When I wrote about round one of my sportscasting confessions I shared that I had never actually listened to Vin Scully, that sportscasting has negatively affected my fanhood, that I’ve never taken a sportscasting class, and that I came very close to giving up. That was just the tip of the iceberg! With that in mind, here are a few more broadcasting business confessions of things that I’ve done, not done, don’t know, or wish I was better at.
It Took An Ex-Girlfriend To Teach Me The Value Of Conferences: I’ve written in the past that a turning point in my career was the first time I went to Salisbury, North Carolina for the National Sports Media Hall of Fame Weekend. It was where I attended my first seminar, STAA’s One Day Ticket To Sportscasting Success. Where I first started making friends with people in the industry outside of the Midwest. I also got my first reality check that I had a long way to go to realistically reach my goals. Without this reality check I probably wouldn’t have joined STAA and wouldn’t have gotten some of the great advice and feedback from Jon Chelesnik that has come to define much of my own sportscasting philosophy.
That entire series of dominoes wouldn’t have started falling if I didn’t go through a doomed and chaotic relationship with an ex-girlfriend. She was a newspaper reporter, and I was always shocked that, when we traveled, she would bump into a friend in the business everywhere we went. I asked her how she developed such an extensive network, and she said conferences and internships. At that point in my life, an internship was out of the question, but she motivated me to go to a conference, which led to me going to the NSMA Weekend/ ODT for the first time. There were many reasons why things never worked out with us, but without that nudge I likely would not have started building the network that would lead to me becoming a better broadcaster.
I Spent An Entire Game Mispronouncing The Name Of The School I Was Covering: In my very first game as a professional sportscaster, I was given the assignment of covering Boyer Valley High School in Dunlap, IA. Boyer Valley is named after the Boyer River that runs through the town. The same river empties into the Missouri River just outside of my home town of Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. Growing up, we called the point where the two rivers met the Boyer Chute, pronounced boy-err.
The Monday after the game I returned to the office and had numerous calls and emails complaining that I had pronounced Boyer Valley wrong, and that the correct pronunciation was boo-yer. One message went as far as to tell me that the reason behind the name was that French fur traders originally named the river. To this day I have no idea if that story is true, but I now ALWAYS have somebody from the school say the name out loud before I go on air.
In My Head, I Still Think I Can Play: In the past I’ve written that the reason I got into broadcasting was because after two years playing JV college basketball, it was clear I was never going to make varsity. Covering the games became my way of staying involved with the team and getting free rides to the games.
I’ve been out of college for ten years, and a part of me still wishes (and thinks) I could play. Every time I actually step on the floor for a pickup game, it’s immediately clear that this is not the case. I’ll run up and down the floor twice and instantly start sucking wind. I’ve gained 50 lbs. since college, never practice, and only play pickup a few times a year; I’m objectively bad at the game of basketball now. However, that irrational confidence required to be a successful athlete is still there inside of me and will probably never go away.
I Complain About Travel, But I Actually Like It: When I talk to friends and family, I will often complain about the long bus rides to small gyms in the middle of nowhere. And to a degree I mean it. I’m pretty tall at 6’4″, and seats on busses and planes are notoriously cramped. While I don’t always love the process of travelling, I almost always love the destination. Whether it’s a small town or major metro, I love to find unique local restaurants and breweries. I love talking to people and experiencing the unique vibe each community has to offer. I may not enjoy my time on the bus, but experiencing new places is one of my favorite aspects of the business.
Those are more of my sportscasting confessions. Maybe I’ll share a even more in the future. Until then, what are your sportscasting confessions? Please share your stories in the comments section.