This week was an interesting week for the Coaches Show. Right now, being in November, it is an interesting time in sports period. First, there is still football, volleyball and other fall sports going on. So, I have to keep in mind all those sports as I prepare for each show. Then, there are other winter sports starting up, specifically basketball. I love both football and basketball and both of those sports come to me very easily. But, it’s still interesting.
This week marked the transition from one season to another, from one time of year to the next. The fall is all about the leaves changing colors while enjoying the crisp air and a football game. Basketball, however, is about going to the gym when it’s cold and hoping your team makes more field goals than the other team. From my perspective, it’s about adding some balance to the entire sports season. It’s a time to exercise some flexibility and knowledge of the different sports that take place at this university.
This week also marked dealing with different personalities. So far, I have gotten used to talking with football, volleyball, soccer and cross country coaches. Now, I have to deal with basketball coaches, which are an entirely different breed. They tend to be intense and very vague on their answers. So, I’ve had to learn to adapt with each of the Coaches’ styles.
Finally, I get to help a new coach with his transition to a new school. Coach Kellogg, the head women’s basketball coach, is in his first year. He’s moved schools before (he used to be at WT, too) so he’s used to starting over at new programs. But it’s been interesting to see his personality as a coach, compared to the last one, specifically relating to how a woman (our former coach) approaches the game differently than a man does. Neither is right or wrong, by the way. Kellogg is very intense and very blunt whereas our last coach, to me, wasn’t.
The last show I did (October 30) was one of the best shows of the semester. I have the benefit of getting to know the coaches more and more as the weeks go on. On the 30th, it seemed to be story time for all the coaches. I asked Coach Nesbitt from football what his best Wagon Wheel Rivalry memory was and that got the ball rolling. He told me about it off camera and it was quite a lengthy story. That took up time and when the next coach came in, he told stories with Nesbitt and each coach would tell stories with each other and me. It was neat to see the different coaches and their interactions with all the other coaches.
Needless to say, it took much longer than it was supposed to get all the coaches through the shows. In all, it was about an hour and a half. But still, I enjoyed the experience.
In previous blogs, I’ve talked about working on exercising some patience. This week, I’ve been experiencing the same thing. But, the growth is never the same. In the past, it’s been dealing with a coach’s crazy schedule or their lack of on-camera experience. This week, it’s been the ability to adapt to what happens when you don’t expect it.
In the Fine Arts Complex, all the lights are run off a single lighting server. Well, last Wednesday, the whole server happened to go down. I didn’t know there was a lighting server until it went down. We could turn on the lights in the studio and thus, we couldn’t do the show. So, I learned how to deal with a last minute change in regards to letting others know. I work in sports and my days are never the same, so I’ve always got to change my plans at the last minute but I’ve never been the one to do it to others. It worked out in the end though. Dealing with the media is not something that some coaches really want to do, so I can’t imagine they were too disappointed.
This week’s lesson is just a continuance on patience. Last week, I wrote about learning to work around other people’s schedules. This week, it’s figuring out how much my patience can take while interviewing the coaches themselves.
On one hand, there’s Jason Skoch with volleyball. I have always known that his answers to some questions can be a little off the wall. I usually try to tailor the questions for each coach, but with him, I really can’t. I think the problem is mostly that he is honest and says what he feels, no matter what that feeling is. But, Skoch can also go on and on with an answer. So, I have had to learn the skill of adaptation. I have figured out that I just need to pay attention and listen to what he is saying no matter how long the answer is.
On the other hand, there’s the coaching that I have to do of the coaches. I have to explain and sometimes just remind them how to behave on camera. It’s been interesting to note the progression of the coaches and their on-camera behavior as the year has gone on. For some of them, I have interviewed them mostly on the radio so what they do or where they look isn’t really an issue because it is on radio, after all. With this, I have to remind them to not swivel in their chair, play with their face or hair while on camera and to look at me when they are giving their answer. It’s just little things but it makes a remarkable difference in the quality of the end product.
