Working in Sports

Ever since I heard the nasally voice of Skip Carey, and his late long time partner in crime Pete Van Wieren, I knew what I wanted to do. The legendary broadcast duo flag-shipped Atlanta Braves baseball games for nearly three decades. I was one of the millions of lucky kids that grew up listening to these two paint beautiful pictures of a game that I soon fell in love with. Nothing else in the world seemed to matter on those lazy Sunday afternoons, with the Georgia sunshine beating down on your sweet tea, than being absorbed in the greatest story imaginable. What a cool feeling. For Skip and Pete. To be able to deliver amazing stories, stunningly descriptive play-by-play, and intriguing analysis that would make any man woman or child feel like they knew the manager’s strategy.

I attended Bob Rathbun’s (another Atlanta radio legend) broadcasting camp at the ages of 12 and 13. That experience just about put the nail in the coffin for what I knew I wanted to do with my life. The thrill of game, so fast-so confusing! But when you get it right-a perfectly sounding, descriptive and energetic call- there’s no better achievement. After working at my high school broadcast station and newspaper for 4 years, I moved to the big time here at Elon. By my sophomore year I was the head of the entire Elon Local News sports department. It was a full time job, but I learned my craft over those months. Essential skills such as organization, filming, editing, anchoring, and everything in between were learned. It was a full time job with no pay, and it was only the first of many(hopefully).

The following summer was one of the best of my life. Finally, I got to live out my dream. 6 days of the week for 2 months, my broadcast partner and I got to call baseball games on ESPN radio for a local community in New Hampshire. The days were long-the road trips longer- with little compensation or thanks. But the love of the game was all I needed. I was surrounded by baseball all the time! From pregame research, to talking with the players and coaches, to the food guy that would ask us “hamburger or hotdog? Sorry we’re all out of drinks”, writing post game recaps on %10 laptop battery on the way home with the team bus-rain delays-iMovie disasters- all of it, it was the greatest learning experience of my life. But through it all there was only one thing that mattered. Describing the game in the most accurate way possible, for the passionate fans in NH who loved their team, who were not fortunate enough to be at the ball park that day; that was our job.

There’s little pay, but when you love something like this so much, there’s so much reward. It’s what I want to do for the rest of my life, and if it ends up that I’m not good enough, or I win the mega millions-whichever comes first- I won’t stop trying to be some 10 year old’s role model and inspiration.