Saturday, November 30, 2019

Hard Times

I tried to resolve the flat tire situation today.

In short, today wasn't the day, but it's OK. I went to BJ's and got a solid deal on four tires. It will be the first step of making me much safer on the road when it's resolved.

However, you can't just easily show up at BJ's and expect to get new tires.

"The last-minute types are the best," one of the salesmen said sarcastically.

When I apologized for being one of those types, he smiled.

"You have a flat! It's not like you planned it."

No, but I'm not used to making an appointment at a tire shop either.

So, as of now, I have a (very tentative) appointment for Monday at 9:30.

Please note we're expecting upwards of a foot of snow between now and late Monday night.

I'm hoping there's a window for me to get the tires done, given I have to be in Darien for the football playoff game on Tuesday night.

But all was not lost at BJ's. The guy who helped me said he'd switch my good tire on the passenger side rear (the one I had fixed in June) with the donut from Saturday night.

So, all in all, I drove home (it's maybe a 15-minute drive) feeling fair with the transaction.

As I waited for the tires to be switched, I stood near the area where the propane gas tanks get refilled.  An employee walked out and greeted me politely before I told him that I was waiting for my car.

Another customer walked over to get his tanks refilled. He was a generally happy soul, and quite chatty.

We passed the time by talking about the weather, which was both cold and beautiful, given the bright blue sky overhead. Somehow, the topic of working at BJ's came up. I think it had to do with the employee having to stand outside on this cold day and fill tanks for waiting customers.

Clearly, it doesn't sound like the greatest job in the world.

"It sucks," he said. "The managers are s***."

I can't imagine he'll be working there much longer, but his comment certainly gave us a good laugh.

Friday, November 29, 2019

A Flat Tire

Not mine. It has a tread. (
It was a quiet day around the Adams abode.

Sean did what Sean does when Sean is here.

I did my thing. For the first time in months, I was able to sort through junk and mail (not mutually exclusive, of course), and put some music on while I worked. It was a George Harrison type of day.

Then again, George also died on this day 18 years ago. Next month, it will be 39 years since John Lennon was murdered.

But, wait. I'm getting off track.

It was a day in the life.

Sean is a habitual orange juice drinker. No carbonated beverages. Like, ever.

Water? Sure. But orange juice all day.

And, of course, our personal orange grove was dry.

So it was off to Stop and Shop for OJ, kitty litter, plus my beloved lime seltzer, along with other odds and sods.

We were soon back in the car and back to the house. I dropped him off in the driveway so that we could unload the groceries. I backed away to my parking spot across the street.

Then the car showed me an alert: Low tire pressure.

Now, I'm fairly used to that. My front tires have for some time. That's about it. They're round. They barely have rubber, and definitely don't have much of a tread. There's a longer reason for this, but take my word for it. During the colder months, I have to put air in the tires every few days, especially on the passenger side.

So the alert didn't trouble me. I parked the car and shut it off. I got out and saw that my parallel parking job left me a little too much on the road, so I got back in adjusted the parking spot.

In that moment, it hit me. I had just put air in the tire yesterday, as I passed through Darien. My instinct told me to check the condition of the tire.

Uh oh. I could tell it was really low. Maybe I could run up the hill and put air in it. Without even telling Sean, I started driving away when I felt the clear rumble that this was a very bad idea.

The tire was flat. I was able to back up and roll into the garage.

I thought for sure I'd have the advantage of my father's trusty old Sears jack but, of course, it was nowhere to be found. So I used what I had in the car and had the spare donut on in roughly a half-hour.

I moved the car back across the street.

My second flat tire of 2019, after the June affair on the side of route 25, was done. I'm ready to work the pits at Indianapolis.

Now, with the oncoming bad weather is the question of how to get a new tire (or two or three or four). Plus more. More questions.

The funny thing is, I'm not mad. I'm not surprised this happened either. Maybe I'll be mad eventually, but there was no meltdown. Honestly, that might still happen. Thus is the day to day.

But, to be honest, I findl myself with a feeling of gratitude.

Let's think this through: it could have happened yesterday. Sure, the tire would have gotten changed but it would have mucked up Thanksgiving a bit.

Tonight? Could have been on the side of a Mahopac road. In fact, we passed one being loaded on a flatbed on a bad Baldwin Place Road curve.

Instead, even without my dad's old trusty jack, I still got the tire changed with minimal grief in the warmth of my own garage.

The point is it could have been much worse, and it wasn't.

So, in my current rational state, I find myself thankful.

It will all get sorted out.

Perspective, I suppose.

What do I always want to hear? It will all work out.

It will.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Greenwich/Staples Massacree

Staples Stadium at 7:15 in the morning
Things went according to plan today.

The snooze button won the battle this morning and I got up a hair later than expected but was out the door just after 6:00 a.m. The ride went smoothly with light traffic as the sun came up.

I went for a true Thanksgiving tradition on the ride: the 1967 classic song "Alice's Restaurant Massacree."

Clocking in at a little over 18 minutes, the Arlo Guthrie song serves as a war protest against the draft tinged with comedy and bizarre stories.

For the record, it took three playings of the song to get me from Mahopac to Westport.

Staples have a postage-stamp-size pressbox and, more often than not, there isn't room for me in there. Today was no exception. I tried to see this as a blessing instead of being angry.

Making the best of my frustration, I saddled up to be outside in the 35 MPH gusts that attacked Staples Stadium.

A maintenance worker from Westport Public Schools helped clean the leftover rain off the table that Chris Erway and I used and I got to work on setting up.

By 8 a.m., Chris and I hiked to the nearby middle school where Greenwich had a great tailgate set up. An egg/cheese/spicy sausage/home fries/bacon/chili sandwich later (and, perhaps, a bloody Mary), we returned to the booth.

In the meantime, it appeared that Local Live was doing a video webstream and we were being asked to add our call to it. I was happy to help set that up and grateful for Ben Talbott and Chris O'Shea to be on-site.

It all came together. I had internet from the WGCH hotspot and Staples guest wifi. What could go wrong?

That cell service and internet could suck, that's what.

It's purely unacceptable and embarrassing.

OK -- I can save this. I talked with Sean Kilkelly right before air time and told him we could just take the audio from Local Live and run it on WGCH! He and I would communicate cues via phone but we'd make it work!

Er...nope. The equipment was sufficient.

So after rebooting and reconnecting and watching my hair fall out, we caved in I called the station via cell phone. That's how we called the second half for the radio.

The Local Live broadcast is behind a password so I can't show you that (as of tonight).

I'll post the audio of the game, but I'm not sure you'll fully understand just how bad it was. Maybe you can hear my angst but I hope not. What I think is more obvious is that I tried to call the details but I was distracted by the myriad nonsense of trying to keep the internet signal to feed to the radio station.

It was infuriating.

I've fought so many different things over the years, and have even learned to calm down but this was just not up to anything I believe in.

I thought I'd need to call Office Obie and have 27 8x10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. But instead, I wound up on the Group W bench.

