Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tossing and Turning

I was never really one to lose sleep. With the obvious rare exception, I could always find a way to get a few hours in, and normally more. Plus I had the ability to sleep anywhere.

I could sleep on the floor of WGCH. Air mattresses. My car (too many times to count). Couches far and wide.

I'm not sleeping so well anymore.

Counting sheep? No, not my thing. Counting World Series rings? Well it doesn't hurt. Those 27 do take a while.

Seriously, there is a lot I ponder as I lay my head down. No need to explain, and I'm quite sure you get the idea.

So I toss. Turn. Flip. Flop. Occasionally, I put the TV on (or just simply stay awake). Sometimes -- not as often as I should -- I write. I'll grab my iPad and review the latest idiocy of our world, or just zone out with Angry Birds or The Simpson's Tapped Out.

Or I read. I should read my books (too many sitting on the shelf), but I'm such a periodical reader that the time gets away.

Life ain't easy. It's quite complicated, and as I stare 50 in the eye, I'm getting anxious for what's next.

Can we give peace a chance?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thankful for Sports

I was out of the loop on Friday, and took on calling a hockey game on Saturday.

These two events made me gloriously happy, because it meant that, overall, I missed the clusterbleep (copyright, RD Adams, 2017) known as the Inauguration.

I mean, we're going to debate attendance? Does everyone realize how stupid they look doing so?

Don't get me wrong, I saw and read stuff. I watched a few things.

Then I proceeded to bang my head.

As for the women's march on Saturday, well, huzzah. Women should be equal. Pay, opportunities, etc. Stop the nastiness. Show future generations that gender, race, orientation, etc don't matter.

I mean, honestly, this isn't that hard.
My broadcast perch is above the "N"
Thankfully I had sports.

Brunswick hosted The Hill School on Saturday afternoon, and I was pleased to call it for the folks at Bleachers. The Bruins knocked off the Rams/Blues (they go by both) 4-1.

I had plenty of time to prepare, digging through the rosters and notes on both schools -- most of which almost never gets used on a broadcast -- but I had plenty of nifty items on both teams, given that each school promoted it.

I was there roughly three hours before faceoff (ah yes, things you do when you have minimal life). So I set up and worked with the great Joe Early* at Brunswick to make sure we had power and everything to get up and running.

*Special shout out to his daughter Alice for stopping by and keeping me company.

It was a nice respite. Oh sure, I always have Twitter going, in case there is breaking news to report or scores, or anything else. So I can't totally close out the world, but I'm able to largely focus on doing play-by-play.

That's a good thing.

And it let to kindness.
So there's that.

Now comes Championship Sunday, as the Steelers try to make a run to Big Game LI. I picked the Patriots to win (and the Packers over the Falcons) but there is always hope.

I'll likely be back with Brunswick on Wednesday, when the Bruins host Portledge.
Visitors sitting on the "Press Row" table

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Snowy Saturday Basketball Special Part 2

Things to do in Middlebury when you're stuck.
I kept telling myself that I was in the safest place I could be.

I kept telling myself that I was prepared.

I had packed a sleeping bag. An air mattress. A change of clothes. Hats. Gloves.

I had food. Water.

It wasn't like I was in the middle of nowhere.

The point is, that if I went to Post to call the doubleheader, and the snow was as bad as they suggested, that due to my car, and I could just stay at the school.

That's what I did.

I was back at my car around 5 p.m. I cleaned it all off, warmed it up, and then went back into the gym to be indoors. It was clear though that security was getting ready to lock up.

So I went back to the car. I sat there and watched as Georgian Court got on the bus to leave.

A Mobil station with a Dunkin Donuts sat about a hundred yards in front of me. A Subway restaurant was also nearby.

We could do this. It wouldn't exactly be a game of Survivor.

I decided coffee would be great, so I walked to Dunkin Donuts. GCU's bus had moved down there to get food.

Sadly, the DD didn't have a seating area, so there would be no hanging out there. I went back to the car.

