Today, I worked at and from Big 12 Media Days in downtown Dallas. What I mean is that I worked “at” it inasmuch as I took photos and made some pertinent notes on the proceedings for a magazine. But I really just worked “from” there as I was significantly more invested in the restaurant guide website that I run and my role as pro bono consultant for my friend, author Becky Murphy, who is awaiting the release of her book “I’d Rather be Short.”
I had very low expectations for Big 12 Media Days. As I was driving there, I spoke with my dad on the phone about Phil Mickelson’s dramatic Open Championship victory on Sunday. When I said I was driving to Big 12 Media Days, he asked if I had any questions in mind to ask. I didn’t. That’s because I don’t generally ask questions at press conferences as the goal of the interviewee is to give as little expository information as possible. Meanwhile, it seems the goal of the interviewers is to ask questions in clever ways. It generally results in a lot of eye rolling and wishing it were over on my part. Or in the case of today, getting other stuff done.
Nevertheless, it was entertaining in its own way. Here are five things that I learned:
- Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury probably looks more like Ryan Gosling than any coach in the country and definitely resembles the “Drive” star more than any of his Big 12 counterparts.
- Kansas coach Charlie Weis, with nothing to lose really, was the most interesting person to sit behind the press conference microphone. At one point he detailed a recruiting pitch like this: “Have you looked at that pile of crap out there? If you don’t think you can play here, where do you think you can play?”
- I’m not sure if TCU coach Gary Patterson was nervous or what, but he seemed to be trying the hardest to appear savvy, yet he stumbled over words at an alarming rate. It’s too bad Chris Farley is no longer with us or he could do an excellent Patterson impersonation.
- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder reminds me of Fred Rogers from “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” To say that he’s old school is sort of getting it backwards. It would be more accurate to say old school is Bill Snyder.
- And finally, conference media days are kind of like the first day of school. Everyone is excited about the year (unless they’re secretly dreading it), no one has any idea what grades they’ll get (though everyone is cautiously optimistic) and you go home with a syllabus (i.e., a media guide). However, it’s more like a weird first day of school in which each of the pupils fields questions from the class and does his best not to brag.
Photo by Chad Conine.