Parasiliti: New-style media isn't element-ary

August 14, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

Football coaches are a controlling bunch.

No matter the level they coach, each one of them strives to be totally prepared.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to guess that they all have televisions that still run with tubes and they prefer to get their news from newspapers. Everything from that era comes in black and white

The world stepped into the new century on Sunday when WHAG-25 hosted what could best be called a high school football festival at North Hagerstown’s Mike Callas Stadium. Many of the coaches and a handful of players from 48 schools in the four-state area met in one place to talk about their upcoming seasons.

It was something new. It was unprecedented in this area. It was different.

“I hate it,” said one coach. “It takes us out of our element.”

Suddenly, hybrid cars were in and 8-track tapes were out in the world of football.

The world turned upside down because that feeling of home-field advantage was gone.

Teams were on an ultimate road game, facing the media on its terms. Coaches had microphones thrust into their hands to talk about things just off the cuff.

It was something they couldn’t prepare for.

Most coaches did what they do best. They improvised.

It was fourth-and-10 with no timeouts and only 8 seconds remaining in the game. It was time to head to the back of the playbook.

That sounds a little dramatic, but like those plays, these media appearances were something they couldn’t practice. The reactions were varied.

“It’s too early,” said one, since Maryland schools just started practice on Saturday. “I don’t even have a roster yet.”

“I don’t care,” said another, who likes to live off the cuff.

It was a brave new world. It was like designing pass routes by using a GPS.

And still, it was an interesting scene. Coaches were able to get a little scouting report by mingling with others in their fraternity while seeing their own players handle a different kind of pressure situation.

It was the film-and-clicker crowd meeting the YouTube generation.

Players seemed to take to the new media format. They showed camera savvy. They were at ease to the pressure of oncoming media. They met with opposing players without a crackback blocks.

Where they really starred, though, was in the TV station’s makeshift Green Room.

“Hey, there are cookies in the bag,” one player exclaimed, looking at the catered bag lunch he received as his appearance fee.

“There is sesame seeds on the bun,” said another.

“I don’t like football. I’m only here for the roast beef,” chimed in a third one.

Still, in the long run, no matter how much everything changes, it all stays the same.

Football coaches still remain the ultimate time managers. It doesn’t matter if it is a TV time slot, a newspaper deadline or a two-minute drill, coaches have an uncanny ability for managing a clock.

“I understand this. It is more efficient,” said one coach. “I just don’t like the day. I won’t get too many Sundays off from now until November. It is taking time away from the family.”

Football coaches may be demanding and controlling on the sidelines, but even they know who the boss is.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at

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