If you don't know "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" then that won't make sense.

I was pretty horrified and furious, though I'm pleased that the Local Live broadcast was OK.

I even had to edit three different files from Robcasting Radio to have a complete broadcast.

It was just that kind of day.

But, if I may, once again we find a way to take those lemons and crank out some lemonade. I've learned that not everyone has that skill set.

The broadcast happened and we survived. That doesn't mean I'm happy.

Anyway, Thanksgiving football allowed for some insanity. While Greenwich won easily, Cheshire and Southington played into overtime before Southington won. New Canaan shut Darien down and, after all of the mathematics, it appears that I'll be calling Greenwich/Darien on Tuesday night.

That's the thing about these broadcasts. You have to dust yourself and survive, or simply quit.

I'm not ready to do that.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Football

This scene will play out again tomorrow morning as I start the drive to Westport.
I began calling high school football in 1999.

That year, I called games in New York on WVIP radio. If you don't know New York football, generally speaking, there are no Thanksgiving football games.

The next year, I took over Greenwich football on WGCH, but the Thanksgiving game that year was played at Danbury on Wednesday before we cut the turkey.

That year, Sean Kilkelly and I worked in a glass-enclosed room (meaning no crowd noise) that also held in the bitter cold.

In 2001, the Cardinals met Danbury again on Thanksgiving, but this time the teams met for the FCIAC Championship, as well as the regular-season matchup. Steve Longo ran wild on the Hatters, being named MVP by Sean and I (who were given the responsibility of giving the award out).

The Danbury matchup would continue through 2004, including a 7-0 Greenwich win on a snowy field in the final game.

The next year, the Staples Wreckers became the Thanksgiving foe, and it has been that way ever since.

In the last 21 matchups between the two, Greenwich holds an 11-10 lead. Since the Thanksgiving rivalry began, the ledger sits at 8-6 in favor of the Wreckers.

The teams split the first four before Staples went on a four-game winning streak. The Cardinals won 27-7 in 2013 at Staples Stadium in what was the last GHS/SHS game I would call for a few years.

The Cardinals lost both of those games.

Coincidentally, when Chris Erway and I returned to WGCH in 2016, the Cardinals won, and they're now on a three-win streak.

The coaches have changed and so have the players. Each team has won FCIAC titles over the other. There's been crazy drama as well as blowouts.

Tomorrow it will be different, in that Staples is 2-7 this year while the Cardinals are 8-1, but there are reasons why games always get played.

You never know.

In the years we were away from Greenwich/Staples, Chris and I called two Darien/New Canaan matchups. Frankly, they were two of the best games I've ever been a part of.

The 2014 version brought Boyle Stadium to its knees with a dramatic overtime victory for the Blue Wave.

In 2015, HAN put the big game on video for the first time.

As always, I shot to the stadium extra early and tightened up the audio setup. But we quickly discovered we had a problem. A connection to the video setup had failed and the only backup we had was in our Shelton office.

No worries, I said. The broadcast would happen. It always does.

We got the part and made it on the air in time for kickoff.

I'm saddened that I don't have access to those games -- if only for the audio. The videos were eventually put behind a paywall from which they've never returned.

In any event, the Blue Wave once again snagged the victory in the final FCIAC championship game.

And so tomorrow, the alarm will go off at 5:00 a.m.

I'll get on the road a little after 6, making sure to have a small bite to eat, as we look to avoid the tailgate fiasco of '13. That was the year that there was no tailgate, thus sending Chris Kaelin to McDonald's for a sack of Egg McMuffins.

I'll be in Westport a little after 7:00 a.m., which may seem crazy to you, but I enjoy the peace of the quiet field as I go about finding a place to set up.

Staples has a small booth. While I've been in it a few times, it looks like Chris and I will be out in the elements again.

The equipment is ready. My notes are ready. I'm prepared. As always.

Various and sundry things may happen tomorrow. They always do.

At 9:50, we'll go on the air, and thus will begin my 19th consecutive Thanksgiving Day broadcast.

It's what the day has come to mean to me.

Join us tomorrow on 1490am, or even on Robcasting.

After that? Bring on the playoffs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

I Can't Wait

Kato, Where did you get a hand grenade?

I was going to tell the story of a near-battle between two media outlets ten years ago.

But, let's table that for a moment.

My mom had lunch with my cousin Lorraine today, who gave her a gift for me.

There's something still so great about seeing something in a printed newspaper. So, to see a story about me in the Poughkeepsie Journal was pretty cool.

I can imagine by now that you're fairly sick of hearing about it, and I get that.

But, honestly, I can't wait.

I've heard the rumblings about Major League Baseball contracting 42 teams, and have followed all of the coverage. Many have asked me for my thoughts, which are: it's just the start of the process and the Renegades, as of now, aren't one of the teams being proposed to be cut.

Most importantly, they'll very much be active and on the field in 2020. That's what I'm focusing on.

I think about the broadcasts every day. I think about the schedule and if the game times have been released yet.

I think about which guest broadcasters will be joining me.

I think about exactly how I'm going to get to the first game, in Aberdeen, on June 18. I also think about how Jon From RVA is planning on hanging out with me there.

Then I think about getting him (and whoever joins him) a credential

Then I think about what I'll say when I finally go on the air, but I can't script it.

But I also think about media day at Dutchess Stadium and meeting the players and the coaching staff. Then I think about learning what the pitchers have in their arsenal.

And learning the other teams. Aberdeen first, followed by Staten Island.

And then I think about how important it is to me to do a game on Staten Island, for Susan and Lucy and Annabelle and Kathy and her son and for The Godfather and Mrs. Godfather and Coach D and, basically, the whole borough.

I think about setting the booth up at Dutchess Stadium. Not to be a jerk, but it's actually sort of almost MY BOOTH. I realize I'll share it with a video cameraman and video production, but I have a level of ownership.

I think about theme music and breaks and if I want a legal ID, even though it's an internet-only broadcast.

I think about whether or not I'll fit in. I don't worry. I just think about it. But I want to know the whole organization. It's taken me far too long to get here and I want to hit the ground running.

I think about other ideas as well. Some have been tried but I'd like to take a stab.

I think about making Renegades broadcasts a thing. It's a great arm for the team and, essentially, is free advertising.

I think about representing the team. I'm a product of the Hudson Valley. I love this area. It's my home. I want to show it off and talk about it.

I think about that first pitch. That first hit. That first inning. That first game.

I think about how to handle rain delays and will I just go into talk show mode, and if we can do Doubleheader (and The Clubhouse) from the stadium and if other teams that play their games at Dutchess Stadium would like whatever talent I can offer them.

I think about it. All of it. And much more.

I really thought I'd settle into a rhythm of not giving it much thought.

My goal isn't to make you sick of the team or sick of hearing about this.

My goal is to excite you for this journey and to take you along for the ride.

As for the Anchorman-style brawl that almost happened?