This would become the routine. Run the engine. Warm up. Pull out the sleeping bag, and cover up. Then I would turn off the car. Then I would get cold. Repeat.

I walked to a nearby shopping center/professional building. There was a restaurant there.

Which was closed. Of course.

In the meantime, the GCU bus was still at Subway. The line was too long. OK, what else to do?

I knew there was a Maggie McFly's nearby. Maybe a mile away. The road looked flat, but of course it was snow-covered. There's inherent danger in all of that, no?

Oh what the heck. You only live once.

Away I went.

Again, let's be very clear. This wasn't exactly traipsing through a blizzard.
No, I did not have a French Dip.
I ate. I drank. I watched the Texans beat the Raiders. I could have hung out there a lot longer but a) I got bored, and b) I didn't feel like dealing with people with beer muscles.

I walked back to the car. I event drifted into a light sleep at one point.

All along, I had people watching out for me, and texting me to make sure I was OK. There were those who wanted me to get a hotel room, I found that prohibitive due to a) price, and b) I'd have to drive there. (Yes, I did consider getting an Uber).
My parking spot was just to right, and above the Mobil.
After roughly five hours of all of this (and GCU's bus did finally head back towards New Jersey), the Post Hockey team bus appeared. That made me think it was time to try to drive. So I made my way out of the parking lot and turned right on Connecticut Route 63.

The road was still somewhere snow-covered, but definitely passable (for those confident in their vehicle). I tapped my brakes to make the left onto 84 West.


Remembering the car that I saw do a "360" in front of me as I walked to Maggie McFly's, I went back and found a new parking lot to sit in.

Moments later, a Middlebury police officer stopped by to check on me. He smiled as I said I was playing it safe, and wished me well.

Finally, two plows passed by on 63. Once going south, once going north. Blacktop began to appear.

I thought maybe this was the time, but I also spun my wheels as I attempted to turn back onto 63.

OK, now it was my chance to get on Interstate 84, and deal with the hills on my way to Danbury. The ramp wasn't in great shape, but it wasn't bad, and I proceeded onto the carriageway without incident. Soon, as I suspected I might, I was doing highway speed towards Southbury.

The road wasn't perfect. At times, I could feel the give of a small patch of ice, and there were plenty of snow-covered patches between Southbury and Newtown, and especially between Exits 10 and 9. I reached Danbury and felt good about things as I crossed into New York.

My next concern was the ramp from Interstate 84 to 684, but I rolled through that without incident. So was I home free? No. Not yet.

The right lane before Exit 8 -- Hardscrabble Road (my exit) -- was quite snowy, and I felt my trusty TARDIS (yes, that's what Sean and I call the car) begin to wander slightly. Not badly, mind you, but I definitely had to slow down significantly. The ramp wasn't in good shape, and my preparation for all of this had served me well.

Once onto the streets of Croton Falls (and eventually Carmel and Mahopac), I got home without incident.

It was quite the day. With more confidence in my car, it wouldn't have been so bad. But I have a story to tell, for sure.

That's why we write and broadcast. To tell stories.

AJ Szymanowski had told me to not be a hero when he decided to not go. In some ways, I suppose I am guilty of being one because of my dedication to calling the games and getting the job done. Conversely, not driving and being cautious to a fault was the best decision I could have made.

I slept well. In my own bed.

I'm grateful to everyone who made sure I would do so.

Snowy Saturday Basketball Special Part 1

I called my first college basketball game since 2010, and it was exciting to be back. As events go, it wasn't easy, but it was memorable.

The last time I called college hoops was when I was with Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. Those days were quite fun, and I miss them.

Anyway, through the excellent Kevin Halpenny, I connected with Kyle Crooks, the "voice" of Georgian Court University basketball. Kyle needed a fill-in for yesterday's GCU doubleheader at Post University, just outside of Waterbury, CT.

I was back in the college game.

I enlisted AJ Szymanowski and Shawn Sailer to join me for a day of hoops, food, and fun.

