Wow! The time has flown by. It’s hard to believe its been three years since I started blogging about Guelph Gryphon football. 530 posts later … I wonder what I used to do with all the spare time I must have had.
There was a time in the first year when I wondered if I really wanted to keep it up. But I have moved beyond that. It has become second nature for me. Essentially it is a hobby. I enjoy it and I don’t plan on stopping. There are lots of less productive things I could do with my spare time. I do feel that blogging about a CIS football team is doing something productive. I really look at what I do as something that contributes to CIS football as a whole and not just the Guelph Gryphons.
When I read the CIS’s recently released University Sport Strategic Plan 2013-2018 I see some good things. And I see what I am trying to do fitting in with the overall goals of the new CIS leadership. For example, Our Strategies: We elevate the quality of our competitions [page 15]
Attendance and social media We have significantly increased attendance at our events, as well our visibility in both traditional and social media platforms. [by 2018]
That “goal” almost mirrors my original motivations and fits with my assumptions. CIS sports in general, and CIS football specifically, is an undervalued commodity. Not enough people watch it. There isn’t enough coverage of it. That isn’t the fault of the Canadian public or Canadian sports fans. Canadian universities have not done enough to market their sports to expect higher levels of attendance or media interest. For the first time in a long time I went back and read About GF Blog. Let me highlight three statements:
- This blog is about one bystander trying to share his passion, insights and opinions on University of Guelph football.
- I am sure that there are others like myself who would like more information about what is happening in the Gryphon football program.
- I hope that this blog will fill a void for Gryphon fans and others who enjoy OUA & CIS football.
Essentially, I wanted to know more about what was happening. I wanted to share what I learned. I believed (hoped at least) that that knowledge would feed a passion for University of Guelph football. More passion puts more butts in the seats, more eyeballs on TV broadcasts, more donation $ into the program.
I’ve had lots of feedback from people that convinces me I am on the right track. For example, a while back one former Gryphon player told me that as a result of reading the blog he knows more about what is going on than at any time since he graduated, which I believe was 1997. I’ve also had former McMaster and Laurier football players who read the blog tell me they know more about what is happening in Guelph than at their own schools. There have been lots of thank you’s.
I do owe much of the success to cooperation and support from others. Stu Lang and his coaches while they may have been a little “concerned” at the beginning, overall have not made my job difficult. While they may not have answered all my email enquiries, they have encouraged me. Gryphon players and recruits have been very professional and almost to a man have always been helpful. Football alumni from the Mooney era right up to recent grads have been very helpful in “educating” me. Many have helped me to fill the gaps in my historical knowledge of the program.
Parents have been great, letting me know when I’ve misspelled a name or gotten another detail wrong. Probably more appreciation has come from parents than any other group. That gets back to my original purpose – providing information – because as a parent I know how difficult it can be to get your teenage son to tell you as much as you would like to know. 🙂
Getting back to the CIS Strategic Plan, I really am hopeful that under the leadership of new CEO Pierre Lafontaine university sport in this country will make considerable headway by 2018. I fully believe that they are on the right track with their Marketing, Communications & Promotional Strategies. The major hurdle will be getting buy-in from the member universities across the country, both at the university administration level and from each school’s athletic department.
Anyways, I don’t want to stray too far from my original discussion – the 3rd anniversary of this blog. It’s tied together in my mind because I see what I am doing as one small part of this marketing, communications and promotions strategy. I’m just adding my voice to the efforts of others in the Gryphon football program and the Department of Athletics to try and grow this thing.
My blog may still be unique within the OUA but Guelph has also been the leader in using social media to get the message out. The credit there goes mostly to Bill Brown, but also to Doug Pflug and Stu Lang. Check out instagram.com/gryphonfootball for some great short videos and “posterized” photos. If you use Facebook, “LIKE” the University of Guelph – Gryphon Football page. If you use Twitter follow https://twitter.com/GryphonFootball and https://twitter.com/GryphonsLair.
As much as I appreciate all the gratitude and support I’ve received, I love the fact that I also have a few critics.
A couple of them are anonymous posters on the ACG forum who do nothing but criticize, name-call, attack, trivialize and distort. Critics, in my opinion, are further proof I’m on the right track. The primary motivation of the critics seems to be jealousy.
Guelph has become a leader among OUA football programs in many ways – this blog, Guelph’s social media efforts, our improved facilities, our coaching staff, our recruiting classes, et cetera. If each OUA football program had a fan blog, for example, there would be eleven blogs to criticize. Right now “haters” can focus their criticism. But ultimately, the critics serve as motivation to keep me writing.
Going forward, I want not only to keep the blog going but to improve it. My son Jordan will be helping me (teaching me) to do video editing. That should mean more breakdown of plays and an increased level of explaining what is happening on the field. Justin Dunk’s Play by Play breakdowns on Sportsnet.ca are a perfect example of what I would like to do. As I’ve said before I would love to hear from anyone who would like to contribute, regularly or occasionally, to the blog.