Monday, January 28, 2013

Calling History

(Courtesy of The Journal News and  Photo by Frank Becerra, Jr)

I got to call another basketball game, as Pleasantville and Byram Hills locked up in a wonderful contest in Armonk.  Outside the snow was falling.  Inside, a packed gym watched as these two teams fought hard.  The Bobcats of Byram Hills eventually pulled away for a 10-point win (trust me, it was much closer than that), but early in the game, there was history on the line.

Jeff Lynch, a senior at Byram Hills, drained a three-pointer to enter the rarefied air of the 1000-point club.  The Journal News has the details of the game, written up by Josh Thompson.

Note, if you look at the picture (the one above) where Lynch is releasing his history-making shot, look in the background for Tom, Shane, CJ, and, yes, me.  I'm in the process of calling the moment. (Photo by Frank Becerra Jr)

Being a broadcaster with a shot at describing history can be dangerous.  It can be far too easy for one to go into screaming mode.  You hope that you make a call that can live in harmony with the moment.  You hope that your call can even be synonymous with it.  But at the same time, you don't want to overpower it.  Still, everyone knows "The Giants win the pennant" and "Do you believe in miracles?"  They are revered or reviled, depending on how you look at it (an example of this is "May Day").  Sports fans know "Matteau!"  We know "In the year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!", and recognize that it is the same as "I don't believe what I just saw!"  We can tell you "We'll see you tomorrow night" as well as we know "Behind the bag!  It gets through Buckner!"

We know our calls.  We can repeat them.  "Two and two to Harvey Kuenn", "Down goes Frazier!", "Deep to Left, Yastrzemski will not get's a home run!"

We know them.

The last thing, in my opinion, you ever want to do, is rehearse the call.  You want it to sound legit.  Spontaneous.  Excited.  I knew Lynch was eight points away when the night started.  We counted the points down.  So when Lynch got to 999 and had a breakaway chance, I was able to build up for it...

Then he missed.  Fail.

I've called state championship field goals.  No-hitters.  Other championships.  Other 1000-point moments (Tim Smallwood in Greenwich).  "Walk off" home runs.  Overtime hockey winners.  So it's not the first time I've been involved with that kind of beast.  The important thing is to stay in the moment, recognize the accomplishment, and move on.  Even if I ever become known for calling the achievement, guess what?  It wasn't about me.  I'm the reporter. 

So it was that Tom Prizeman and I called Jeff Lynch's 1000th point.

The only regret I have is that just maybe I should have let the crowd react more.  I'm OK with it otherwise.

Congratulations, Jeff.  Thanks for letting us be a part of it.

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