Moments after I emerged from my mother’s womb, the doctor slapped me on the butt and my play-by-play career began.
“That’s a personal foul – unnecessary roughness!” the infant me yelled (ironically sporting the same amount of hair that I have now).
My actual comment at the time was probably a loud “Waaa!”, but you get the idea – I’ve dreamed of being a sports broadcaster for as long as I can remember.
As a kid growing up in Lakewood, NY, I was simultaneously the play-by-play man for the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Braves (now the L.A. Clippers), and New York Mets.
OK, so I was broadcasting the games into a tape recorder in my bedroom, but I took it seriously and probably drove my parents and four brothers and sisters nuts.
I wouldn’t be surprised if our dog Penny grew sick of listening to me.
When I got to high school, I figured that I could improve my public speaking ability by joining the debate club (now there’s a way to woo the ladies!). Unfortunately, winning debates required critical thinking more than the gift of gab. My argument in favor of the death penalty was that it would curb the worldwide crisis of overpopulation. The judges were not impressed.
My college choice was easy after reading the book “Yesss!” by Marv Albert. When I saw that he had attended Syracuse University along with Bob Costas, Dick Stockton, and other prominent broadcasters, I knew it was the place for me.
Best decision I ever made. While I had some outstanding professors, I learned even more from spending four years hanging out with incredibly talented students who shared my obsession. Several of my classmates have gone on to have phenomenal careers including Sean McDonough (ESPN/ABC), Mike Tirico (Monday Night Football), Greg Papa (Oakland Raiders), Jim Jackson (Philadelphia Flyers), Tony Caridi (West Virginia University), Bill Roth (Virginia Tech), Craig Minervini (Florida Marlins), and Todd Kalas (Tampa Bay Rays) to name a few.
I have been extremely fortunate to do this for a living for 25 years, including my current positions with two first-class organizations – the Pawtucket Red Sox and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Additionally, last Sunday I experienced the thrill of broadcasting NFL play-by-play for the first time as I called the Bengals/Broncos game with Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz. The game was carried on the NFL Network and I’ve been getting e-mails and text messages from friends I haven’t heard from in years. Mike Tirico watched the game with the Monday Night Football crew and passed along a nice comment from Jon Gruden which I greatly appreciate.
The telecast wasn’t flawless and I made some mistakes (note to self: If it’s hard to see whether the receiver is wearing #81 or #85, Chad Ochocinco wears ORANGE shoes), but it was our first broadcast of the pre-season and I know we’ll be better on August 28th when the Bengals play at Buffalo.
I’m grateful to Bengals owner Mike Brown and Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing Vince Cicero for the opportunity, as well as PawSox President Mike Tamburro, University of Cincinnati Senior Associate Athletic Director Mike Waddell, and WLW’s Darryl Parks for giving me the flexibility in my schedule to be able to do the Bengals pre-season TV package.
In the meantime, I’m back in the PawSox booth tonight for a 5:35 pm doubleheader against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
It sure beats working for a living.
I’d love to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell me who you are and where you’re from in the comments section or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard