Sunday, September 13, 2009

Starting Year 10 at Greenwich

Rob Adams and Sean Kilkelly at Trinity Catholic, 2000.

I began calling football for WGCH's old sister station, WVIP (AM), in 1999. When then-Sports Director John Connelly stepped down in 2000, I was given the position. This meant that, starting that fall, I would become the play-by-play voice of the Greenwich High School Cardinals.

My first order of business was to pick an analyst. The person needed to be somebody that I was comfortable with. That person was Sean Kilkelly. Sean will be standing to my left on Wednesday night when the season kicks off. That should tell you all you need to know about our chemistry and friendship.

In 2000, the Cardinals were the defending state champions, and the job was very intimidating. Yet head coach Rich Albonizio put me at ease, and we have a very warm relationship, fostered over years of mutual trust. I recognize his job is tough, and that the players, while not immune to criticism, are high school kids. As such, we walk a fine line. I can say, in fact, that I have a great relationship with all of the coaches, with special nods to Kerry Gavin, TJ Ostruzka, and Wayne Gioffre - each of whom has accepted me as more than a media guy.

The Cardinals have given me thrills, chills, and spills. In that 2000 season, they played for both the FCIAC and state championships. They lost in each case, but it was a wild ride. They would win the conference title in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007 but would lose the state championship game in 2001, 2002, and 2004. To be honest, I thought I was a jinx. Finally, they brought it home in 2006, and again in 2007.

There have been some bad and strange moments as well. I'm not looking to relive those tonight.

We've seen great players, most notably John Sullivan, who moved onto Notre Dame and the Minnesota Vikings, where he's now snapping the ball to some guy named Brett Favre. But there have been others that I've been blessed to talk about. I can't possibly name them all, but allow me to mention a few. Pat Wilson (who might be the best athlete arguably nicest kid that I have covered), Peter Salvatore (I saw his brother Michael play also but missed Danny), Kevin and Steve Longo, Kevin Miculcy, Ricky Riscica and Jeff DeVico (Cuz!), Jonathan Myers, the Jones boys (Cori, Cameron, and Colin), their cousin Tielor Robinson, Frank Parelli, "Touchdown" Tom Brown, Sean Bannon, TJ Cameron, Jim Dunster, and the Bisanzo's (Mark and Chris). Plus, I broadcast games for Nick Angotto and Nick Fox, and both joined WGCH at one time or another. And to top it off, a raw kid named Matt Hamilton worked with us, went to Mizzou, and has returned to join Coach Al's staff as a sophomore coach.

On the air, besides Sean, the Nick's, and Matt, we've had Mark Rosen, Ian Handwerger, Tommy Dee, Tom Pollina, Tom Kane, Ricky Fritsch, Zach Fisher, Rob Crowley, Dave Rothenberg, Ron Warzoha, John Collins, Amanda Romaniello, Tim Parry, and Jason Intrieri. Dom Romeo, Bob Small, and Anthony Kalogrides helped add flavor from the studio.

I hope I didn't miss anybody. They've all played a role in helping to bring you Greenwich Cardinals football. I tend to get the glory but these folks all help me look good.

In 2009, we add Chris Kaelin and Chris Erway to the roster. We'll introduce the 2009 team officially soon.

I'm pleased to begin my tenth year calling Cardinals games on WGCH. It's been a great ride, and I didn't always know if I'd make it to ten years. Some have told me that I now have called Cardinals games longer than anyone else, and I honestly can't tell you if it's true. I just know that I'm ready to go. It's an honor that I don't take lightly.

We begin Wednsday night at 5:50. Coincidentally, year 10 begins with the same team that the first year did: Norwalk. I can guarantee I'll have the same butterflies.

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