Tuesday, July 27, 2010


TigerBlog, in the pre-computer days, remembers the time he had 25-page papers due on consecutive days. The first was on FCC regulation of commercial television; the second was on the origins of the Cold War.

TB had not started either one by the weekend before, and yet he churned both out on his little electric typewriter and handed them in on time.

Of course, given that this was the early 1980s, the topics were vastly different than they would be under today's framework.

For the first topic, for instance, if you remember George Carlin's famous routine of "The Seven Words You Can't Say On TV," TB is pretty sure he's heard four, or maybe even five, on network television since he wrote his paper.

As for the second, TB's paper ended up being only 18 pages, instead of the required 25. When the professor gave them back, TB remembers how she said she was disappointed in them and that there were only two A's in the entire class (of about 20 kids).

TigerBlog figured he was in trouble because his was too short. When TB got his back, his grade was an A-minus, which left TB to wonder if there were two others who got A's and a bunch of A-minuses, or did TB's A-minus count as one of the A's.

After all these years, TB has kept that paper around, stored in a box with some other college papers and a bunch of early TB newspaper clippings. Every now and then, TB goes through the box, and he always chuckles at what the professor wrote in her comments:
"A well-written analysis. If there is a criticism, it is that you tend to accept at face value everything written or said by an American and are quite less willing to accept the words of the Soviets."

TB didn't keep the paper on the FCC. He's pretty sure he got a B on that one; it was a fairly common TB grade.

TigerBlog is pretty sure that the experience of writing those two papers started him down his career path of being deadline driven, something that was reinforced completely during his 11 years in the newspaper business.

TB is not so much a procrastinator as he is aware of when things are due. If it's due on the 15th, don't look for it on the 14th. But you definitely won't have to wait until the 16th.

Through all the years, the one deadline that TB struggled the most with was getting the Princeton football media guide done in time for Ivy League football media day.

TB was the football contact for nine seasons (1994-2002), which means he did nine football media guides. He's not sure when Ivy League football media day started, but it was in the late 90s.

Each year, the struggle was to avoid being the only school not to have its guide at football media day. No matter what, TB was going to avoid having that distinction.

To get it done, he would count backwards with the printer for how long it would take to print and then figure out what day the printer had to have it. Working with that deadline, TB never missed getting one done - but he never had it to the printer early either.

TB thought back to those experiences with some sense of nostalgia, as neither media guides nor media day exist anymore.

The media day itself used to be held at a centralized location, usually on or near the Yale campus and in conjunction with Ivy League sports information meetings the day before. Media day included a session where the eight coaches would speak, and then reporters could ask questions.

When that part was over, there was lunch and golf. Probably a little less than half of the times TB played golf in his life was at an Ivy football media day.

Ask anyone who attended all of those sessions what the highlight was, and they'll probably all come back with time Harvey Yavener insulted the head of officials.

Somewhere along the line, someone from the Ivy League office came up with the idea - a very good one, by the way - that the supervisor of officials could come and brief the media on rule changes. Unfortunately on this occasion, the official went line-by-line of every rule change, which dragged out his time well beyond its allotted space.

When he got around to talking about changes in having towels attached to pants, Yav had had enough.

"Can you speed this up?" Yav interrupted. "We've got interviews to do."

TB assumes that anyone who was there remembers that one.

Anyway, there was always a table in the back of the room to place your media guides on, and TB always took great pride in putting his Princeton ones out there, right on time.

Today, Ivy football media day has been replaced with a conference call of the league head coaches.

Media guides are no longer being done, a decision Princeton made a year earlier than the NCAA.

The good of the new media world so far outweighs the bad that there can be no arguing that it's been a positive thing for college athletics and college athletic communications offices.

Still, as with progress everywhere, there is something to be said about a simpler time.

TB sort of misses the days when getting the media guide done was a great accomplishment - but he would never want to go back to doing it again.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Ah yes. The media guide. This FOTB (Friend of TigerBlog) could never figure out why the media, presumably well able to navigate the web or at least their own laptop, needed to have hard copy of something they could have at their fingertips in a different format. But then again, that kind of thinking might explain the path toward extinction that traditional print media is on. By the way, TB, time to write about Conor McCullough!!!