There I was in a parked van with the who's who of local established and wannabe sports broadcasters. It was my debut as a color commentator with 91.7 WRLC the Lycoming College student station. The legendary Ken Sawyer and Bill ‘Buck’ Byham of 1400 WRAK were sitting right beside me. I was so nervous. We started chatting on our way to Juniata College that morning and I asked my new friends for some pointers.
"Whatever you do kid. Do not mix sports with politics or religion. Call the game. Describe the action. If folks like you. They will continue to listen. People could care less about your opinions or views. Trust me." Buck Byham.
I still remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Some twenty years later- I always do my best to not include politics with any sporting platforms. Whether it's calling a game for PA SPORTS LIVE or writing in Webb Weekly. Oil and vinegar my friends. They simply don't mix.
The recent election is making it hard to bite my tongue at times. There is so much division throughout. Even here in our very backyard. It's bedlam. I normally keep my opinions to myself and rarely do I ever comment but after reviewing the proposed 2017 Lycoming County Proposed Annual Budget. Wow. Perhaps it's time to vent. Please Buck? Just once.
Before I begin. I want to make myself clear. I respect and personally know all three County Commissioners. I believe their overall intentions are good. They tackle serious issues and are forced to make some rather difficult decisions. I sometimes agree and then there are times when I shake my head in disbelief.
I attended the budget forum Tuesday at the James V. Brown Library. The director of fiscal services was giving an open presentation in front of a very sparse crowd. I counted 14. The three commissioners were in attendance and entertained several of our questions. The topics varied and everyone remained civil. I felt this two hour session was very beneficial to all of Lycoming County. It's just a shame that more people were involved. By the end of the night- I was extremely frustrated and even more confused than I was heading in. So I began to write.
I put together a great piece that would have made my 12th English teacher proud. It was simply beautiful. Sweet and to the point. Clever and somewhat enjoyable. I covered everything from the Landfill to the Pre-release Center. Hotel taxes to the Visitor's Bureau. My story now started to look more like a report. Pages were flowing. Of course I spent a great deal of time talking short game and why golf participation is way down. I was rolling. Man. This might win an award.
But right before I hit the send button I remembered that conversation with Buck. Never mix politics and sports. Besides what possible could my now 30-page response actually achieve? I read it again and it may have come off a bit to harsh. I even gave a copy to one of my most trusted friends. We both agreed. It wasn't me.
Enough with the finger pointing. Get involved. Your voice and concerns do matter. Take action instead of criticizing. Spread more kindness and less hate. ‘Tis the season boys and girls. Time to give thanks and appreciate the ones you love. We can start right here in our own backyard. Cheers.