Disclaimer. These articles are in my in editor's inbox by Friday afternoon. Sometimes earlier, but never later. By the time you are reading this, week one of the high school football season is already in the books. I hope everything went as planned and you all got a chance to "tune in."
My mornings start early. I'm usually up by 5 and the first stop is the Dunkin’ Donuts in Newberry. Now I could use the drive thru like the rest, but I go inside hoping to see my much older, wiser and retired friends. They were already holding court. One must have seen our PASPORTSLIVE ad in the latest Webb Weekly and started grilling me with several questions; hence the name of this piece.
First let me begin by saying how excited I am about this new opportunity. Many thanks to Jimmy Webb and Steph Nordstrom for making this dream a reality. Tonight Paul McGinn and I will have the call for PA Sports LIVE. We are heading down to Mount Carmel today see Justin Van Fleet's Loyalsock Lancers. Kick off is scheduled for 7 on webbweeklylive.com. Tune in. Sorry grandma you need a smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer to watch. Live high school play-by-play action in HD each Friday night.
Stop the press. Breaking news. Cable Sports Production is on the same interface? That's right sports fans. GARY CHRISMAN and his sidekick BABE don't call me ‘Paul’ MAYER have joined up too. I have nothing but love for these pioneers of local sports play by play. Gary and Babe have been doing their thing for an unprecedented 30 years now. Props. They wrote the book. I still have the interview when they grabbed me after a PORT victory back in ‘95. I had five points in limited action but I still made the cut for the Rennie Rodarmel Postgame. Good times. Dang. All three of us looked good then. Welcome aboard gents. It's an honor just to be on the same site as you.
Okay back to the questions at hand. DID YOU EVER PLAY FOOTBALL?
Yes. One year. I was a fourth string wide out on the Curtin Governors squad in 1991. We finished the regular season at 7-1. (Berwick used 9th graders) There was never a need to pass as we had some of the finest RBs back then. I only caught three balls that year but I managed to find the end zone against Lycoming Valley. They weren't very good and I got lots of PT that game. We didn't use signals or the no huddle in 8th grade so Coach Bobby Lynn would send in his plays via us "blocking" receivers. It was another run to my dismay. But somehow the play changed to Blue Right 50z curl y flag TE dump by the time we left our scrum. "Touchdown" Mr. Bassett even mentioned my name. Does anyone have it on tape?
That was my final game. I decided to hang up my helmet that season and I have no regrets. That next fall- I wanted to focus my efforts on chorus and golf. True story. Both decisions treated me well.
SO YOU'RE A BROADCASTER NOW?
Yes. I got my start as a color commentator for the Lycoming Warriors on the student run station 91.7 FM "The Thunder." The reception was poor and no one listened, but man it was tons of fun. I transferred to Lycoming in the fall of ‘99 and bunked up with three locals who were on Coach Giradi's squad. Ryan Swailes of Montoursville was the QB, Joe Hanna of Lock Haven was a stud receiver, and Matt Krise of Williamsport – well Matt had the highest GPA. Those five seasons on the mic with the Lycoming Warriors were fantastic. Several MAC championships and multiple NCAA playoff runs. I got to call each game. Yes. Five amazing years with Coach G and the team. After 13 semesters Lyco finally gave me a diploma and I was forced to retire.
Fortunately, I continued my part time passion by calling many great games for a number of different stations and outfits. Believe it or not I have been broadcasting for the past 16 years now. Most recently I tried to replace the legendary KEN SAWYER as the official voice of the Williamsport Millionaires. It was a dream come true. Calling football and basketball for my beloved alma matter on WRAK. What a gig. My mom listened to every call and said I was great, but the executives down in Texas thought otherwise and pulled the plug. #corporates.
I may have called 100 or so games over the years but I will always remember that very first. We hitched a ride in the "Lyco Media Bus." The who's who of local celebs were in that van heading to Juniata College. Yes. We had very little in common other than football and we were never going to win any beauty pageants either. I vividly recall a conversation with BILL BYHAM. I always enjoyed chatting with BUCK and asked for some pointers. "Keep it simple and paint the picture kid," he said. "Never talk politics or religion. Folks tune in to hear your perspective on football. They don't care about your views." Well said Buck and I will do my best. Perhaps we should leave it at that. Cheers. #sportingmatters.