Media days would seem to be an unusual source of inspiration and self-affirmation, but I’m an odd duck even by the standards of unpaid sportswriters. So I decided yesterday, after Hofstra’s first media day for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, that when I write my first book that anybody outside my immediate family reads, I’m going to title it “Media Days For The Soul.”
I was fretting all week over Media Day because I felt wholly unprepared for it. I’ve been buried in copy writing assignments, which, again, is good because it means my wife and I and our cats can eat, but it leaves little time for the passion that is Hofstra sports. I hate feeling as if the season has completely snuck up on me, even if we’ve all been counting down the days to tomorrow since the loss to Evansville in the That Which Shall Not Be Named Tournament.
I figure if Media Day was a day or two later, I would have endured the dreaded “I went there naked” dream. That’s right. Most people dream about showing up to a final exam naked, I worry I’ll dream about showing up to a media day naked. Normal I am not.
Anyway, as is usually the case with writers who can’t get out of their own heads, my fears were unfounded. Media Day was a smash hit from start to finish. Walking into the Arena felt like slipping on an old pair of shorts or sweats. It was kind of like the first day of school, with familiar faces saying hello and new faces introducing themselves and everyone excited for the months to come even if nobody knows what is going to happen.
Collecting a bunch of interviews in one place for usage over the next few weeks, meanwhile, reminded me of the infant days of my sportswriting career and attending press conferences with one-on-one opportunities at Shea Stadium (Google it Crain!). Getting a bunch of stuff in one sitting is reinvigorating, makes me feel as if I accomplished something and negates most of that whole “season snuck up on me” vibe.
It was a big-time event put on by Hofstra and the sports information department of Stephen Gorchov, Jim Sheehan and Len Skoros and an essential addition for a school that wants to produce big-time basketball teams.
“Basketball is very important to Hofstra,” Jack Hayes said in his opening remarks. “We will do everything we can to remain competitive and to continue to build our basketball programs. The runs that we have had recently in men’s and women’s basketball have been very good but I think anybody that you will hear from today believes that the future of our basketball programs are the best years.”
“It’s the type of stuff that we have to continue to do,” Mo Cassara said. “We have to continue to sell what we’re so proud of. And I think we’ve got a great product here. We’ve got a lot of people that are excited about the program on and off the court and we want to keep talking about that.”
As big-time as it was, the endearingly down-home vibe we’ve come to appreciate at Hofstra remained firmly in place. For example, I can tell you I’ve never loaned a book to a professional baseball player.
“This is personal,” Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said. “The D.C. CAA one is great, but I like this atmosphere. I like how we did it. It was serious but then yet it was casual. I think it just allows for you to personally get to know players a lot better and see them in a different light and [for her] to really be able to brag about my players. I could brag about everybody. I didn’t just have to talk about Shante [Evans] like I do in the CAA. So I thought it was a home run—a complete home run.”
Good analogy. I approve.