of the Free World.
Thanks to the Features Unit Manager Drew Gallagher, Coordinating Producer Valerie Gordon and Feature Producers Sharon Kum and Miriam Greenfield, the white boards accomplished their presidential mission. ESPN Front Row brings you an exclusive look at the epic journey of the two boards, culled from interviews with the principals, including exclusive access to the boards themselves.
Monday, March 12
11 a.m. Sharon and Miriam pick up the dry erase boards in Cheshire at board making company.
6:30 p.m. Boards arrive in Washington D.C. and check into a deluxe, king, non-smoking room at the Hilton. Wake-up call set for 6 a.m. (the early board catches the worm, you know).
Tuesday, March 13
9:30am. Boards loaded into vehicle, driven two blocks to the White House. ESPN staffers hand carry the two boards, each measuring 3 feet by 5 feet, to the media gate.
10 a.m. Boards sniffed by security dogs. Boards sniff back. Cleared.
11 a.m. Boards staged outside White House kitchen. Aromas are much better than security dogs.
12:30 p.m. Boards carried through White House kitchen and West Wing into White House Library.
12:45 p.m. Boards are marked up in black ink by Valerie with President Obama’s early round picks.
1:45 p.m. Ink runs out. Valerie starts again with approximately 20 minutes until President’s expected arrival.
2 p.m. Men’s board placed on easel. Boards and people anxiously await President’s arrival.
2:20 p.m. Last minute fingerprints wiped off boards.
2:28 p.m. President Barack Obama arrives. Starts drawing on men’s board’s face. Proceeds to women’s.
3 p.m. Boards are signed by President Obama. “I’ll never wash this board,” the men’s board reveals.
3:15 p.m. Boards are packed up.
4:15 p.m. Boards exit White House and are transported in 80 degree D.C. weather via dolly to hotel/car.
4:17 p.m. Dolly blows a tire. Boards secured, dolly repaired.
6:30 p.m. Boards depart D.C. in a secure vehicle driven by Valerie and Drew.
9:30 p.m. Coffee break for the boards’ chauffeurs.
Wednesday, March 14
12:30 a.m. Boards and weary drivers pass through ESPN main gate in time to catch 1 a.m. SportsCenter. Boards watch themselves in SportsCenter preview of Bracket feature story.
12:45 a.m. Boards, less than 10-hours since meeting a world leader, find a new home at the World Wide Leader.