Greenwich lost to Staples by two 10 years ago. Chris Kaelin was already on the field to get a postgame interview and grabbed Staples coach Marce Petroccio, who's also a friend.

TV wasn't happy with that development. They wanted Marce with them for their turkey carving or whatever made-for-TV thing they were doing.

A producer walked into our interview and took Marce away. I can still hear the producer saying "live TV" as they left, indicating our little ol' radio station was inferior.

I can still see (and hear) the "talent" from the other outlet trying to lecture Kato about "knowing his place." That makes my blood boil.

It was no secret I was furious. I screamed into their booth (we were stuck outside...naturally).

In truth, I liked some of the people on that TV crew. But there were a few people who had a tendency to throw their junk around.

Like the night at Trumbull, when they yelled at me (!) to turn the in-house music down.

"Whoa," I bellowed. "Two things: One -- I'm not the audio guy. Two -- don't talk to me like that."

When HAN started a few years later, I told each person on our crew to never -- literally, ever -- act like them.

Taking away a positive from the experience, I'll always be grateful for learning how I never wanted to behave.

Anyway, the first pitch of the 2020 Renegades season is in 204 days.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Game Called

Mr. Rice also coined that famous phrase.
I'm taking a cheap way out tonight.

I'm posting a poem, and it's not even mine.

Grantland Rice was the original Bard of Baseball, I suppose. Born in 1880, Rice attended Vanderbilt University where he lettered in football and was captain of the baseball team in 1901.

Rice worked at several newspapers before reaching the New York Tribune. There, he wrote the famed "Four Horsemen" piece regarding the Notre Dame/Army game at the Polo Grounds. His brilliant prose, published in the New York Herald Tribune on October 18, 1924, read:
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.
Rice would dabble briefly in early play-by-play announcing on the World Series from 1921 and 1922, but in truth, that wasn't his thing.

He also wrote poetry, including a passage he titled "Game Called." Rice had a first version published in 1910 by The Tennessean Company, and a latter version published after his death, in 1956, in The Fireside Book of Baseball.

But I'll run with his version from 1948, written as a eulogy for Babe Ruth. I don't know if it's particularly great poetry (I'm frankly not that smart) but I do think it paints a good picture. It ran in the New York Sun.

The work is copyright Grantland Rice, 1948.

Game Called by darkness — let the curtain fall.
No more remembered thunder sweeps the field.
No more the ancient echoes hear the call
To one who wore so well both sword and shield:
The Big Guy’s left us with the night to face
And there is no one who can take his place.

Game Called — and silence settles on the plain.
Where is the crash of ash against the sphere?
Where is the mighty music, the refrain
That once brought joy to every waiting ear?
The Big Guy’s left us lonely in the dark
Forever waiting for the flaming spark.

Game Called — what more is there for us to say?
How dull and drab the field looks to the eye
For one who ruled it in a golden day
Has waved his cap to bid us all good-bye.
The Big Guy’s gone — by land or sea or foam
May the Great Umpire call him “safe at home.”

Game called here also. At least until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Elsa and Anna

So now I know Sven, Olaf, Kristoff, Elsa, and Anna (Disney)

I hit you with reality last night. It wasn't pretty.

I feel like I owe something happier tonight.

Therefore, I won't provide a review of the ten minutes that I spent watching the American Music Awards tonight (aka, my latest reminder that I'm old and out of touch with pop music).

Further known as: imagine if these people just -- you know -- performed?

No. Let's focus on fun.

So, I saw Frozen II. It was important to a young lady named Isabella that I went, so I was there, along with Izzy's parents, sister, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Did I like the movie? No, that really doesn't matter even slightly. Izzy loved it. That's what matters.

I sat in a comfy recliner and watched a well-produced movie for 103 minutes that featured a song and video in the middle of it that was like the worst of the overwrought 80s love songs.

Seriously, it was like a parody. It made me laugh. It would make Peter Cetera laugh.

But I was enchanted knowing my great niece was so happy.

And that her baby sister kept sauntering over to me to pull her shirt up, exposing her belly, to get a reaction from me. Laughter ensued every time.

What mattered was precious time strengthening relationships, be it at the movies or eating pizza in Cheshire or back at their house.

I felt so comfortable that I did doze off on the couch only to have baby sister Gabby wake me up with a roundhouse punch to the gut.

Days like this can be a drag, especially when I want a peaceful day at home, but I never felt an ounce of that remorse today. Sure, I spent probably three hours (or more) in the car, but the day produced laughter and joy and pleasant conversation.

You'd think it wouldn't be that difficult, right?

Plus I got to watch the Steelers for a stretch in their victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

My only question is: Was Adele Dazeem in the movie?
Just, why, Travolta?

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Beating Back the Beast

The Beast from The Sandlot. This isn't what we're talking about.

Back on Feb 1, I spoke openly about some of my struggles in life. I've tried to be as open as possible about those struggles ever since, though that comes with self-doubt.

I tell myself nobody cares and that they're sick of reading about "my crap."

Mostly, I argue with myself about appearing to be self-loathing and whiny. Those who talk the most with me about it have encouraged me to continue.

I chatted with someone today who praised me for continuing to keep the discussion open.

So, OK. Let's talk.

It can hit at any time.

Not too long ago, I was in the midst of an enormously emotional week. If there's anything I've learned, it's that while we take care of others, we have to remember to take care of ourselves. It's easier said than done.

In this case, I thought I had it under control, but I didn't.

Friday morning came along and I worked up the courage to make a phone call about an ongoing situation. The stars weren't aligned and I was looking to delay things. So I made the call...and got told no dice. I had to go.

You may call it a pity party if you wish, and I wouldn't even say you're wrong. But when you battle the beast, it can be something small that will set the darkness in motion.

The molehill then becomes a mountain. A denial on a phone call turns into being unable to catch a break. The floodgates open.

And so, I broke.

My pain doesn't manifest in the most traditional ways, but one thing that does happen is I'll always get cleaned up, groomed if necessary, and get dressed. In this case, that all took place before the phone call.

After the phone call, everything began to explode.

"I'm done," I just kept muttering and texting.

I climbed back on my bed. That was the sign. That was the manifestation.

I planned to just stay there.

In the midst of this darkness, the snowball rolls into the belief that nobody will want to see me and that nobody should see me and that I'm not worth seeing and, screw it, nobody needs to hear me on the radio either.

There's a battle waging in my brain that is saying, essentially, "Eff it," while the other side is saying, "You're going to pull out of this. Or someone will help you."

Susan tried and, eventually, succeeded.

There's no formula to fixing it. What I need to believe, and need to be told, is that everything will be OK. Now, even that is dicey because if I can't believe that, then the beast wins.

I rallied. The day turned out fine. All was saved.

There's often darkness. Heck, I had a battle with the blues as I drove home Friday. Yes, my birthday. There's a difference between loneliness and being alone. I don't necessarily mind being alone. I like solo road trips when there's nobody suitable to ride along. I hate solo road trips when I know there's someone who would be a perfect sidekick.

