• 72°
franklin county times

Column: SEC should take catering lessons from local teams

By Staff
Will Bardwell
Aug. 5, 2004
The perks of being a sports reporter are few and far between.
Oh, sure, depending on where you work you might get to go to some college football or pro basketball games for free every now and then if that sort of thing appeals to you.
But we sports writers never get the big bucks, like a bribe from public officials or a percentage off the top of a white-collar, money-laundering scheme.
It's a darn shame, but that's just the way it is.
And that's why we've come to depend so heavily upon schools and teams that we cover for that most primal of perks.
Free food.
Think about it. Myself excluded, how many sports journalists do you know who are in good shape? Not many. For every Kirk Herbstreit, there are 100 more like Eli Gold. And even though I fit into the former category rather than the latter, I speak for all sports reporters when I declare that we require sustinence. Fatty sustinence, to be specific, and preferably served with lots of ketchup.
That's why I was so concerned not to mention angry when the Southeastern Conference did such a shoddy job of feeding reporters at the SEC Football Media Days last week. A co-worker and I each woke up around 5:30 a.m., left for Birmingham, Ala., around 6, and arrived not long after 8.
By that time, I was famished. All morning long, I'd been craving an all-you-can-eat breakfast at the expense of the conference. I was hoping for eggs, bacon and the like, but I was perfectly prepared to settle for doughnuts. I checked in with the league staff, clipped on my credentials and started searching for the food. It was time to dig in.
Or so I thought.
I looked all around. The SEC had reserved a sizeable portion of the Wynfrey Hotel, so I searched upstairs and down for anything edible. I became desperate. A cold, unbuttered piece of toast would've sufficed.
Alas, there was nothing. No stale toast, and certainly no endless buffet of scambled eggs, grilled sausage and cheese grits as I'd dreamed. The only thing the SEC provided was a soft drink fountain, but the ice bin beside the fountain contained nothing but a shallow puddle of lukewarm water.
In the end, I had to walk over to the mall that was attached to the hotel and buy a sausage biscuit with egg.
Did you hear that? I had to buy it. Buy it! With my money. Like I'm some kind of normal person. Can you believe that?
Just when I was about to lose faith in the system, my boys at West Alabama restored my trust earlier this week. I was in Livingston, Ala., on Tuesday for the football team's Media Day and showed up just before the press conference was scheduled to start.
That's what I'm talking about.
This wasn't the first time my boys at West Alabama have come through with large quantities of lipid-laced lunch. During Tigers football games in the fall, the press box overflows with fried chicken, pizza, pie, you name it.
Tuesday, the menu was barbecue, and lots of it. Pulled pork, sauce and white bread, served with a glass of sweet ice tee and topped off with some kind of fudge cake.
Take that, SEC.
In fact, one of the best catering jobs at an event I covered was when Northeast Lauderdale hosted a basketball tournament back in January. Anybody who breaks out the sausage rotel dip is a friend of mine.
And sure, a day spent covering prep basketball or Division II football may not be as glamorous as a morning visit to a nationally-watched event like SEC Media Days.
But there's a lot to be said for local sports, and there's even more to be said for local sports teams that provide barbecue and pizza.
As long as free meals remain atop the list of sports reporters' perks, small schools with big stomachs will stay on top of the food chain.

News

Roxy holds annual W.C. Handy’s Evening at the Roxy Great Pretenders Show

Franklin County

Distinguished Young Women deadline approaches

College Sports

NWSCC adds volleyball to growing Patriot athletics program

News

Russellville Parks and Rec adult softball league grows interest

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

Police search underway for man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

x