Being the sports editor of a college newspaper has more benefitsthan just seeing your picture next to your column every week, orseeing your byline under your game story.There is more to the job than becoming elated when you see fellowstudents admiring the back page and reading the sports sectionevery Thursday morning.
A brand new state-of-the-art computer and individual cubicle arenot the only perks a sports editor has.Other luxuries include sitting courtside at men’s and women’sbasketball games at Alumni Hall and free access to any St. John’sor any other college basketball game at Madison Square Garden.Let’s not forget the chance to interview coaches and athletes onany given day and a travel expense budget for road games.But, beyond all those fringe benefits, the most special andmemorable of them all is Media Day.
Last Tuesday, I attended the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team’smedia day at Alumni Hall. After experiencing it last year as afirst-year writer, I was anticipating this day for months.What’s not to like? Not only do I get to participate as a member ofthe press, I get the chance to miss both of my classes for theday.
Last year, as a staff writer, I was happy that I got the chanceto stand on the court and ask St. John’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis aquestion.I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to interviewplayers in the locker room after practice, as I pinched myself tosee if I was really there.
However, this year it was a different experience. It was stillone of excitement and pure joy to have the chance to watch practicefrom 8:30 a.m. and then interview Jarvis and players at 10 a.m.This year, I was the one in charge, the one who had to sit uneasilyas practice winded down and not all of my writers were present.I’m the one who had to sweat it out, and make sure every one hadgotten the chance to interview their assigned player, not tomention asking Jarvis a question or two.
As 10 a.m. rolled around, all arrived on time, and the ballbegan to roll.We all made our way down to the locker room where we graced thefloor where such St. John’s greats like Chris Mullin, Mark Jacksonand Marcus Hatten stood.
After interviewing the players, it was time for a photograph:the front picture of Courtside, the annual basketball preview issueprovided by The Torch, which hits newsstands later this month.
The picture went well, and then it was off to Jarvis’s office,where he fielded questions from myself, my assistant Joe (thesecond half of the amazing Joe and Joe sports duo) and three othereditors.
The five of us got there earlier than scheduled, which was hardto believe, considering the fact that we got lost and it took us 10minutes to find his office.
Because of our early arrival, the big shot sports writers fromthe best New York papers had to wait until we finished ourinquisition.
After shooting a women’s basketball photo for the back page ofCourtside, St. John’s Media Day was officially over.Well, sort of. Less than 24 hours later, I found myself travelingon the E Train to the world’s most famous arena to attend the BigEast Conference Media Day for men’s basketball.
This is just another of the many perks that come with the job. Ifind myself involved in. Reserving my spot a few weeks earlier,Oct. 29 had finally arrived and it was time to step up my game.
After checking in and getting my bag checked by security, Iwalked in and was greeted with an awesome Big East media guide, aswell as a gift package that included a Big East keychain, silverpen, and a watch I can use for meeting future deadlines.
What a day! This time I was missing three classes. Woo-hoo! Andthe best part was that the day hadn’t even begun yet. All theinterviews with the coaches and players, not to mention the 1 p.m.luncheon buffet, still awaited me.Surrounding me were hundreds of sports writers and TV sportsanchors and crews, ready to pounce on the Big Eastparticipants.
They included commissioner Michael Tranghese, who addressed themedia for a brief five minutes and then allowed us to leave ourseats and run to the coaches. An observer would have thought thatwe had just been offered free milk and cookies from the Los AngelesLaker girls.
The coaches spoke with reporters from the print media for anhour, while the student-athletes were down the hall conductingtelevision interviews.
As the hour rolled down, I spoke with Jarvis once again, as wellas head coaches from Boston College, Georgetown, Miami and VirginiaTech.
Once we heard enough from the coaches, the players strolled in.There was Connecticut center and Preseason Big East Player of theYear Emeka Okafor, Miami’s senior standout Darius Rice, the latterbeing the nephew of football legend and Oakland Raider widereceiver Jerry Rice.
Feeling like I belonged, I told the younger Rice that theRaiders sucked, to which he laughed at and told me what the problemwas (our little secret).
It was a great day. I spoke with big-time reporters who gave mea pep talk on what I would be getting myself into for the rest ofmy life.
I introduced myself to several writers and even exchangednumbers with Lenn Robbins of the Post, who, like me, will becovering the Red Storm this season.
It was an amazing day, and I hope that I am given theopportunity to do it again!
Joseph Manniello is a junior journalism major who, withThanksgiving approaching, is thankful for Media Day. Send allcomments to [email protected]