Big difference.

It seems so trivial. Simple rejection made me spiral. It was more than that. This wasn't just sadness. This wasn't just the blues.

It was black. It was the mean reds.

That's when it gets scary.

I know people who don't talk. We have to talk. Don't just assume (as I often do) that nobody cares or that it's trivial. Keep talking. Keep the conversation going. It's not beneath you to open up.

I realize I have many blessings. Love and friends and family and a son and the Renegades and the games that I do and the respect that I often receive. I know. Believe me, I do.

But...there's always another side.

I'm sorry if I come off as whiny. I have many good days. Many great days. Lots of living to do. But the beast hangs around.

And we live to fight another day.

*I feel like an open wound writing this. Just felt I should offer that. These aren't easy posts to write.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The 51st Candle

Bern, baby, Bern!

I don't deserve the kindness that I received today.

I'm blessed to have so many people reach out to me.

There have been texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, tweets, and the kindness of people face-to-face -- strangers and friends.

I had two little ones reach me on Face Time and sing to me.

I had my entire North Carolina family send me their love also via Face Time.

Simply the best person made sure I smiled, laughed, and tried to wow me with surprises. Sadly, nobody could make it to the get-together.

Still, no regrets. No sadness.

Just gratitude.

I try to wish everyone a happy birthday on their Facebook page throughout the year, but often fail. Please know I think of you, and the fact that you would take the time to wish me well (or even think of me) is more than I can ask for.

There's no keeping score.

It's become a tradition to thank each of you personally, even if it's just a "thank you."

It's hardly enough. But I try.

I try never to set goals or get hung up on "resolutions." Still, I have dreams, and I have visions of what I'd like to see happen as I embark on my 52nd trip around the sun.

The Renegades position is one piece for sure. Personally and professionally, I want to see an improvement in my life but also be able to say that I'm being the best person I can be. I'm not sure I've succeeded at that one, but I'm always proud to say I don't consider myself too old to keep learning.

I'm afraid to get confident, so I will move cautiously. But it feels like things are going to happen.

I say this as I sit at home watching It's a Wonderful Life. The movie is a reminder that Jimmy Stewart is simply an American hero as much as he's a remarkable actor (seriously. See Vertigo and get back to me).

It's such a journey of highs, lows, frustration, triumph, tragedy and desperation.

Obviously, it's pure Frank Capra Americana, in that it's shamelessly idyllic.

I bring that up because I feel that way tonight. Most people have seen it, so I'm probably not giving away the ending, but perhaps you recall what Clarence the angel writes in the copy of Tom Sawyer he leaves for George Bailey.

"No man is a failure who has friends."

As I've aged, I've become much sappier and find myself telling friends and family that I love them.

No matter the struggles, it's nice to be reminded of the love I feel surrounded by.

Thank you. I love you all.

PS -- I was playing around with Snapchat filters this morning, and tried one that ages you -- younger and older. I saw the result of the older, and it astounded me.

That's me. But that's my father.


So begins year 52.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Finally Found a Home

I'm heading to the Greenwich Old Timer's Athletic Association banquet, where I'm scheduled to sit on the dais.

It's a huge honor, and one that I don't take lightly. It's a very cool thing.

While I was getting ready, I decided to take a spin an album I've listened to a few time, called Sports by Huey Lewis and the News.

If you listened to the record of cassette, side two track two featured a song called "Finally Found a Home." It's track six on the CD (or if you stream an album, and now I'm just taking too much time explaining this).

It used to make me so fed up
People always asking me
What will you be when you grow up
You're gonna need security...

Written by Bob Brown, Chris Hayes, Huey Lewis, and Mario Cipollina, it's the story of a person who has what they want, despite the societal "norms" of what they should do.

I think there are a lot of us who can appreciate that.

Spent a little time in school
Wishing I was somewhere else
Having fun and acting cool
I just want to be myself

I've worked in finance. Marketing. The "red bullseye." Marketing and got pressured to try sales.

And I know plenty of people who have done similar things before finding their true calling.

Look, I like marketing actually, and really appreciated finance and every other position. I can excel in those and even integrate a lot of that into other things, but it's broadcasting that I work in.

Sports. Broadcasting.

So, when I'm sitting on the dais at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich tonight at the annual Greenwich Old Timer's Athletic Association banquet, in a room that I still don't think I belong in, I can always remind myself that I've finally found a home.

It used to make me so fed up
People always asking me
What are you now that you've grown up
Exactly what I want to be

I belong talking about this. Even writing about this. I'm capable of doing a ton of things, and do them decently (at least, I hope so).

I've finally found a home.

On the air.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

It's the Little Things

Cindy Morgan as Lacey Underall in Caddyshack

While I'm hardly father of the year material, I've always tried to do what I can for my son.

Of course, he's 17 now, but that doesn't stop me from trying to give him unique experiences.

Last Christmas Eve, Sean and I created a new tradition in which we would have the other watch a movie we've never seen. I got to see Avengers: Infinity War, sitting through nearly 2.5 hours of action and adventure.

He got to see Caddyshack and we laughed like crazy for 98 glorious minutes.

At the time, I posted on social media what we were doing and tagged Cindy Morgan, who played Lacey Underall in Caddyshack.

"I'm going to post that we're doing this on social media," I told Sean. "I'm Facebook friends with someone in this movie. I guarantee she'll acknowledge it."

"You are," he asked? "Who?"

"Trust me. It won't be hard to figure out."

Sure enough, Cindy liked the post and Sean got a kick out of it.

Cindy Morgan has been on The Clubhouse several times over the years, and she returned to the show tonight, where I finally had the chance to tell her in person about it.

As always, she was gracious and charming and sent a hello to Sean personally. I texted Sean, who isn't known for being effusive.

"That's actually pretty cool," he texted back. Trust me, that's the equivalent of numerous exclamation points from my son.

Add this to the list of introducing him to Mariano Rivera and taking him behind the scenes at a lot of events over the years. The radio/broadcasting gig has been nice for him like that.

They're just nice things I can give to my son that makes him happy. Makes him feel  -- almost -- cool. It also makes me just a little bit OK, I guess.

Mark Jeffers, even my trusty co-host and the true brains behind The Clubhouse, patted me on the back as I was talking to Cindy. He knew that I found a unique way to connect to the interview.

It was meaningful, and a great reminder that there are people like Cindy Morgan who remain grounded and kind and down to Earth. She has, without fail, always been kind to our show, even when we have technical problems that embarrass me.

I'll always be grateful.

Now I have to come up for a movie for Christmas Eve 2019.

Here's the interview, as recorded from the site at Grand Prix NY in Mount Kisco.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

All in the Family

In the gritty, not-quite bright living color days of the 70s, there were certain realities of the Adams house.

At least, in terms of TV.

Among those realities, All in the Family was to be on the TV. That was not a point up for debate.

My father was Archie Bunker. No, not as severely, but he had his own recliner, and if he found you in it, you were quickly discharged.

