Monday, December 10, 2012

Back to Hoops

This is a basketball.
It is hard to believe that it's been almost three years since I last called a basketball game.  It was a doubleheader to end the regular season for Mount Saint Mary College on Hudson Valley Talk Radio, called by Chris Kaelin and I.

I shook the rust off last Saturday.

Tom Prizeman, a junior at Pleasantville High School (in Pleasantville, NY - not home to Reese Witherspoon) is working hard at becoming a sports broadcaster.  I first met him a few years ago when Ryan DeMaria and I were doing the national edition of "The Press Box."  He was eager and confident, to be sure, and definitely had the drive to make it.  He has grown since then, becoming the "voice" of the Panthers in various sports for their local TV broadcasts.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to broadcast a national youth football tournament.  The uncertainty of the Greenwich Cardinals' playoff run made me feel like I would be holding the tournament organizer up*, and I didn't feel that was professional.  So I turned it open to my friends on the discussion boards at STAA.  Andy Towne was the first one to get in touch, and he got the position.

* Of course, we know now that Greenwich lost to Xavier, and I could have broadcast the tournament.  Instead - and hardly a consolation prize - I was offered the chance to be the public address announcer for a basketball tournament at Monroe College.  The college was willing to wait to see if my schedule opened.

In the process of all of this, I thought of Tom.  It would have been a good situation for him.  But Andy got to me first.  Tom reached out to me not long after.  The byproduct of this was that it opened up a dialogue between Tom and I.  Before long, I found out that Tom would be calling basketball this past weekend, and that I was welcome to join him.

Sean and I jumped in the car and drove to Rye High School (a place I'm familiar with) and joined Tom for the call of the Panthers and the Garnets.  My contribution to the event, besides serving as a mentor, was bringing some of my equipment (as old as it is!) to step the production value up just a notch.

Tom had not called basketball yet, so I took the first half and a brief stretch into the second half when I noticed that both Tom and I were doing play-by-play.  During a time out, we talked it over and decided that Tom should drive the bus from there.  He was fine, and my color was decent (I've never been a great color commentator, in my opinion), though I was prescient in the thought that the Panthers' emotional play might be their undoing, and indeed a technical foul late in the fourth quarter was the turning point of the game.  Rye would go onto the victory.

As for my play-by-play, Tom was kind in his praise of my work, but sheesh, I'm better than that.  I know - I only saw the roster minutes before we started, but that's my thing: always be my toughest critic.  I liked my energy, and most of my attention to detail, but the names weren't as sharp as I wanted.  Oh well, it's not initially like riding a bicycle.

Anyway, I've been asked to do more, and I just might.  I'm going to check into the schedule and see what fits.  It would be nice to get back to doing hoops (and hockey).

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