As the week progressed, there were rumblings of a storm churning into the area. At one point, we'd get a dusting. No big deal. Then we'd get a little more. Then it became a winter storm warning.

By yesterday morning, within minutes of each other, AJ and Shawn both said they would be staying home. Now it was up to me to decide if I would risk it.

Oh, have I mentioned my car, er, isn't great in snow?

Well, I've given it away. You know I went. I mean, you know me, right?

I was at Post within an hour. The snow was imminent, and began to fall just as I got out of the car. As setups go, well, Post isn't used to have broadcasts. I was nice and early (about 2.5 hours early, to be exact), but not everyone was on-site yet. Kyle said the team would be bringing me his broadcast equipment.

So first, Post had to figure out where to set me up. This took time, but they could have been more accommodating. They were wonderful, to be exact. I got a small table next to scorer's table. The gym, in fact, isn't very big to begin with.

GCU showed up around 11:45 (tip off was scheduled for 1 p.m.). An assistant coach introduced himself and said he'd get the equipment to me. I watched as a team member brought over what looked like a first aid kit.

I waited.

I bought a small bag of pretzels (starving, of course).

I waited some more.

I finally decided I would go get my equipment and set up. No big deal. The team has better things to do than worry about a substitute broadcaster. I had everything ready, with minor hiccups that wouldn't be noticeable to the listener. At first, I couldn't get the broadcast online, but there mifis and other options ready.

Seriously, Post was wonderful. If they ever need a broadcaster...

I began to get nervous as time was ticking down. First college hoops game in nearly seven years. First basketball broadcast in ten months. Flying solo (that doesn't really bother me). Strange place, names, teams I just met. Plus I needed to find Kyle's equipment, if only so I had his iPod to play music, commercials, etc.

I looked back at the assistant with about fifteen minutes to go before gametime.

"Where's the equipment?"

"What equipment?"

"The broadcast stuff."

He pointed. To what I thought was the first aid stuff.

I could have banged my head on the wall.

Again. Nobody knew the difference.

OK, from there it was just basketball. Don't try to reinvent the wheel.

I fumbled with getting used to Kyle's iPod as a way to play audio elements, but eventually pulled it together.

I know I messed up names. I know my call was off.

I know that AJ and Shawn and others listened, and their reviews were kind.

I know me. I'm better than that, but I'll take it.

The GCU women won by 10. Things didn't go so well for the men.

I hoped the broadcasts sounded passable at the very least as I packed up.

Hanging out at the gym wasn't an option.

I continued to watch the snow fall.

Sunday, January 01, 2017


Bobby Murcer, Billy Joel, Jim Spencer, Ron Guidry.
And here we are.

I'd like a do-over already, but no dice.

It's a day of football, hockey, and maybe a little relaxing.

Also a day of prepping for college basketball next Saturday, as AJ Szymanowski and I call a double-header between Georgian Court University and Post University in Waterbury, CT. I'm trying to get Shawn Sailer to round out our crew for the day.

We'll laugh. We'll talk hoops. Then we'll hopefully have dinner.

I'm excited.

And a little nervous.

Incidentally, is there anything more glorious than watching Mariah Carey...well...whatever it was that she did?

Just saying. Bad things happening to good people and all.

These NFL games today are sleepers. Pack and Lions tonight. I'll wait for that (so will the aforementioned Mssrs. Szymanowski and Sailer -- both Packers fans).

Oh, so why are Bobby Murcer, Billy Joel, Jim Spencer, and Bobby Murcer in a picture together? Apparently the story is that Joel was presented with a Golden Ticket Award at Madison Square Garden in 1980. That doesn't entirely explain why the three Yankees were on-hand. Paul Simon was also there, and Joel and Simon are Yankees fans, so maybe that explains it.

So why am I using it on this post? Well Bobby Murcer wore uniform number 17 as a rookie (1965-66). I Googled that, looking for a picture of Bobby Ray in his number 17 jersey and found this.

In the end, this was the best I could find (and you can barely see that's a 7).

Anyway. There's that.