Feb. 19 has always stuck in my mind because it was on that date that I entered the U.S. Air Force. Boy, the things that went through my mind that next morning while waiting for the T.I. to reappear. He had made quite an impression upon our arrival the previous night. I do recall one question running through my mind over and over again – “What have I done?!?”
It was pretty much a . . .
There are so many things in my air force experience that have never left me – good and bad, but mostly the former. For example, it was a University of Maryland instructor who gave me a tip that changed my writing forever. That not only helped me through school, it led to a journalism career.
My air force job (aerial reconnaissance cameras/sensors) included some very basic principles on photography, and that actually came in handy as I later developed an interest in photography.
To this day, writing and photography are passions of mine. Combining them with sports just enhanced everything. While it didn’t seem like it on the morning of Feb. 20, an important life journey was beginning.
Another notable date this week was Feb 22, which marked the 37th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. A group of basically college hockey players knocked off the seemingly invincible Soviet team in Lake Placid 4-3 that day. Fortunately, the Americans went on to defeat Finland two days later in the actual gold medal game. Fortunately, also, there is video of both.
It can be difficult to relate the impact of historical things to younger people who were not around at the time, but video of that final minute against the Soviets really seems capture the spirit of the scene.
LAST MINUTE HERE
So tense was the competition, it was fortunate that broadcaster Al Michaels waited until just three seconds remained to blurt out, “Do you believe in miracles?” By that time, the puck was far enough away to pose no threat, and viewers across America answered with a yell, “YESSSS!!!
It seems like that event popularized chanting, “USA, USA, USA ...” I only there wish were in such a national mindset today. Instead, we have devolved into a nation of agendas operating in a political climate virtually devoid of compromise and/or cooperation.
Our daily fare -- media-wise, anyway – is a heaping dish of vitriol and acrimony. I’ve never even liked the smell of that stuff, so I am really looking forward to Feb. 24. That is the day I can listen to my first 2017 spring training game on radio. That means opening day can’t be all that far away. That means I can often look forward to several hours a day of baseball.
I love for my teams to win, but beyond that, baseball itself has a value we sometimes overlook. Especially during the regular season, it is a time to relax and enjoy people playing a game on a well-manicured play yard. There are beverages and food – all on the cheap if you are enjoying from home.
Moreover, you can come and go pretty much as you please – even run a few errands. Some of the great broadcasters have been radio voices telling us stories of games across thousands of days and nights. They are voices we often grow accustomed to hearing through good times and bad.
Some of my earliest memories are of my grandfather “warming up” the radio so we could listen to Waite Hoyt call the Cincinnati Reds games. This was necessary because he had a “tube” radio, and it took the tubes a few minutes to warm up for operation. He never seemed to miss a game. Since my father really wasn’t a sports fan at that time, it was these radio broadcasts that really kind of introduced me to sports.
Of course, we can now watch almost every game of the season. Regardless of whether its radio or television, however, I know one group who is probably particularly anxious for the MLB season. That group is seniors.
A few will go “old school,” actually keeping a scorebook on games. Most just enjoy a light variety to their days, along with some companionship. I’ve heard from heartfelt letters of seniors – some of them blind – who expressed their appreciation to broadcasters for brightening their days. For major league players and coaches, I suppose the season can seem very long. For many seniors, that long season is a good thing.