The DME's third Walker County Football Media Day, now under the moniker DME Prepzone Football Media Day, was a smash hit for all of us involved.Three years ago, when the concept of holding a Football …
The DME's third Walker County Football Media Day, now under the moniker DME Prepzone Football Media Day, was a smash hit for all of us involved.
Three years ago, when the concept of holding a Football Media Day where the coaches and players of our area teams could be showcased and put on their display of enthusiasm and eagerness in the upcoming season, while we as a sports department could take advantage of having representatives of all seven teams available for information and quotes geared towards our playbook magazine.
Little did we know in such a short time that the concept, once fully realized, would grow into the joyous spectacle the anticipated event has become.
This year, instead of a small, live-fed event over the DME Facebook page that Media Days began as, we now have a full production with side interviews on twitter, as well as media representatives from WBRC Fox 6 and WVUA of Tuscaloosa on hand to interview coaches and players.
In essence, our small sapling has turned into a redwood.
Why? Because it just means more.
Yeah, I'm borrowing from the SEC with their new motto, but it really holds true for our Media Day.
The proof comes from the watching the pride in the players as they represent their communities, talk about their families — the ones who share the field with them, as well as those they share their homes with — and their expectations for the upcoming season. Energy is high — there are no wins or losses, concerns about who needs to beat who to make the postseason or worrying about the opposing runningback who tallied 250 yards last week. The slate is clean and everyone is starting at a 0-0 record.
For their part, the players didn't disappoint in their moment in the spotlight. Far from it, every year they seem to get better at appearing at Media Day. That makes it even more enjoyable for us, the media who are covering them. Most of these young men, probably 99 percent of them, won't appear at a college conference media day. The experience they get to enjoy with us for a few hours as representatives of their schools and communities is a treasure for them they will take for the rest of their lives.
As media representatives, we also have the joy of getting to know these young men — they become much more than a name, position, grade level and a set of statistics. We get an early insight to who will be the leaders on their teams, their vision and expectations and their relationships with their teammates.
A fun, new aspect of Media Day this year came in the "7 Questions" segment on Twitter, where I took a representative of each team and engaged in a humorous and light-hearted set of questions — finding out what the players would do if they were given one billion dollars, who the biggest prankster is on their team and what is the most embarrassing that has happened to them in a practice or game. Jasper's Aundra Reese, Carbon Hill's Matthew Wallace, Oakman's Luke Johnson, Curry's Levi Tidwell, Dora's Jamaal Harris, Sumiton Christian's Corbin Hicks and Cordova's Jaxson McLemore were spectacular and I believe enjoyed themselves as much I as did interviewing them.
Our area coaches also did very well and providing us with insights into the team and players who could make a big impact this season. Coach Bryan Moore of Jasper and coach Bart Lockhart of Dora have already become old pros at Media Day — both are sure-fire commodities. The new coaches, in the same turn, were quite impressive at their turn at the microphone. Cordova's new head coach, Justin Jones, was phenomenal and could turn the Blue Devils around very quickly. Then there's Carbon Hill's Chavis Williams, who we've watched from his playing days at Dora, to an SEC and National Champion under Nick Saban at Alabama, to a pro career with the Baltimore Ravens, returning home to take the reigns over the ascending Bulldogs program — a tremendous story in and of itself.
Under our "head bird" James Phillips (as our publisher has rightfully proclaimed himself), we are endeavoring to bring a new experience to players, coaches, fans and their communities when it comes to high school sports and the award-winning Media Day is just the tip of the iceberg. We hope everyone will join us for what we believe will be an outstanding year of coverage as our athletes take to the field in the quest for championship glory.
It just means more.