Page 2: My first broadcast
I'll start the story at the end. When I was back in my dorm on the phone.
Even my parents thought I was a terrible broadcaster.
Ok, sorry. Back to the beginning.
My first sports broadcast came at the University of Dayton in fall 2011, my first semester on campus. The assignment: Men's soccer versus the University of Richmond.
Just a few weeks after joining Flyer Radio, I was assigned to the sports committee. The sports committee consists of play-by-play, color commentators, and board ops.
That's right. I had no idea I wanted to do this. I had to be taught.
I never had that 5-year-old premonition that I was going to be a big time broadcaster or even gave a shit about being on TV. I will tell you that I loveeeed doing my own play-by-play of MVP Baseball 2005. That, and I was always vocal on the baseball field and when we'd all play whiffle ball as kids. I always wanted to keep the story moving or announce home runs or great plays on the street. Just loud and funny and absolutely in love with the games themselves.
So I majored in communications because I could write, and joined the radio station because my mother suggested it. Once I got there, I met now-lifelong friend Bobby Beebe. We had a four-year music show called The Mixtape. We were big stars...haha. But we had a blast.
But in exchange for a radio show with Bob, they assigned me to the sports committee. Scared basically shitless, I sat in on Michael Purves and Jesse Pearlman's sports radio show at the station. They were both amazing, but Purves had a voice, presence, and delivery that showed me one thing -- I'd never come fucking close to this guy's talent. That's Never Nervous Michael Purves by the way. The dude was an icon on campus. He still rocks it to this day at WHIO in Dayton.
Long story short, I was assigned to the Dayton-Richmond soccer game (woof) on radio (woof) with Kevin Kryston (yay). Kevin was really good too and probably up there as someone who spoke his mind -- which I loved because Ohio was filled with a lot of polite people who wouldn't say much at all -- unlike New York. Kevin was a straight shooter and would give me solid feedback.
With tie and jacket on we strolled from the radio station to Baujan Field, rolling our equipment through the Ghetto. I was given a roster, a one-pager of game notes, and then we set up our stuff. The rest of the game was a blur, but I basically sucked shit. Had no idea what to say -- especially about soccer -- and kept saying things I learned when I was five years old kicking the mini ball around the Valley Stream Soccer League.
"He's doing a great job of defending by staying between the attacker and the goalie."
I still remember the anxiety rush hit my cheeks and my inner voice asking "what in God's name do I say?" Usually by that time the play was over and the anxiety cycle would continue. It was brutal. Also, soccer drives me bonkers. Nothing happens and nobody in the soccer world will ever admit it. Nobody. It's exciting for sure, but when it's your least favorite sport and your first radio assignment it's hard to match my zero knowledge for soccer with my zero knowledge of broadcasting.
Dayton beat Richmond 2-1. Kevin crushed it. I went home with my tail between my legs.
Maybe I didn't, though. Because my conversation with my parents is something that, to this day, changed my life.
I remember it closely because for the first time in my life, my parents couldn't lie to me. You know when you sing in the chorus in 4th grade and everyone's "just so proud" but you really were awful? That's a cute and easy lie.
This time around even Patte and Don were like, "well what else can you get involved in?"
Da fuq? You can't even lie to me about "aw Keith you sounded great. We're so proud of you."
And then it hit me.
I was that bad. I've never been that bad at something where my parents couldn't even FAKE praise.
I had to get good.
Honestly -- that's the story. I was so bad at broadcasting that it fueled me to get better.
As I write these stories, you'll find out that it's the one thing -- maybe the only thing -- that drives me. When I find out through a third-party that I personally can't do something or I'm told that "we can't make it work" I usually say eff that and do whatever is humanly possible to move mountains.
That day Dayton beat Richmond blah,blah,blah. I was horrendous.
And thank God.
Because if my parents had lied to me, I probably would have gone on in the world never knowing the truth. Because I faced the music early, it was my sole drive to turn the music around.
I loved Day 1.