One of my favorite early indicators that a new football season is just around the corner used to be media guides.
Professional football teams had them but I guess I always enjoyed the college ones more. The media guides, often thicker and wider than a phone book, were initially a way to keep media informed of information on the team it covered. Program records, stats and records were listed on page after page.
Eventually fans began to enjoy them as well and colleges and universities would often send them to high dollar boosters and season ticket holders. In recent years some schools have gone away from their printed guides (which admittedly were expensive to print) and moved to an on-line version.
Personally, I enjoyed the printed ones much better. Once I went into the newspaper business full-time, I had access to practically any media guide I wanted, in any sport. However, it was football which held my interest. From reading about the coaching staffs to the players to the school itself, media guides were an item which literally took up several cabinets in the office where I was working.
When I moved outside of the newspaper business full-time, I didn’t have the space to take all of the media guides with me so I spent several days deciding on which ones to keep.
Another favorite section of the guides would be the biographical information on players. Often it went beyond listing their hometown and high school accomplishments.
They often gave us a look into the personal lives of the players. While I was never listed in any type of media guide for being an athlete (my name and contact information have been in the printed directory of the Football Writers Association of America) if it had perhaps it would read something like this:
Name: Chris Bridges
Hometown: Monticello, Ga.
The first college football game you attended was: Oct. 13, 1979, LSU at Georgia
Favorite color: Green
Favorite season: Summer
Hobbies: Watching sports, horror movies, following political campaigns, spending time with family and friends, working in my yard and visiting state parks.
Something you have never done but would like to do: Write a book
Siblings: One younger brother named Jon
Year you graduated from high school: 1989
Year you graduated college: 1993
Places you have lived other than your hometown: Georgia cities of Tifton, Carrollton, Madison, Oxford and Winder
Favorite football coach growing up: LaVell Edwards of BYU
Favorite section of the newspaper: Sports
Your prediction for college football national champion in 2021: Alabama
Favorite offensive schemes to watch: I like a variety from the wide-open run-and-shoot to the triple option.
Favorite professional athlete: Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Memorable story you have written: A feature on former Monroe Area High School football coach (and former UGA player) Al Pollard which earned the highest honor given from the Georgia Sports Writers Association
Another memorable story: Feature on former Loganville High School athletic director and football coach Tommy Stringer when he celebrated 40 years in coaching
Favorite sports-related movie: “Rudy,” “Major League” and “The Bad News Bears” to name just a few
Favorite football broadcasting team growing up: Pat Summerall and John Madden
Favorite thing about sports: They can teach life lessons through hard work, team work and unselfishness.