But given our house was one in which everything was in play to mine for humor, the stories out of 704 Hauser Street in Queens rang true.

The simplicity of the show in the sets belied the amazing depth of the writing. In the early years, there was the Bunker house, an office or some other set piece, maybe a neighbor's house, and not much more. It was the four main characters with a collection of other players.

It dealt with race, religion, gender, and sex. Nothing was taboo, despite how Archie dealt with it.

I watched the sixth season premier tonight when Gloria announced she was pregnant.

No matter how happy Archie was, he cringed every time Gloria used that word.


"Oh, don't say that," Archie bellowed.

It was all addressed. Edith went through the change of life in painstaking detail. Another couple (played by Vincent Gardenia and Rue McClanahan) introduced the naive Bunkers to the idea of swinging. Yes. Really.

On the occasion of Edith Bunker's 50th birthday, a stranger appears at the house and attempts to rape her.

You want a gun control episode? Got it.
Abortion discussion? Yep.
Homophobia? You bet.
Women's lib? For sure!

And so on.

If you're not familiar with the show, please don't think it was a "Very Special Episode" every week. What All in the Family did was create howling laughter, even in intense moments. The show was very adept at balancing the serious with the comedic.

It was a master class of sitcom, filling in brilliantly with The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, and others. Indeed, its distant cousin on CBS in the 70s -- M*A*S*H -- was also watched religiously in the Adams household. M*A*S*H went into heavier territory as well in the middle of laughs before completely becoming a "dramedy" (ugh, that term) by its last few seasons.

Archie was another in a long line of loudmouths who entertained us, starting with The Great One's (Jackie Gleason) Ralph Kramden, rolling through Fred Flintstone and onto the Archie.

More than anything, the cast drove this show. There were excellent character actors who went on to become stars (Bea Arthur and Sherman Hemsley come to mind), but it was the simplicity of Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner that propelled this show, with each one of them eventually earning an Emmy for their performances.

O'Connor -- a noted Democrat -- played the iconic Archie with full-blown MAGA gusto in the time of Richard "E" Nixon (as Archie frequently said incorrectly). Reiner, it should be noted, didn't play against type and can be found on Twitter still railing, most notably against the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

But the two key players were Archie and Edith. Stapleton was magnificent, changing her voice to become the "Dingbat" but smarter than that Mrs. Bunker. She figured out how to be the ying to Archie's yang, and be the one person who Archie couldn't afford to screw up with.

There are so many moments to pick to show up (in case you've never seen it). For sure, Sammy Davis Jr's kiss on Archie's cheek might be one of the most uproarious laugh out loud moments of shock in television history.

But I immediately thought of this scene that, in one minute, brings all four characters into an explosion. Archie's ultimate insult to Mike Stivic will be shocking if you've never heard it, but I'm telling you, I cry laughing watching this every time. It's a brilliant moment of TV, building from tension into complete bombast.

Also, consider that All in the Family spawned a large number of spinoffs, beginning with Maude, which led to Good Times, followed by The Jeffersons, and several others that didn't find the success of the first three.

The show also brought an album of segments from the first season, in 1971. I still proudly own a copy of it that belonged to my father. It, too, is screamingly funny. I found it on YouTube.

I know the reviews of the live version of All in the Family (and The Jeffersons) last year were good, but that was sacred ground to me. I haven't watched it.

I'm not sure I ever will.

There are sadly still many Archie-like characters now, and the show remains important watching in 2019.

Long live the Bunkers and the Stivics.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Cat on a...

We inherited an adult cat named Chico a little over three years ago.

That is a story for another time.

I've had cats in my life basically my whole life, with Bandit (17 years) and Fred (11) living the longest.

Sean and I both like cats, but we're also fond of dogs. We're equal opportunity pet lovers.

Sean has a special relationship with Chico, and enjoys making picture creations on his phone of our beast of an animal. Think of it as a form of Photoshop.

He told me he had some quiet time in school when he decided to get creative.

Now, you need to know that Chico isn't the only name he's known as here. He also goes by Cheeks, Chunkies, Cheekies, Bubba, Gray, Nush (rhymes with "push") and the longer Nushiel (so named because Sean used to mush his stuffed animals when he was younger). He's also known as "Large."

And so he sent me this picture, with this caption: "You've heard of 'Elf on the Shelf.' Now get ready for..."

It took me a second -- literally.

Yes. That's "Large...on a Barge."

He cracks me up. They both do.

Note the smallest drop of milk below his mouth.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

I'm Sick of It Already

I don't want to be the Grinch. Really.

It's November 17th and I'm sick of Christmas already.

My general feeling is a year is over around November 1. I enjoy Halloween, mostly as an observer, plus the World Series is wrapping up.

After that? Sure, there's football and we'll get to hockey and basketball, but there's also the oncoming gloom of the holidays.

The holidays aren't the most wonderful time of the year for many. There are family get-togethers that include pressure for where they take place and who are in attendance, combined with cost and myriad other eye-rolling elements.

But this is about being sick of it.

Look, the crass commercialism of it all hits me eventually every year, but it struck me like a spark from an exposed wire in a case of Poland Spring water...

Oh, wait. Bad analogies were from last night's post.

Anyway, it struck me today as I was sitting on the floor installing a new doorknob when I heard whatever commercial that was on during the Ravens/Texans game for the 45th time or so.

I think it was JC Penney. I mean, if you want business, this is not the right way to get it.

I didn't used to loathe holiday music, to be honest. I quite enjoyed the seasonal sounds of certain hits. I can listen to John Lennon sing "So, this is Christmas, and what have you done..." and feel wistful. Nat King Cole brings "all the feels" with some "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire." There are others.

But my God hell is a place that includes "All I Want For Christmas is You" sung by twelve drunk women in Nashville at a bachelorette party in December.

Maybe Mariah Carey can rerecord it with Maroon 5.

The holidays are very difficult for a lot of people. In my case, it's the complication of not spending Christmas with Sean (I've seen him on Christmas morning for years, only to drop him off by 9 a.m.). The joy of that situation manifested itself perfectly in the solo Christmas of 2014, when I visited my father's grave and walked around his cemetery for some time before going home and watching four movies.

Oh, what fun!

Thanksgiving starts out fine, because I work every year. I'm out of the house around 6 a.m. and drive to Westport, Greenwich, Stamford, or some other game site for the game that morning. We always have a lot of fun (mostly) before I head to...wherever. One year, I left Greenwich and drove to Pennsylvania. Even without Sean, it was one of the happiest Thanksgivings.

Too many times, I wound up at a relatives house (or even home), just wanting to curl up, watch football, and sleep.

But, to quote the Rev. Al Green, "I'm so tired of being alone."

For many, loved ones are missed during the holidays more than ever (my father loved Christmas, for instance) and that sadness can be difficult to overcome. Or you get to be reminded of the loss if the anniversary hits during the season (a la St. Patrick's Day for me).

But suck it up and smile! And buy lots of goodies! Save the economy!

