Even at 28, childhood dreams come true

Published 11:32 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

When I was a kid, I watched games. That wasn’t unusual, a lot of kids watch games. Football, basketball, whatever. I enjoyed them. But I watched it differently than most.

A lot of people look at the game and don’t care to hear from the commentary team. I listened intently to that team. Baseball was my favorite.

Most boys my age liked Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa or David Justice.

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Not me. Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Don Sutton. Those were my favorites. Those were the guys that added extra life to the game.

So I started to pay attention to how they did things. And, for whatever reason, I decided I wanted to do play-by-play. In fact, that was the reason I became interested in sports journalism in the first place.

Eventually, I found myself either correcting the announcers or saying what they were going to say before they said it. That practice drove my dad crazy.

I guess I was about 13 years old when my dad banned me from watching games with him. It was a sad day.

In college, I had friends and roommates who wanted me to do the play-by-play for their NCAA Football clashes on Xbox. I obliged because, well, when else was I going to get the opportunity? And that was really the end of it. I hadn’t thought about it in years.

Then, Wednesday, Randy Hale wound up getting stuck calling a Marengo Academy double-header by himself for yourschoollive.com. In between games, he recruited me to come be his broadcast partner. I obliged because, well, when else was I going to get the opportunity?

So I finally got the chance to call a baseball game, a contest that turned into a three-and-a-half-hour marathon that featured 37 runs and one ejection. Wow. That was fun. Then the next day, I was recruited to do it again in the fifth inning. So, after years of studying the intricacies of play-by-play broadcasting, I finally got the chance to do it. And, I have to say, it is one of the most fun things I have ever done. It may never happen again, but my thanks go out to Chuck Barkley, Randy Hale and Skip Caray for the for the opportunity and helping me realize a childhood dream.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.