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July 25, 2011
Beth Mechum, Website Intern for the Atlantic Coast Conference, takes you Beyond the ACCtion in Pinehurst for the 2011 ACC Football Kickoff. Check theACC.com daily for more entries.
Day Two from Pinehurst, the wakeup call was later than Monday which was much appreciated for the folks not participating in the Skeeter Francis golf outing. For those that were - I can't feel too bad since they had the chance to play on one of the most beautiful courses in the country.
But before I get to today, I'll take a final look back at Day 1 of Kickoff. After stories were turned in and computers packed up, dinner was served. Another stellar meal prepared by the Pinehurst Resort staff was enjoyed before a few welcoming words by ACC Commissioner John Swofford. Media members who have been covering the kickoff for 20 years or more were honored at the event - some were at the same outlet for all 20 years, others moved around a bit, but the ACC was constant throughout.
After dinner the student-athletes retreated to their hotel game room. In the style of most of Pinehurst, the lounge had an old-timey feel, but I'm not sure how many hotels had air hockey and flat screen TVs when golfers stayed here decades ago. They got to spend time together talking about their lives as student-athletes and had a chance to relax before their preseason practices ramp up and their lives won't slow down until December or January.
After the dinner, media members, bowl officials, school and ACC administrators, coaches and others mingled at a reception. Talk of ACC Football was found in most groupings across the reception area and after watching a video montage at dinner, it was clear all were ready for the season to start.
Monday morning was quiet with many playing golf, some sleeping in. A lot of the coaches hit the links, but as I was walking to breakfast I saw David Cutcliffe granting ESPN's Heather Dinich an early morning interview and as I was scooping some cheese grits on my plate, I saw Virginia's Mike London and Miami's Al Golden enjoying their breakfasts as well. Coaches needed their energy before going through the gauntlet of media interviews today.
Doug Rhoads, coordinator of football officials for t he ACC, was the only real big event going on inside in the morning and he rewarded all who came to his officiating forum with handpicked clips, jokes and honest answers to their questions. He also brought along some DVSport replay equipment, so anyone who wanted could see what the replay officials see when a call is reviewed.
Before his forum started, some of the attendees mentioned the heat in which the golfers were playing which led to a discussion on the "old days" of football where water at two-a-days was a luxury and helmets were never taken off. Things have changed dramatically, and most admitted it was a change for the better - of course that won't stop the war stories.
Next up was a quick lunch break then the mad dash when the preseason rankings and player of the year votes came out. It was a whirlwind for our staff simultaneously trying to tweet the rankings, post the release in the right format and post a video. My job was a quick post and a quick tweet. Unfortunately in my quickness with six different windows up on my screen, I included a hashtag #BU in my tweet instead of #BC and didn't notice it until a bunch of other Twitter follows called it to our attention.
I corrected the mistake and sent out an apology tweet. My intention was never to insult any Boston College fans or the league - just a case of my fingers typing faster than my brain could follow. It was a good lesson on proofreading and another reminder in this social-media driven world that first is never better than right. Again, sorry #BC fans and ACC fans everywhere! In my first ACC event as an intern, I'll learn from this and it will better prepare me for the future. Working for an organization like the ACC means a lot of scrutiny and I welcome the pressure.
After that slight fiasco, back to work on combing through articles from last night and this morning and enjoying the coaches' interview rush. Coaches were shuffled back and forth between radio, TV, print and website media and the ESPN bus. Again, they were good sports, but all these men would rather be barking on the sidelines instead of being in front of microphones and cameras.
Coaches' interviews will continue throughout the evening, then reporters will file stories pack up equipment and ceaseless discussion about what will happen this season will continue until the games begin in earnest Labor Day weekend and a whole new type of discussion will begin.