People are sleeping the streets. Did you know (according to the World Health Organization) over 300 million people experience depression? Plus one person commits suicide every 40 seconds.

These numbers are not holiday-specific, but it speaks to not everyone singing "Joy to the World."

Hallmark hits us with Christmas ornaments in July. That's just one example.

But, yeah, run the commercials with the big ridiculous red bow on the car or the ostentatious jewelry or the "must have "children's gift.

Bah humbug.

I realize it can be turned off, of course.

This is not to say my heartstrings can't be played with. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer always makes me thinking of sitting with my dad in his recliner as we watched it. It's a Wonderful Life...well...I love me some Jimmy Stewart, and many of us have stood staring into the abyss waiting for our own Clarence the angel to rescue us and show us why we matter.

I know I have.

Please don't let this mean that I am the person who will ruin your holiday cheer. I smile and genuinely enjoy certain things. And I actually believe that, one day, I won't feel like this.

But I'm not there.

There are sad economic and emotional realities to the holidays for me, so overall, I'm content to blast right on through to January 2nd. Thus it's all over with.

But don't worry. Then we can start seeing ads for Valentine's Day.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

This is Why I Don't Listen

Believe it or not, I don't listen to a lot of other play-by-play announcers.

Especially closer to home.

Mostly because I start breaking them down. Now, if they want me to critique them, then all bets are off.

Jeff Alterman has asked for honest criticism of what they're doing over on TEN -- the Trumbull Eagles Network, which I helped start. I was happy to help out, especially after they simplified their booth.

They're coming along now. I believe I'll also join them for a basketball call in December.

After I left the HAN Network, I listened/watched only a few times, and it was mostly when AJ Szymanowski was on a call, because he wanted my critique. Otherwise, I recall watching just once or twice without AJ on the broadcast.

I kept the sound down the only other time I tried to watch.

I've also gotten snarky on social media a few times, and I generally regret that, so it's just better form to stay away from most other calls. I might watch or listen to something to get a feel, but I normally turn it off quickly, and mostly in disgust.

I also get people texting or messaging me to watch or listen to something.

Or I get highlights sent to me.

Like the dude who thinks his comparisons are funny: "That player was faster then that Tex Mex I ate after downing some Metamucil in a restaurant two miles from my house. High-stepping home, baby!"

No, I'm not kidding. There are really people like that in the play-by-play biz.

I tried watching a game recently because I like the people and wanted to see who they had on the call.

As Ron Burgundy says, "I immediately regret this decision."

The amount of bad information was stunning. The amount of narcissism was intense. Names and towns were mispronounced. A mic was left open and we got to hear equipment testing, life stories, and diva behavior.

Details were missed but, hey, let's ask people in the stands, while live.

I just couldn't deal.

It was the perfect reminder.

Vin Scully has often said he never listens to others because bad habits can creep in.

Wise man, he is. Though I do enjoy hearing a variety of voices, and overall think I pick up good things if anything.

I listened to quite a bit of Mike Hirn in an Ohio football playoff game tonight. Good stuff. He and his analyst had a nice chemistry, Mike was prepared, the call had a buzz to it, and he honored the basics of "Report, Inform, Educate, and Entertain."

He doesn't need a critique. I listened because we're friends. And he's zany.

Unrelated to Mike, I once watched a game that actually depressed me when it was over.

That's a story I'm not quite ready to tell yet, but a few friends had to talk me down. Again, I'm serious. I was literally depressed at what I watched.

I care a lot about the craft of telling stories. Of being a play-by-play announcer. Of having a coherent booth with chemistry.

Of sounding professional.

So, more than anything, I try to manage listening to other broadcasters.

I get way too attached.

After all these years, it's a tough habit to deal with.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Now It's High School Football

Image found on CNN
Shots were fired at a high school football game in Pleasantville, NJ tonight.

The Greyhounds were hosting Camden.

Yes, I know. I've already heard Pleasantville isn't the nicest place and of course, the same has been said about Camden.

But, still, we can't go to a high school football game without fearing for our lives?

Obviously, I go to a fair number of football games, along with myriad other prep and high school sports annually.

Sure, there have been some hostile surroundings. I was once part of a police escort following a Greenwich/Ridgefield basketball game (yes, you read that correctly). But, I otherwise never feel concerned for myself.

So it is that I foolishly feel I shouldn't worry about my safety.

But, again, shots were fired at a high school football game tonight in New Jersey.

As of this writing, reports say two people -- an adult and a child -- were injured.

The game obviously doesn't matter at that point. People were running for their lives.

Once again, please spare the thoughts and prayers.

I have a game of my own to call tomorrow, and I still have no concerns, but I can't deny this story will be somewhere in my mind.

It's astounding to me that we have to be on our guard at the movies or in a restaurant or literally anywhere.

Including a high school football game.

Speaking of high school football, Greenwich football is mourning the loss of a loved one. Assistant coach Wayne Gioffre's mother died earlier this week. Mrs. Gioffre, her husband, and their entire family are a big part of the fabric of Greenwich high school football. Mr. and Mrs. Gioffre have also been incredibly kind to me over the years.

They were always found in the stands, especially at home games, just a few rows below the booth.

I'm terribly saddened by her passing. My condolences to her loved ones.

I really have nothing left to offer on the Myles Garrett/Mason Rudolf kerfuffle. There have been enough dumb takes.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Masked Phenoms

The Renegades teased a big announcement today.

It started with a picture of Rascal, their (wait...our) trusty and legendary mascot.

Then came a graphic featuring colors.

Next came more of those colors with a different take on the "HV" logo.

I posted about it, and friends speculated.

Will Rob manage the team?

Will Rascal be renamed "Rob?"

Will it be a Rob press conference? no.

The Gades will be joining MILB's Copa de la Diversión initiative in 2020. Translated as "Fun Cup," Minor League Baseball defines it as "...a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams' local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities."

And so the Hudson Valley Renegades will become Fenómenos Enmascarados del Valle de Hudson.

The Hudson Valley Masked Phenoms.

From the Gades' website: "'Fenómenos Enmascarados,' which directly translates to "Masked Phenoms," celebrates the rich blend of Hispanic cultures throughout the Hudson Valley. In celebration of Lucha Libre culture, Hudson Valley aims to provide a blend of fighting spirit and showmanship at the ballpark."

The dates for the "Fenoms" (not sure if that's the official term but I'm trying it out) will be released at a later date.

While I'm only the broadcaster, I don't speak for the team, so let me be very clear on that. But in reading the questions from fans online, I can tell you that this does not mean the Renegades are changing the official logo or uniform or name.

They are not leaving the New York-Penn League, despite a recent story that said Minor League Baseball might contract some teams. There's a long way to go before that becomes a real conversation.

I can tell you all of this because 1) that's not what Copa de la Diversión is all about and 2) I saw the team respond to those questions themselves.

This is literally along the lines of things that I've seen MLB and MILB teams do. It's a game or a couple of games or a handful of games.

