By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Time to hit the road for a few days. Football media days are back.
What are these media days, you may ask.
Media days have become all the rage in college football, with the football-crazed SEC drawing thousands of reporters over a three-day period on early July just to hear coaches and players talk about the upcoming season.
At least it’s more revealing than the more famous Super Bowl media days.
These functions have been ongoing for years in high school football too, and it’s worth the time and effort for all of us.
While the crowds aren’t near as large, they are considered just as important to the local media, who meet on the appointed day and time to gather information about the upcoming season.
Getting that date and time isn’t that easy to do. We still have one of our 20 high school football teams who haven’t come up with either one.
Coaches and players are interviewed at media days, numerous photos are taken, and the process begins to put together a special football edition that will feature each of the teams in the local coverage area.
That 40-page publication, known as the 2013 BDT Blitz, will be printed on Aug. 21 and published on Aug. 23. That gives us exactly 13 days to get it all finished, and we haven’t even done the first interview yet.
Of course, we don’t wait that long to write about these teams. We will have a feature or two on nearly all the teams leading up to the first games that begin on Aug. 30. Normally, it will be the day after a media day is held, but not always, and definitely not this upcoming Friday.
Admittedly, media days don’t seem quite as much fun as they once were when I would leave Bristol really early to get to Hurley, and then follow it up on the same day to Twin Valley, Grundy, Honaker and Haysi.
Whew!! Try it, that was always a very long day.
There were many others, with the Lonesome Pine District schools starting it all off with the media days in Clintwood when Ralph Cummins, a legend in Southwest Virginia football circles, would host a croquet tournament on the night of the Green Wave function, and fun was had by all.
Our media days begin today, with a trip for me to Narrows, while a pair of trusty correspondents will stop in Honaker and Haysi.
Believe me, we couldn’t make it without our stringers, as correspondents are called.
Especially on Friday. How about seven — yes, seven — stops in one day.
Fortunately, Lloyd Combs will be taking care of Grundy, Hurley and Twin Valley. We have three closer schools in a matter of two hours, with Tazewell, followed by Richlands, and Graham.
Bland County will be up next later in the day.
All those will be covered by a reporter, and features — which won’t appear in the actual tab — will be written up from all four of them. They may not all appear in Saturday’s edition, but there is only so much time or space, especially with the Appalachian League season still in progress and the Pocahontas Amateur teeing off on the same morning.
We did get a break. Bluefield has normally picked this particular Friday too, but — bless the Beavers — they decided to wait until Monday.
It will continue, with a View. PikeView awaits on Tuesday, as does a trip to McDowell County to get River View and Mount View. The following day includes Princeton, followed on Thursday by James Monroe and Montcalm.
That is 17 schools in six days, and it will be 18. I’m still waiting on Giles.
Two schools, Summers County and Wyoming East, are being done by our friends in Beckley. Bless them too.
There are also the colleges. Trips will be made to Virginia Tech — only because Blacksburg is an hour away — Concord and Bluefield College. Neither West Virginia or Marshall — which includes a 3 or 4 hour drive — have actual media days, and WVU has player interviews set for 10:30 in the morning.
Ouch! You do the math to figure out what time we would have to leave to get to Morgantown in time for those words of wisdom. I tried it my first year here, and nearly didn’t live to tell about it. At least WVU does send out comments from coaches and players to make it seem like we were there.
What is the point? All of this has to be done to get the material needed to complete not only the BDT Blitz tab, but also the bdtblitz.com web site.
Once the interviews and photos have all been taken, the articles still have to be written, the photos processed, and rosters, schedules, previews and much more has to be put together.
Whew, and all this has to be done in less two weeks.
And, we can’t forget about everything else, such as the Appalachian League, and — believe it or not — there are other sports taking place, such as soccer, golf, volleyball and cross country among the local high schools and colleges.
Unfortunately most of those — outside of baseball and high school football scrimmages — have to wait for their coverage after that football tab is finished.
I had a message the other day from an irate reader who was upset that we didn’t have anything on the first day of high school football. That was on Thursday, but football here didn’t begin until Monday.
Apparently he was as anxious for the season to begin as the rest of us.
Now I know most of you couldn’t care less what has to be done to get all this done. You just want to read about your favorite teams.
We will do our best to make it happen.
Football is back. Read all about it in the coming days.
—Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org