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Even at 28, childhood dreams come true

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.

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.