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BEHIND THE MIC:
An “I” in Team
This is Blog #440 and I am no longer counting. This is my final Blog. I cannot believe that 8 ½ years ago some marketing “genius” (Kim, you know who you are) said that I should write a blog. I’m not sure I knew exactly what a blog was, but I agreed. It’s been 8 ½ years of doing them weekly (or, some would say – weakly). Joanne had the task of reading them all to check my grammar, spelling, and material. I feel for her, not because I made many mistakes, but because she HAD TO READ THEM ALL.
So here are some final reflective thoughts (please forgive all the “I”’s) on this journey:
I have been a paperboy, a factory welder, a rent collector, a house painter, a mail sorter, a lithographic stripper (it’s not what you think), a playground supervisor, a summer basketball supervisor, a chief negotiator, a teacher, a sports director, and a sports broadcaster. Lest you think I could not hold onto a job, I enjoyed them all and left all of them voluntarily.
I have worked for at least 25 bosses. I respected and liked most of them, but I did not care for all of them, but I will assume each one taught me something about responsibility and work ethic. I am ending my career working for the best one (Sanford, you know who you are).
I “guesstimate” that I taught @5,800 classes to my high school English students. I still remember the really good students and the really not-so-good ones. I still get a bit nervous when one of them runs up to me and says, “Do you remember who I am?” I hope they remember me because I taught them some valuable life lessons.
I have broadcast over 5,000 shows. I have the paperwork to prove it and, so far, I am having difficulty parting with it (anyone interested in box scores?).
I have done play-by-play for football, basketball, baseball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, tennis, ice hockey, boxing, wrestling, Celtic competitions, auto racing, and truck racing (I’m sure I am forgetting something). I didn’t always know what I was talking about, but I tried not to distract from the efforts exhibited by the athletes.
I have hosted talk shows, presidential inaugurations (three at Lafayette), the Dream Come True Telethon, and I have interviewed Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, the world’s fattest woman (her description, not mine), the world’s ugliest man (his description, not mine), the world’s youngest snake charmer, 4H Club goat winners, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Liza Minnelli, Tony Orlando and Dawn, etc., etc.
I have eaten over 8,000 hot dogs – 2 at almost every game I have done. Throw some pizza or cheeseburgers in there and you come to the conclusion that my diet has suffered over the years. However, I have come to realize that I just love refreshment stands at the various stadiums and gyms. In case you are wondering, my cholesterol is pretty good.
I always needed the cooperation of coaches, athletic directors, District personnel, officials, statisticians, and student-athletes to help me prepare for all of these events. Their input to any broadcast was invaluable. The Covid year made me appreciate those relationships even more. I didn’t see them and I missed the personal face-to-face contact and conversation.
I, more than anyone, realize there is no “I” in “team”. This journey has been a real team effort. Directors, engineers, camera, graphics, and audio people are all behind the scenes putting together the tapestry of a broadcast. They are so dedicated and so talented. They are my lifelong friends and I thank them for the many years we have spent together. You made me look good and I hope I returned the favor.
I, finally, want to thank the viewers who have been so kind over the years to both praise and criticize our work. The criticism made us better and since, much of it was complaining that we did not do this or that game; it was almost a backhanded compliment. You wanted us to do more. I’ll accept that with a smile.
In conclusion, I have arrived at the point where I will no longer be doing high school sports and no longer writing a blog. Both were a labor of love – I will both miss it and, yet, will not. Lafayette football and basketball will keep me busy for awhile and I am so grateful that stopping “cold turkey” was not necessary.
To all who have guided me through this career journey, I say – Thank you, thank you, thank you!