This week’s Coaches Shows turned out fairly well. It’s pretty basic from here after I established a sort of schedule and routine. This last week was interesting because it taught me patience as well as flexibility. It’s not like I didn’t already have those skills, they just were never really put on display before.
While shooting this week, the volleyball coach, Jason Skoch, was supposed to come in for his interview at 10:30 a.m. At the last second, and without telling me, Keith Barnett, the assistant coach, showed up for the interview. This isn’t really too much of a problem because I’ve talked to Barnett before. But the issue is that: A) he showed up and I was in the swing of the interviewing coaches, and; B) that I didn’t really have the chance to adjust my questions for the different coach. As and interviewer, I feel that I have to remember who my subject is when I craft my questions. Thus, I had to make it up on the fly. It threw me off track but it all worked itself out in the end. Keith is a good interview, after all.
Finally, like all my other posts, I’ve been enjoying my growing relationships with all the coaches. Most of them I’ve known through doing public address announcing and other events, but there have been two of them (both the cross country coaches) that I didn’t know that much coming in to the internship. So, I’ve learned a little about who they are and what makes them tick, both on and off the race track.
This week, I think that I’ve really started to turn an interesting corner with the Coaches Show: I’ve started to move my relationship with the coaches to a different level. First was the relationship with coach Mike Nesbitt of WT football. On this week’s show, I messed up a question and had to start again. It’s not really a big deal since the shows are all pre-recorded but he proceeded to dish out trash-talking on all levels about my screw up. He mentioned that because I messed up, if the football team lost this weekend (which they did), he would pin the loss on me and my mistake. It was something about messing with the groove of the team. All of this was said in a joking manner, of course.
Following the show, after I finished with volleyball coach Jason Skoch, he and I chatted for a long while about everything athletics-related, from his volleyball team to the Lone Star Conference and athletics as a whole. It was interesting to hear his take on those subjects but also nice to hear that someone was interested in what my thoughts were on different subjects too.
This week was fairly basic on the Coaches’ Show front. This was the week that I really felt we made some good progress. First, we established a routine that will be our template for the rest of the semester. In a perfect world, that routine would be as follows: football and volleyball, since they are the main money-makers in the fall, will be on the show every week while men’s and women’s soccer and cross-country will alternate weeks. So, last week, we talked to the men’s soccer and women’s cross country coaches. Next week, we will have the women’s soccer and men’s cross country head coach.
This week was the first time that Kimberly Dudley, the women’s cross country head coach had ever been on camera. So, I had to coach her through how to behave in front of the camera. She can’t move back and forth in her chair, can’t touch her face while on camera, etc. I know all those things so it was a little odd to have to teach them to somebody else. But, she did great for her first time.
The main problem that was encountered was working with scheduling. Coach Skoch from volleyball forgot that he was going to be on the show this week and so we had to adjust at the last second and just use three coaches. I’ve learned to do a better job of reminding the sports information office with Athletics to remind the coaches.
This week, well, there hasn’t been much difference as opposed to the week before. We did, however figure out how to get all the shows on the website without too much difficulty. What we had decided to do was to split the episodes up into four different parts. The parts featured the entire interviews with each of the coaches. To save a little time here, I decided to keep my questions brief and only ask about three of them. This made each of the segments about 2:30 to four minutes depending on the length of the answers.
I did learn a patience lesson this week though. On Wednesday, the day the episodes are shot, the head coach for volleyball, ended up having some plumbing trouble. He had to stay at his house to get the issue resolved, so, at the last second, we substituted the assistant coach. The lesson learned was to just roll with the punches in the sports world; there are so many other factors that influence people and their decisions that I can’t possibly control. Thus, why worry about it?
Finally, the most interesting phase of hosting these episodes are working with the routine. I not only have to get used to fitting these shows into my weekly schedule but the coaches are learning the same thing. It’s been an interesting transition from week to week between me and the coaches and seeing how they too react to the change in habit. I am no longer talking to them as a stranger but somebody who they know. I have enjoyed building this relationship with each of the coaches.