CICALA BOUNCES BACK FROM TUMBLE SEEN 'ROUND THE WORLD
KVOA Channel 4 sports director Paul Cicala found out just how viral the modern media landscape can be.
Cicala was doing a live standup report from outside the MGM Arena in Las Vegas before one of the UA men's basketball team's Pac-12 Tournament matchups. In an effort to be clever, Cicala mentioned that after the report he'd have to run to the arena to make the game on time.
So he ran. And the rest is Internet blooper history.
"I set myself up for that blooper. I shouldn't have run full speed in a suit, a tie, loafers. I should have realized there was a decent likelihood I might fall."
And fall Cicala did. Almost face-first onto the concrete sidewalk.
"The producers cut it off right away. Had they kept rolling, they would have seen that I rolled. I didn't hit my face, I did a tuck and roll and kept on running," Cicala said. "I realized it was an embarrassing moment ... but I got up and kept sprinting to the MGM, but unfortunately that didn't make it on camera. In a sense, it's something I could normally take pride in. I take pride in my hustle and my attempts to be creative, but in this case, as genuine as it was, I think it backfired on me."
Although he had a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, Cicala has handled the ensuing publicity—and there was a lot of it—in stride.
"When you fall in public, whether on live TV or in real life with just a few friends, you have no choice but to laugh at it," Cicala said. "At first I was a bit embarrassed, but it's something I'm not as embarrassed about as I thought I would be. You have to embrace it and laugh at yourself. ... I sprinted in a suit and loafers, but I'm not going to be the only person who's ever fallen in front of a lot of other people."
As a reporter in a world where cameras capture mishaps on a regular basis, Cicala has broadcast his share of other's pratfalls. And being on the flip side of the joke has opened his eyes.
"It made me appreciate as a reporter those cutaways where you see a fan at a baseball game spill beer on himself or something, and you kind of laugh at it, but you realize now that could be me," said Cicala, who also got a firsthand look at the ebb-and-flow nature of viral videos. "It almost went through hot and cold moments. Right off the bat it wasn't so hot, but then that Sunday when I'm driving back from Vegas, everyone is telling me they're seeing it on Huffington Post, The Sporting News. On Monday, it's 5 a.m. and people are waking me up telling me I'm on the Today show. It's helped me connect with people from all over the country, from New York to L.A. Then it calmed down, and then two days later I get phone calls from people I know in Mexico City telling me they saw me on the bloopers on Televisa and Azteca. Then there was a late-night show in Holland. It's crazy how it keeps living a new life."
Even though the viral aspect of his miscue seems to have run its course, remnants remain, immortalized in the landscape of media availability, and Cicala sees some good coming from the incident.
"If you try to find a positive in it, it's gotten my name out there," Cicala said. "I'm proud of a lot of the stories I've done in news and sports, and I think people who have Googled my name have found some of my stuff, and now there's more hits on some of the stories I'm proud of, and not just the blooper I'm not so proud of."
But he still has to put up with some ribbing.
"My friends are never going to let me hear the end of it," Cicala said. "Now they have a lot more joking material, although it's getting a little old with friends who need to up their game and get some new stuff. I can't post anything to Facebook any more without my buddies reiterating the same unoriginal line."