SportsTown: Tuscaloosa to be featured on new seriesBy Ellen Johnson | 01/21/2016 8:53am
A new web TV series featuring America's best sports towns will feature Tuscaloosa in the first episode. CW | Layton Dudley
“SportsTown” is an arising web TV series focusing on America’s best and greatest sports towns, and the first episode features Tuscaloosa. The show seeks to show not only the sports culture in these towns, but everything else the towns have to offer as well.
Rudy Mezzy, the host of “SportsTown” and also one of its producers, has worked to bring the show to television since the idea was first developed in 2013.
“We all had experiences with college towns and sports towns, and a lot of people only know about these towns because of the sports that exist inside them,” Mezzy said. “We thought there was more to do in these towns.”
While each of these towns has a heavy focus on sports, each also has a thriving community and plenty of activities besides sports.
“Communities exist inside [these towns],” Mezzy said. “They’re passionate about sports, and everything is kind of run like that. People come to sit and watch a game, and that’s not a waste of time, but there’s more to do.”
The show’s creators found everything they were looking for in a sports town in Tuscaloosa. A passion for football and a lively community rich in tradition helped to provide a backdrop for the first episode of “SportsTown.”
“We got lucky and found what we were seeking,” Mezzy said. “These people all have their own lives and their own problems, but this football and this culture and this school is something people rally around. It is something that can unite everyone.”
Rob Czyzewicz, executive producer and scriptwriter for the series, has also been developing the show for the past few years.
“Tuscaloosa was a no-brainer,” Czyzewicz said. “In the North, we may not value football as much as you do down there, but we know it’s a religion, and that’s something we just really wanted to experience in person.”
The weekend of filming in Tuscaloosa took place during the spring practice game, more popularly known as A-Day. While it’s a mock game played off-season, that doesn’t stop fans from turning out, proving just how much dedication Tuscaloosa has for the Crimson Tide.
“We were there for about four days for a spring game, and you all turn out more for a spring game than most do for a regular season game,” Czyzewicz said.
Football season or not, it is apparent that the sport is on people’s mind all year round.
“You see the ‘A’ everywhere,” Czyzewicz said. “Everyone is wearing a T-shirt and got a hat on, and everyone is thinking about football at any time of the day.”
The creators of “SportsTown” have started an IndieGoGo campaign in the hopes that they will be able to make more episodes in more sports towns around the country.
“It’s a labor of love, and we would love for people to get involved in telling us why their town is the best town,” Czyzewicz said.