This is the Staten Island Pizza Rats or los Mets and other alternate identities. It's good for marketing, promotion, merchandising (I'll be looking at hats and other goodies myself) as well as culturally.

It's also fun. As it should be.

Which the are all about.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I'm Just Not Interested Tonight

It's British. That has to be good for something.

I'm passing on tonight.

I had something on my mind, but nah.

Maybe tomorrow.

I'm too tired and too worn out.

Sorry to do this.

I'll try again.

In a Twitter discussion tonight, someone asked for the all-time favorite movie theme song. I interpreted that to mean that favorite definitive song from a movie.

While there are many choices, did you ever have a doubt?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

From Writer's Block to a Podcast

I want to write something profound.

I want to rant and rave.

But when you feel it might be unsafe for you or others to do so, then it's just best to come up with a case of writer's block.

I do, shockingly, have the ability to shut my mouth. The key to doing this is to give just enough information. It doesn't necessarily mean being an open book.

There's no question that when I see a loved one being attacked -- including having their integrity called into question -- my nature is to fire back.

After all, they had my back when my own integrity was questioned a few weeks ago.

But, sometimes, I just need to let the trolls be.

I saw a couple of topics that I wanted to spout on, but as we've lamented before, we lack the ability to debate appropriately.

No, my head hurts at the thought of approaching topics, and that's unfortunate.

It's sad.

Sad that we can't talk about things -- real or otherwise.

What we learn, whether it's sports or otherwise, is that minds generally won't get changed, even when presented with facts.

Anyway, I've had this case of writer's block all night.

So I'll finish this post with a podcast that just hit.

Mike Hirn had me on his show Play by Play Stories to talk about my career and anything else. It's a smooth conversation between friends that we recorded recently.

Download it here.
powered by podcast garden

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

My father wanted to defend his country.

Born in 1929, he was too young for World War II but was the right age for Korea.

He joined the Army and headed off to basic training, making his way to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Inducted on January 23, 1951, Private First Class Robert D Adams was honorably discharged on March 15, 1951. It was over before he ever had a chance to do what he believed was his duty.

He was in the Army for 51 days in '51.

On the discharge paper, it reads: "Disability existing prior to entry on active service and not aggravated by military service."

He was heartbroken.

His hips would have never survived, no matter how tough he was.

He came back to Lake Secor, eventually met my mom, had three kids and lived a full life. He adored the grandkids he got to meet.

But not serving his country hurt him.

It always makes my heart feel full to see an American flag placed on his grave to recognize his brief stint in the service.

I'd like to think he'd be proud of that.

He knew there were some who gave all. Many gave much more than he was permitted to give.

But on this Veterans Day, please think of my dad, Private First Class Robert D Adams, who wanted to give as well.

There's something to be said for desire.

Thank you to all who have served.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Under 55 to Go

I avoid most memes, but OK. I chuckled at the thought of this one.
Or Chico the cat made me do it.
This is the 314th post of 2019, and I've failed.

John Nash -- co-conspirator and creator of Project 365 (© 2018-2019 John Nash) -- texted me a few days ago and said I should write something as we hit 55 days left in the year.

However, Alexa tells me there are 52 days left as of tonight.

I let the week get away from me.

So, we're here.

I'm still enjoying this, to a certain extent. I especially enjoy it when the energy and the topic are gelling. I don't enjoy it when the day gets late and I'm holding my eyes open to write (such as last night).

I said something that mattered to me last night, but it didn't have even a sense of eloquence to it. It was a jumble of thoughts.

But I stand by those thoughts. Learn grace and be thankful for opportunities, and those around you, before it's too late.

The clock is ticking.

I can't win. It's just been a bad season for game conflicts and missed opportunities. Brunswick has advanced to a bowl game again. I've got Ridgefield/Greenwich on WGCH.

Both are big games, but I'm committed to be at Cardinal Stadium.

I've never really talked about it, but I called last year's bowl appearance for the Bruins, and I wasn't happy with it. I have my reasons, and I've never quite completely shaken how I felt in the days after it was over.

I've just tried to move on.

But it's nice to know that Brunswick wanted me on the call (and I'm thrilled), as they do on nearly every game unless I'm  -- how can say this -- outbid.

Perhaps you know what that means.

I'm just one voice.

So while we missed the T-minus 55th post and counting (and I have no intention of stopping necessarily), I also missed surpassing 1300 broadcasts yesterday.

Phillips Exeter and Loomis Chaffee in water polo is the answer to the trivia question. No celebration was necessary.

To be honest, it's not a big deal. I realize we talked about it when I hit 1000, but it honestly isn't that big.

Mike Hirn and many others get upwards of 200 (and beyond) games per year. I'm jealous of them.

I dig through myriad opportunities to get around 120-130 per year.

There were awful years where I had only 21 or 24 games. It was basically Greenwich football and a couple of hockey or basketball games.

To be honest, it's just not acceptable, as I've said so many times. Sports fans deserve so much better than that.

Heck, that's why I wanted to create HAN Radio (and it's various other names) in the first place.

It's the very reason that Robcasting exists.

We should be doing more. Schools shouldn't be having games that air without a voice. More to the point, these games deserve professionalism, but I digress.

Sadly, after the great week of 14 games, there are currently only two games scheduled, and both are Greenwich football: Nov 16 vs. Ridgefield and Nov 28 at Staples. There is, of course, the hope of playoff games, and I've heard the GYFL is interested in something with me and their youth football games, so we'll see.

Then it will be onto winter sports.

I'm not big on memes. Oh yeah, I see a few that I laugh at. No question about that.

I was resisting the urge on the "table cat" one that has been bouncing around lately.

But it occurred to me while thinking about the Pittsburgh Steelers today. The Steelers grabbed a hard-fought victory at home today against the LA Rams.

The Steelers were 1-4 at one point and left for dead. Its rabid fan base, of which I am a member, was calling for the head of head coach Mike Tomlin.

Three of the four losses have been close, but honestly, that doesn't matter. What does matter is Pittsburgh has won four in a row.

So it was that I thought of crazy Steelers Nation losing their (our) marbles...and Tomlin, in the guise of the "table cat," sitting there and saying they're now 5-4.

Low-hanging fruit, I suppose.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Eight Crazy Days

I said I needed more work.

I said I wanted more work.

I got more work this week.

It started last Saturday with Greenwich/Trinity football. Then I did the four Section 1 girls soccer championships on Sunday. Monday featured the FCIAC girls soccer semifinals. Tuesday had the FCIAC boys soccer semis. Wednesday took me to New York City for the Hunt Scanlon conference then back to Mount Kisco for The Clubhouse. Thursday saw me call another FCIAC championship, as Trumbull topped Fairfield Warde. On Friday I jumped back to Greenwich football, as the Cardinals played Fairfield Ludlowe. I finished the madness with today's three NEPSAC water polo contests.

Did I love every minute of it? No, I wouldn't say that, but I'm smart enough to recognize how blessed I was to cover every minute of those games. I scratched, clawed, and worked my tail off.

