While sitting in a small New York City movie theater on Sunday, May 22, watching Woody Allen’s masterpiece Midnight in Paris, my phone received an e-mail. It went unnoticed by me, while engrossed in Owen Wilson’s time-traveling dilemma of Ernest Hemingway and Rachel McAdams, and only upon exiting the theater and plugging back into the circuit did I read an opportunity that immediately gave my week a kick-start.
The story begins a year earlier, in Towson, MD, which hosted the 2010 NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament. Northwestern faced Maryland in the championship game, and I was the lead broadcaster for Northwestern’s student radio station, WNUR. Having won five consecutive national championships, it was almost unfathomable that Northwestern would lose. Yet, when the dust had settled, I found myself declaring Maryland the national champion with more than a pinge of disappointment in my voice.
That would be the last game I broadcasted for WNUR as a Northwestern student. I broadcasted several games the following fall and winter, mostly for the University of St. Francis, a small, NAIA school in Joliet, IL. Upon moving to New York City at the end of February, I assumed my days as a play-by-play broadcaster were essentially numbered.
Fast forward 51 weeks from the 2010 Final Four. While walking the streets of SoHo on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I was mentioned in several tweets by good friend Aaron Morse, who said another broadcaster who I did not know, Mike Radomski, sounded like I did while calling a game. The three of us exchanged several messages, culminating with Morse telling Mike that I no longer was “in the broadcasting game.” My roommate, Fus, then asked whether I had completely given up on the broadcasting dream. He was of the opinion that anything I did to keep the broadcasting dream alive was a step in the right direction. The ensuing conversation took place about 6 hours before I read the e-mail.
The 2011 women’s lacrosse Final Four took place in Stony Brook, NY this year. Located on Long Island, Stony Brook is not the easiest trip from, well, anywhere. The tournament also happened to coincide with Dillo Day, Northwestern’s annual spring concert, which is generally one of the most anticipated days of the school year. Still, I was surprised to receive an e-mail from Seth Bernstein, Sports Director for WNUR, asking me to broadcast the Final Four games because only one staffer was able to fly out to New York for the weekend.
Eric Mayo was the only staffer able to make the trip, a WNUR Sports staffer who I knew very well. I found the tone of the e-mail requesting my assistance quite amusing. The station needed my help, yes, and they were very kind in asking for it. Yet, after so many unbelievable opportunities that I had while a student at Northwestern, from roaming the sidelines at the Horeshoe to broadcasting the Outback Bowl and a million broadcasts in between, I owed it to WNUR to help out.
But I didn’t need guilt or an “I owe you” to accept this offer. The itch to broadcast sports has never left me, like a mosquito bite from a super-mosquito. Sure, you can spray Benadryl mosquito spray on it and feel the itch subside momentarily, but it will eventually resurface. It just so happened that a giant backscratcher presented itself just as the itch reared its head.
I was going to call the 2011 women’s lacrosse Final Four. A chance to broadcast a national championship victory. But that meant I had a lot of work to do to get ready.
Stay tuend for Part 2: Prep work, learning a season and the broadcasts.
In the meantime, check out the audio from this weekend: