You cover a team long enough, and you wind up hearing the same stories over. And over. And over.
Ralph Friedgen has his yarns, and gosh darn it he’ll spin them every chance he gets. As a reporter, you just hope to avoid a string of them on the same day; if it happens, well, you get to see the big fella’s joy at telling a tale but not much else. It’s basically a “best of” compilation.
But every now and then, you hear a “new” old story. Maybe you weren’t around the last time it was told. Maybe Friedgen just doesn’t dust it off as much.
But damn if it isn’t a good story.
And that leads into the unmitigated highlight of the day in College Park – naturally, with a Virginia Tech tie-in, in this case longtime Friedgen friend and Hokies coach Frank Beamer.
This is also the point where it’s smart to segue from blogger or beat writer to oral historian and let Ralph take over from here:
“I was getting my hip replaced during the ACC meetings, and I caught some infection. I was in bad shape. I looked at my vital signs, and my blood pressure was like 70 over 40. I didn’t know if I was going to cash out or not.
“I got a call in my room and it was Frank and he was wanting to know what I could do for him to help him get in the ACC. I told my wife to tell him ‘I’m dealing with other issues right now besides helping you get in the ACC.’ I think he got upset over that but I don’t know if he realized what I was going through. Obviously he didn’t need my help.”