Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Kind Word

Calling hockey off a monitor in the Local Live Stamford studio (Photo courtesy Local Live Instagram)
The preparation is fully underway for the 2018-19 high school sports season.

In truth, my broadcasting year essentially begins right around Labor Day. Primarily, it stretches to sometimes around Memorial Day to late June, and then anything after this is a nice bonus.

Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, and Little League Baseball (and the Hudson Valley Renegades) are among those that extend into this bonus time.

I'm burying the lede here.

In the midst of prepping, here's what I know: I'll (hopefully) have a busy year with Greenwich High (especially football and quite likely hockey, and maybe even -- gasp! -- water polo!). I'll also do a lot again with Brunswick (baseball, football, basketball, soccer, ice hockey...etc...).

There are several other schools in play, with a heavy dose of Local Live (I'm chomping at the bit to tell you more).

Anyway, over the past few years, while dodging arrows, I found myself having occasional "crisis of confidence," in which I thought I was, basically, a hack.

Certainly there are negative critics of me, and sometimes deservedly so. Opinions are certainly justified, and I absorb all of it.

I've also developed a cynical eye towards email, text, social media, the mailbox, and so on.

But I'm always hopeful for good things. Some I can't tell you.

Some I can.

I texted Nelson Santos, the founder and CEO of Local Live whom I've been working somewhat closely with for over a year now, mostly on Brunswick athletics. Along the way, Nelson asked me to do a few other things, such as host a play-by-play web conference, and serve as the lead announcer for the Legacy Global Sports 2018 World Selects Invitational Semifinals and Championship.

Truth by known, I was (as usual) hard on myself, especially as I missed a goal scoring at one point. I thought for sure I'd never do this event again.

In fact, I was basically the fill-in for those who were supposed to call the games originally. Plus I was calling the games off a monitor from the Local Live studios in Stamford (which I had already done prior to that). In fact, that's me doing so in the picture at the top of this post.

In the end, Anthony Agostinelli became a hero with a goal in overtime.

Check this out on Chirbit

The goal (without my call) hit SportsCenter as their number one Play of the Day. No question, it was really cool.

When I had lunch with Nelson a few weeks ago, he said he had heard nothing negative and said we'd revisit it for 2019.

I'd say I'm safe. He texted me earlier today: "They want you for next year. (They) said your call was the best they ever had."

So I've got that going for me...which is nice.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Traveling Details

I miss Holiday Inn's "Great Sign"
For the first time since April, 2017, I'm getting ready to hit the road.

This could lead to a full breakdown of the breakdown that has been life since then, but we will ignore that for now.

Despite assertions that I "do whatever I want," I can assure you I truly don't.

Like traveling. I truly love to travel. Driving, of course, being my favorite. People think I'm nuts when I say I'll jump on a bus for a road game, or drive to some far-off place to call a game, only to have to drive back home.

But I love it.

When I plan the trip, I obsess.

Such it is that we'll be hitting the road soon to go to North Carolina to officially welcome Kelly into the family. Kelly and my niece Laura will marry in early September just outside of Chapel Hill.

There's an irony to this, by the way. Kelly works for NC State, and you don't dare even mention the University of North Carolina without him glaring. If you don't know, UNC is located in...where?...Chapel Hill.

We'll be staying in Durham that night, home of "The DOOKIES." (Duke University, for those who don't know).

So as this trip has come together, I have worked to figure out our game plan. What day do we leave? What route will I use going south? North?

Where are we going to stay (besides Durham)?

My niece Kristy is going to host us for the first two nights when we get there, but then we (me, mom, Sean) are getting displaced for a party two nights before the wedding*.

*I have another name for the party. Just saying.

So I began to agonize. Did I mention we need to stay within striking distance of Fayetteville because my mom has to have dialysis treatment at a to-be-determined time on Saturday?

So I dug around.



IHG (Holiday Inn)...

I went through Trip Advisor. Trivago. Kayak. Even Airbnb (and I was really tempted).

I looked at every scenario.

Looks nice...good price...decent size room...remember, we have Sean...need at least two queen beds, if not a sleeper sofa.

Price, of course, matters. But so does a pool. And it's got be clean. Sort of common sense. Free breakfast is nice but not necessary (good lord, there are TEN Waffle Houses around Fayetteville!).

I tried to tell myself it's. Just. One. Night. I argued with myself to just live for once and get something nice.

