Sunday, September 20, 2015

Opening Night of FCIAC Football

Lancaster Field at Tiger Hollow, Ridgefield (RA photo)
The HAN Network is four broadcasts into the high school season. We called football games at Yorktown and Notre Dame (Fairfield), as well as soccer(!) matches (correct lingo) at Brien McMahon and Greenwich.

Those felt like the warmup acts, and I mean no disrespect with that statement.

Oh, let's spend a moment on soccer (aka futbol). I know how loyal fans are of the "Beautiful Game." I also know how they feel about their broadcasters (the Gus Johnson disaster, anyone?). I'm no Ian Darke, or Kenn Tomasch, or any other respected soccer voice that I admire. For now, I'm a narrator, as I respect the passion for the sport and don't want to infringe on it. The last thing I want to do is insult fans. I'm content to guide the broadcast along as best as I can, with the analyst (both Dave Stewart and Tim Murphy were excellent, as Mike Suppe will also be) explaining the game. This will also be the style for field hockey.

Anyway, I'm babbling. Back to the point.

Friday night was the fifth broadcast of the fall season, and it was not only time for football, but it was time for FCIAC football.

To me, it was really opening night. As such, despite the addition of a whole new level of production, it was time for the emotions.

Yes. Those emotions.

You see, now in some cosmic way, I'm"voice" of the FCIAC. Or the face. Or whatever. Football has always been the opening of my year. These emotions that I speak of normally hit me before the first Greenwich game of the year.

It's a combination of nerves, fear, and pride, coupled with a certain amount of doubt.

Things felt OK as we got close to opening the extended pregame show (FCIAC Tailgate and FCIAC Gameday). Yet once things shut down on those, I texted a friend the following: "I'm getting nervous."

The response, naturally, was of support and empowerment. Still, I stepped away to get my thoughts together and get ready. At that point, my emotions were that of tremendous pride and excitement. It was a good nervousness.

Many hours earlier, I had texted Chris Erway, my "A-Team" broadcast partner a simple message: "FOOTBALL FRIDAY!" Clearly we were both ready, but that was also some 10 hours before kickoff.

Now, in the lobby of Lancaster Field at Tiger Hollow, I gathered myself.

The lights were lit in our "broadcast booth" (we used our tent in the crowd, and it looked great), and Chris and I did our live opening. We high-fived each other as we went to the commercial for the National Anthem.


Fortunately, nobody could see me. I paused. I thought of family, friends (past and present). I thought of those that I wished were able to watch. I thought of those that I wished were at the game.

That moment, during the anthem, is very important to me. It's my last breath. It's my warmup music.

I felt sad. I felt proud. I felt pressure. I felt that I. Was. Exactly. Where. I. Belonged.

It was time to get to work.

The game wasn't great. No, nothing is ever perfect, but it was an excellent broadcast, with the outstanding analysis of my friend, and the merely OK that is me.

So we're off and running. Down to business.


Game Broadcast

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