Immediately after lunch, your trusty scribe will crawl within the again seat of a rental automobile and head to Birmingham, Ala., for my forty second soccer media days.
Tom Murphy and Bob Holt will do many of the driving, so that is not like my first media days when the Southwest Convention was thought-about the wild, wild West of school soccer.
We’d meet in Dallas, get on a bus pushed by a stranger and journey many of the state visiting the SWC faculties earlier than flying to Fayetteville for the ultimate cease.
The bus was principally full. There have been inky wretches, throats and speaking heads.
Every cease was distinctive, though for some cause Faculty Station used to have essentially the most sidebars to the protection.
We have been wined and dined at each cease however Waco, the place we simply dined.
The SWC supplied a three-ring binder, and every faculty distributed a number of dozen clean sheets of three-hole paper. Timber have been wasted as a result of nobody ever used all of the paper supplied.
Throughout Johnny “The Ranger” Keith’s first yr as sports activities info director at Texas A&M, there was no paper.
“What, your newspaper doesn’t offer you notebooks?” he requested.
The information conferences virtually have been casual with coaches and gamers. They typically lasted longer than crucial.
Then the coach would present up at dinner.
Even earlier than the coronavirus, SEC Media Days have been held in a single metropolis. The coach speaks from a podium, often to a packed home, for lower than an hour.
Then he’s shuffled off to the TV of us or radio of us. They’ve their very own room however are fairly sneaky about invading our territory.
This yr issues are stricter, though Tom, Bob and yours actually have been cleared for each interview session this week.
Seating has been decreased by about 35%, and that mixed with the latest surge in virus instances had me contemplating staying residence.
I’m absolutely vaccinated however nonetheless don’t wish to run the chance of bringing it residence to my 6-year-old grandson. That’s why I’ll put on a masks.
I want everybody would get vaccinated. It is a medical problem, not a political one, and younger individuals and other people affected by issues similar to most cancers are unprotected.
Anyway, as an alternative of using round Texas in what was typically known as a “Rolling Honky Tonk,” we’ll keep in the identical lodge each evening.
Once we visited Rice, we stayed in a motel ran by Dicky Maegle, who just lately handed away. For a number of years, I received to listen to the story of how he was operating for a landing at Rice when an Alabama participant jumped off the sideline and tackled him.
The SWC tour typically consisted of breakfast, bus journey, lunch, information conferences, dinner after which the media gathering across the pool to take heed to Dan Prepare dinner inform battle tales.
When Dan retired, the bus cut up. Within the entrance have been the milk drinkers and the again the beer drinkers.
It turned a rivalry, even throughout a miniature golf recreation when the milk drinkers despatched an observer to verify the beer drinkers weren’t dishonest.
That occurred in Faculty Station. The identical evening of the annual poker recreation.
Jackie Sherrill got here to play, and by the evening’s finish he had a wrinkled shirt and a reporter had a swollen eye brought on by the fist of an assistant coach who felt the reporter was being too private with Sherrill.
As soon as on the best way to Faculty Station, Charlie Fiss — then a member of the SWC workplace — stopped the bus and ordered 40 ham and cheese sandwiches, half wheat and half white bread.
The sandwiches had one slice of white and certainly one of wheat.
On Monday there received’t be ham and cheese sandwiches, simply three undefeated coaches talking positively about their groups whereas socially distant from us.