I had decided. Towneplace Suites by Marriott. It looked like it had everything we needed. It is on Skibo Road, which is a main thoroughfare with lots of commerce for a Friday night. We could grab dinner at Golden Corral (my god, Sean loves that stuff) then walk around 2nd & Charles. Then jump in the pool and call it a night. Perfect.

I had waited too long.

Soon, the Fairfield Inn that I looked at had jumped in price to where I was potentially dropping $150.

The agony continued. Kristy, finally, rescued me with a quick word and an "Uncle. You're staying at the Comfort Inn."

She booked it.

We can almost walk to Waffle House from it.

So I skip the New Jersey Turnpike and the tolls? Avoid DC totally? Go out through Pennsylvania and pick up 95 near Fredericksburg...

I do love it. Promise.

* This, incidentally, will serve (for now) as our anniversary post. Shockingly, I've kept this address of the "Information Superhighway" (remember that?) for 12 years. Here's post number one, from August 17, 2006.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Master of Ceremonies For Hire

Yours truly, hosting the 1997 PM-Kraft Softball Dinner
I received an email out of the blue yesterday.

A nice burst in the middle of an upside-down summer.

It was from Rebecca Comizio, mother of Tysen, who is a bruising back and receiver for the Greenwich High School football team.

In short, Rebecca (who started by calling me "Mr. Adams." Not sure who that guy is) asked me to be the master of ceremonies for the annual football banquet in December.

I have to admit, I was stunned and deeply honored. I'm beginning my 17th year as lead broadcaster for Cardinals football on WGCH (as well as via the Greenwich Athletic Foundation and Local Live). Overall, including games that I called for HAN Network, as well as serving as a sideline reporter for a game in 1999, this will be my 20th year of GHS football in one form or another.

I've attended a bunch of GHS banquets over the years, and often thought how cool it would be to host the football one. So when the offer showed up today, I was truly thrilled.

Public speaking -- not just reading book reports in class -- sort of began for me in 1981, when our sixth grade teacher at Austin Road Elementary School made us stand at the lectern. I spoke a few times when I ran for class president (we changed it every month). Yes, I did actually win. I think I actually won a couple of times.

Anyway, that February, my parents took me to Florida to visit my grandparents. Having been pulled out of school for a few days, Mr. Levy (now Dr. Max Levy) gave me one assignment: take copious notes on the trip, and deliver a speech about it upon returning to Mahopac.

So I did. I spoke of Disney World and Kennedy Space Center and swimming at the hotel and so on. Was it the Gettysburg Address? No.

It was a start.

It led to public speaking in junior high, where I dazzled my fellow students with - what else -- the history of the New York Yankees; into college, and through a decade as the host of the annual softball dinners (starting out as Philip Morris-Kraft and ending as Altria, after I had long left the company).

There were other times that I was called on to be "the voice" or "the host," and I always enjoyed the experience.

In recent times, I've done this thing where I've called 1100 sporting events and hosted countless talk shows and news casts and everything else. You might have heard about it -- most of it on some radio station called WGCH.

Oh and there's Local Live. You'll be hearing a lot more about them.

Let's not forget our friends at Brunswick School.

Lastly, I've recently become the emcee of Hunt Scanlon's amazing conferences in New York City. I'll be the host of their next event in October. I just keep the day moving, and I (mostly) stick to the script. I'm glad Chris Hunt, Scott Scanlon, and their great crew allow me to be the "voice" of their events.

So yeah. I guess talk a lot. Yikes.

Which leads me back to this December, when I'll step to the mic to help wrap up the 2018 football season.

I'm grateful to head coach John Marinelli, his assistants, and the players for this honor, as well as to the captains and their parents:

2018 Varsity Captains Parents
​Metije Bici (Mozi #42)
Rich & Rebecca Comizio (Tysen #40)
Marc & Maureen Ducret (Charlie #7)
Tom & Lauren Feda (Jack #8)
JP & Sarah Muir (Gavin #12)

I'm confident football fans are going to love this team.

Hopefully I'll be on the call of Greenwich/Brunswick scrimmage, leading us to September 8 for game number one, as Marce Petroccio and the Trumbull Eagles come to Cardinal Stadium.

As tradition dictates, I'm always nervous before that first broadcast. I'll be wound up that day for sure. Then the theme music will rise in my headset, I'll take a deep breath, and start talking.

Just as I have on WGCH since 1997.

I'm confident Chris Erway will stand beside me for the broadcasts again (we're still finalizing that).

The pregame show is at 3:50 on September 8. All games will be heard on WGCH (1490 am) and (anywhere).

See you then.