I know that I'm lucky to do what I get to do, and I also hope I've earned that right.

I witnessed some behavior this week that had me literally biting my tongue. It's an indication that not everyone understands the opportunities they've been afforded while developing grace in certain circumstances.

Being a diva simply doesn't make you friends.

Look, we all have moments that are less than graceful. I flip out (obviously) but also try to retain the basics of how I was raised.

If I ever spoke to my father in a disrespectful tone I'd be a dead man.

It's never a good thing when you become a topic of conversation. I've feared that I've had those moments and I'm never happy about it.

Look, nobody says that we have to play "the game" necessarily and, trust me, I don't. But there is a certain way that things work.

Don't be described as a "disease."

While I'm at it, I have to say something.

Just get it right out there.

When someone has a headset on, they're likely on the air.

So, my advice would be to not talk to them.

Also, don't crowd them or have lengthy conversations near them.

Or curse.

Chances are, there's a crowd microphone nearby.

Just don't be like that.

I'm only here to help.

Friday, November 08, 2019

The A-Team

I love it when a plan comes together.

I'm on the call of Greenwich/Fairfield Warde tonight at 6:00 p.m.

The pregame show starts at 5:50.

Here's a nasty little secret about my pregame show: I do it to make sure everything works. Our style on WGCH (and even Robcasting) has been to do a 10-minute pregame show and get to the game. Longer pregame shows are fine (I'm actually not a big believer in them unless they're sponsored) but interviews can often be difficult to get, edit, and have ready to air.

So, we keep it simple. It's literally to make sure the equipment and connection work and set the scene.

As usual, Chris Erway will be with me for the call.

We're the A-Team.

But, how did that come to be?

It wasn't initially this obnoxious, bordering on arrogance thing it appears to be. It's just an old broadcasting term.

Every network or station has its top broadcasting duo. Around WGCH, I've been paired with great people who helped form our number one play-by-play team. John Spang, Sean Kilkelly, and Mark Rosen immediately spring to mind.

When I was at HAN, Paul Silverfarb was the first lead analyst. Eventually, Chris Erway joined me as the top duo.

The number one team.

The A-Team.

It was that simple. Yet, somehow, in some minds, it became this sanctimonious, entitled thing.

Except, it wasn't. But...when challenged, anybody will grab it and say, "OK."

That's exactly what Chris and I did. So it became our calling card.

It's funny how that happens.

Eventually, it came to represent the confidence we have in each other, and in our team. We trust that, with Sean in the studio, we have a solid broadcast. We get territorial, protecting the thing we've built, even when others try to tear us down.

I know if I need to be off-mic, Chris can dive in and handle the call.

We each know that if it's a close game in the fourth quarter, we'll call a game that relies on reporting, informing, educating, and entertaining. The entire mood of the booth changes. The entertainment factor will be less in a tight game.

In a blowout, we entertain more. That's where we're more likely to have fun while still focusing on the game.

I'm confident with every partner I go on the air with, but it's the chemistry of a friendship -- someone I've called so many games with -- that is so important.

I've had many partners thrown at me. I literally meet them for the first time in the booth on game day. For whatever reason, I can always make it work, but it's different.

With Chris, Chris Kaelin, Paul, Joe Early, and so many others, it's almost second nature. I don't think about it. The game becomes the game. I call the play. They break it down. We laugh a little. WE report a lot.

When it's tight, I get the right amount of goose pimples. I'm as excited as anyone.

It works with Chris.

The A-Team moniker wasn't supposed to be some silly badge asserting our greatness. We're actually fairly approachable and fun. We like to laugh. We love to call a game.

I'm confident you'll always enjoy your time with us.

We'll see you at 5:50 p.m. for Greenwich and Ludlowe.
In 2012, a crack broadcasting unit was sent to Greenwich to broadcast football. Today, they survive as broadcasters of fortune. If you have a game, and if you can find them...maybe you can hire...

Actually, we're not that hard to find.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

No, You Haven't (Part II)

She's part-Lois Lane, part-Super Person

I wrote about a friend last night.

To some of you, it was cryptic. To most, you knew who it was.

After talking to her today, Susan said it would be appropriate to share her post here.

"It's public," she said. "I want people to read it."

While it is certainly public, I still felt it was her story to tell, and not necessarily up to me to share it here.

Nonetheless, she said she's fine with it and would be happy to have me post it.

Now, what you need to know is that Susan is far more private than I am, so her willingness to write this post, and to have me share the link here, is bold.

I'm still astounded at her bravery in writing these stories.

As I mentioned last night, I know all of the stories. I've also seen some of it personally.

I also know the stories she hasn't told.

She's a remarkable person. I sometimes don't know how she survives, to be honest.

As a mother, well, she could be mother of the year. She does everything for her kids.

That's not an exaggeration. She does everything.

They play softball and are in Girl Scouts. They attend literally every party because Susan makes sure that they can. They are taken care of in every way possible.

Fail them? There is literally no chance she failed them.

She's risen above all of the nonsense in her life.

She's a survivor.

Anyway, I'm babbling. This is a post that should be read.

So go here.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

No, You Haven't

The view from behind the microphone before the conference

I was the moderator of a pretty amazing conference today for Hunt Scanlon Media.

It was called "Next-Gen Leaders: Advancing Women to the C-Suite."

In short, it was about getting women the opportunities they richly deserve in what is known as "The C-Suite," which means CEO's, CFO's and other top-level acronyms.

The speeches from both males and females (but mostly women) were powerful and inspiring. It was an honor to be a key part of the day.

There were thought-provoking questions and topics throughout, and it's amazing how far we still have to go for equality.

Now, I'm of the belief that the best person should always get the job, and that was a theme of the day, with one presenter saying that they had no interest in a position if it was just because that company "needed a woman" at the top level of management.

The best person should get the job. Gender, race, etc be damned.

There was a lot of power in that room.

A powerful statement was made earlier this week. A friend climbed deep into the darkness to talk about shortcomings.

They bled like I've never seen before.

They think they've failed.

No. They absolutely have not.

I've watched their circumstances and heard each of the stories. I've witnessed some myself.

I've seen the failures of people surrounding them.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better person.

I couldn't admire them more. The words spoken were that of bravery.

They were stories that only someone with guts would tell.

If anything, they haven't failed. They're a role model.

It's not someone's fault because of something they wore or drank or even said.

"No" means no. Unwanted advances are just that: unwanted.

I simply can't understand the mindset of the man who thinks they can force themselves.

Or the sickness of varying forms of contact.

"No" means no.

I mean, for a guy, is "no" an aphrodisiac? Seriously: how dumb can you be? Do you really want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you?

I can answer for myself, and the answer is a firm "no."

Oh no. You haven't failed at all.

You've elevated yourself to a whole new level. You're flying higher than ever.

Now, go lead by example.

These are the words I've wanted to speak for two nights, but felt it wasn't my story to tell.

People have failed you.

But you haven't failed.