I remember the good old days.
Friday night football games, watching, reporting, writing, then filing and heading out for a bite to eat and something to drink. I remember the laughing and drinking and storytelling into the wee hours of the morning.
(No, no I'm not! There's something in my eye!)
Anyway, this column isn't about that. It's about, well, why we don't do that anymore: Friday Night Rewind.
Friday Night Rewind — a collaborative effort between many of us here at the Times hosted by me and Joey Knight — is a high school football show. It's available on the Web first thing Saturday morning at tampabay.com or fridaynightrewind.com.
And do you want to know why it's there first thing in the morning?
Because we stay up all night doing it.
That alone makes it unique.
So does this: Friday morning, we headed out to shoot our opening at Wiregrass Ranch High.
The Bulls were having a pep rally. We wanted to borrow some of that energy, and put some kids in our opening skit.
That's what we do.
This show has evolved into being all about the kids, but it wasn't always that way.
It started out as an ESPN knockoff, Joey and I reading from our notes and looking like two hostages shooting a video. If you watch closely, I blinked H-E-L-P M-E between the first two segments of the first show.
Then we got creative, somehow the strange mix of a sarcastic fool and a sweet, gentle polite young Robert Redford look-alike finding a way to find the funny.
Then we started using kids in openings. And interviewing kids afterwards. And bringing kids into the studio (by studio, I mean a small closet in Tampa that makes the Hanoi Hilton look like Paris Hilton).
And people watched, and they liked.
The teams, the players, students watched, and they liked.
Our bosses watched, and they liked.
They made us an offer we couldn't refuse: Do the show again, and we'll let you keep working here.
Last year in Pasco County alone, we did parts of various shows from Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Pasco, Ridgewood, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills.
We'll be back.
Actually, I guess you could say we already are. This morning's show, which you will go watch right after you finish reading this, will feature our opening from Wiregrass Ranch, as well as video highlights from Pasco and Land O'Lakes and other games in Tampa Bay.
Trust us, there will be more fun and frivolity in Season 2.
You can go watch now.
John C. Cotey is the star of Friday Night Rewind and can be reached at [email protected]
(Editor's note: John is just one small, teensy tiny part of the show, and really, to be honest, a little overrated. Personally, we like Joey much more.)