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South Williamsport, PA
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Wait! He Can’t Commentate!

Imagine a small town radio station asks me to “assist” in a play-by-play Friday night football game. What would I bring to the table? Uh, I mean press booth. Before we go any further, there are opposing views on everything. Thus, for every fervent fan and parent who cherishes “Friday Night Lights,” there is a

Imagine a small town radio station asks me to “assist” in a play-by-play Friday night football game. What would I bring to the table? Uh, I mean press booth.

Before we go any further, there are opposing views on everything. Thus, for every fervent fan and parent who cherishes “Friday Night Lights,” there is a physician, a guardian, an adult (even some former coaches) who sees things in a “different light.” With that in mind, don’t hang me by the toes!

Here’s how my broadcast would go. Sarcasm, wit, fact. “MA” denotes main announcer, and “GA” is me.

MA: Well G, how do you think home field Uptown Heights stacks up against their rivalry Midcow Pasture in battle of unbeatens?

GA: Midcow taxpayers voted down artificial turf. They like getting down and dirty. Heck, they’re lucky to have lights and bleachers! But their kids are real scrappers, hay bail boys. They’ll fight to the end.

MA: You were down on the field pre game. Anything in particular stand out amongst the two foes?

GA: Neither team is going to kneel or go arm in arm before the National Anthem is played. Looks like the almighty NFL hasn’t trickled down to these fine youngsters. Remember, coffins returning from foreign battlefields aren’t decorated with an NFL logo. And grieving widows aren’t presented with a freshly folded team jersey.

10 minutes later….

MA: Uptown’s number 20, Chip Tonia, just charged down the sideline for a 30-yard gain! What do you think of that G?

GA: Wow! Did you witness the flip that cheerleader from Uptown just pulled off? You know those rah-rahs and band members get little recognition from anyone. They attend camps in sweltering heat like the players. See Angie, the tall blonde? She works after school with needy children. And Brad, the tuba player? He donates time with a local firehouse cleaning the trucks and apparatus. These other kids also go the distance!

MA: Goal line stand by Midcow on fourth down! Forces Uptown to a field goal try. It’s up and — good!

GA: Yes Mike, the fans are falling asleep due to lack of offensive threat by either squad. Huge concession stand lines for deep fried Oreos, shoo fly pie, or beer.

MA: They don’t serve alcoholic beverages at high school games.

GA: You’d never know it by the rowdy adults screaming at the zebras over questionable calls. Let them go and try it. They’d last half a quarter before wetting their pants.

MA: Kickoff goes to Midcow’s Jocko Turner. Follows up nice blocking and busts a gap to the Uptown 48 yard line.

GA: That lad has great speed! Good to have when those guys are coming at you at you like a loaded Peterbuilt!

MA: Midcow quarterback hurls deep to number 17, Danny Boyle. Incomplete and a massive collision! He’s not getting up.

GA: Nasty, nasty hit. Can you say concussion with a capital “C”? No wonder these CTE scans and reports show brain trauma as early as Pop Warner! Helmet or no helmet, Jello encased by a fragile skull wasn’t made for constant bell ringing, let’s hope he is ok!

MA: No worse than heading the ball in soccer. Whether it be AYSO to the pros, that ball is pretty hard and fast to the noggin.

60-second commercial break: “Rest with the best at Mattress Maiden! Everything on sale to put you in nocturnal comfort! We treat you like a queen, but without paying a king’s ransom!”

GA: How many kids hurt in tonight’s game thus far? Defensive tackle out with bad knee. Tight end out with dislocated shoulder. Now this. Sacrificing the body for what? A few seconds of glory and your name in Saturday’s paper? Are the scouts looking for raw talent or those who merely survive?

(Dead air for 20 seconds)

MA: Start of the fourth quarter — Uptown Heights leading Midcow by a score of 10 to 7. Gerry left the booth for “greener pastures.” He’s on the sideline, let’s go to him.

GA: Looking for Uptown booster club president Clyde “the snide” Barlow. Supposedly stole funds from 50-50 drawings and some donations. Was curious if he’d tell us where the money went. Of course, it was a “no comment.” Guess no new cleats for another year! By the way, better down here. That press box is like a bunch of old women bickering in a sardine can. I am going up into the stands now…

MA: Uptown at the Cows 28 and driving for the put away lead!

GA: Hello mother of Brian Bigelow, that 300 pound offensive lineman for Cowtown — sorry, Midcow. What do you feed that child of yours? Oats and raw beef? I mean he could stop a train!

Mother: (laughing) He weighed 15 pounds at birth. Just knew this was his destiny. I mean, could you see him on a tennis court? Not happening!

GA: Hey, there is Gertrude O’Riley, Uptown pouncer extraordinaire! Has attended every home game since 1955! Let me see what she has to say before they bronze her at the main gate!

Gertrude: ‘Bout time an announcer gets into the stands! Those guys in the booth, the coaches even, are clueless! They read the game like a monotone script. In depth analysis? No way, sonny boy. (Kisses me on the cheek)

MA: Justin Maneval just scooped up an Uptown fumble and waltzed in for Midcow! Game over! The cows win! Where are you G?

GA: Walking home. Pop Warner. Middle school, high school, college, pro ball. Preseason, regular season, post season. Had enough. No more commentary, I’ll stick to pen and paper.

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