Meet the Coaches... in 2 Weeks
We’re two weeks away from the big Ivy League football media day, where all eight coaches and some league officials will address a conference call for reporters and then the coaches will answer questions.
The event used to be a live one-on-one affair – with free food!!! – but in what I considered to be a tolerable cost-cutting move, they switched to this teleconference format last year.
I say “tolerable” because it’s better that the league makes things harder for the media than the fans or the players.
Anyway, I do like that the conference call almost completely forces every member of the news media to hear what all the coaches have to say. The in-person media events I attended in the past were eerie in that most of the media would crowd around the Yale and Harvard coaches’ tables and leave the other six guys looking lonely most of the time.
I also like that the teleconference format forces each head coach to make an opening statement that makes it clear what are the most important issues facing each team.
That said, remember that the word “listen” is a relative term. It was obvious last year that lots of the reporters just waited to ask their questions but did not really listen to what was said beforehand. The most embarrassing example was when Head Coach Norries Wilson announced that M.A. Olawale was going to be the starting QB for the Lions and a few minutes later 2-3 reporters asked him questions only about Shane Kelly. Coach Wilson did not correct the reporters, but it was weird.
I will again be “attending” the conference call this year and will try to offer the running blog updates as I did last year.
Remember that the event will begin at about 11am Eastern Time with the release of the preseason Ivy standings poll.
JoJo Smith in his playing days (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)
Despite the intense heat, I had a great time at the Columbia Alumni Association barbeque on campus on Saturday. The organizers did a great job building a bigger tent this year to keep people out of the sun, and the ices and cold drinks kept coming! Also, my two daughters were in balloon animal and face painting heaven… which was important because I was taking both of them to the event on my own!
After the BBQ, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear someone calling my name from west side of College Walk and that person turned out to be former Lion captain JoJo Smith ’08.
JoJo wasn’t attending the alumni event - he was simply walking home - as he lives north of campus and has been working at Goldman Sachs since graduation.
We talked for about 10-15 minutes about the upcoming season and what JoJo is doing now.
He is truly one of my favorite Columbia football success stories.
Don Draper: formal dresser and casual Ivy football fan
Mad Men Mention
Ivy League football played an interesting supporting role in the season 4 premiere of "Mad Men" on AMC Sunday night.
In one scene, the main character Don Draper is seen sitting alone in his apartment with the TV on. If you listen carefully, you can hear the announcers describing the action in a Princeton-Cornell game at Palmer Stadium.
Now, the folks on the "Mad Men" production team are very proud of the meticulous work they do to make every episode historically accurate.
Naturally, I was hoping to catch them in a mistake.
First, I had to check if Princeton and Cornell really did play in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, 1964, (the week that was the setting for this episode).
They got that right: the Tigers and the Big Red hooked up on November 21, 1964 and the Tigers eked out a 17-12 win on their way to a 9-0 season.
Now, was the game actually televised, and was it broadcast in the New York market?
The answer is yes to both as I have checked with some reliable sources on that one.
Now I am a fan of Mad Men and I respect the hard work they do to keep things "accurate," (I put that term in quotes because it is a fictional story after all), but sometimes I feel like the writers and producers are working too hard on historical niceties and not hard enough on developing the story... or helping the actors like John Ham act a little more convincingly. (He looks the part, but I'm just not buying him as the creative type in any era).
But again, splitting hairs here... it's a pretty damn good show.