I can be annoying. While my friends and family would be quick to confirm that statement personally, my point here is I can be annoying in a professional context.
If I need to talk to someone for a story, I will call every number I have for them, text them, email them, etc. Taking the brunt of this information-gathering onslaught often is area athletic directors. I spoke to multiple ADs from the county this week as I was working on a story detailing the difficulties of their job. I couldn’t ignore the fact I can be one of those inconveniences.
So I had to ask, how obnoxious am I really? Is dealing with the media one of the more frustrating part of the job?
“That’s another thing that you just don’t think about, the communication with the press,” first-year Fairfield Christian athletic director Aaron Bates said. “Our sports are good for you guys, and you guys covering us is good for us. Fostering that is an important thing for what we do. It’s something you don’t think about for sure.”
I was happy to hear Bates recognize the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship, but I wasn’t surprised it wasn’t first in his mind when he accepted the job. So, maybe I’m not so annoying?
According to Jerry Snodgrass, Ohio High School Athletic Association assistant commissioner and former athletic director at Findlay High School, I’m lucky to have the relationship I have developed with Bates and other ADs around the county.
“I don’t know if every athletic director is on the same page with the (press),” he said. “You serve a great role. If you don’t write about kids, then how important is it?”
I’ll at least agree we in the media serve a role, however great it might or might not be. When ADs can agree on that point, my job becomes much easier, I get less annoying and I imagine everyone involved enjoys themselves more. There are some ADs that find me to be a pest or the media to be a more annoying part than rewarding part of their job. Fortunately, those individuals have been few and far between for me.
Bloom-Carroll’s Chad Little, one of the first athletic directors I met upon starting at the Eagle-Gazette and one of the most accessible, claims he enjoys working with the press. Given how frequently he is willing to answer calls and texts, I am inclined to believe him.
“It’s fun. I like talking to you guys. It helps the kids,” he said. “Getting kids names out there and getting publicity. Without the newspaper coverage and the radio networks and the social media, I would think we are shorting our kids.”
I was pleased and a bit surprised that media obligations of athletic directors can be an enjoyable part of their hectic jobs. While I will continue to be annoying when I need to be and won’t overlook any stories simply because I have a good relationship with area ADs, I can fully appreciate the fact my annoying nature is taken in stride.