Those of us in broadcasting joke a lot about how fake the business is. I wear makeup. Often. I use product in my hair. Often. I worry about the Midwest winters ruining whatever white-boy tan I have. Does this suit make me look fat? Does my analyst make me look like a midget? Sounds silly, but we think about this stuff.
So, you could imagine the thoughts racing through my head the last couple of weeks after it was discovered that I had a tumor growing inside my jaw bone. After today, I am one step closer to being rid of it. But, there is no good way for a person who makes a living off his face/voice to tackle this problem. Scar on the face, swollen tongue, hot pink hair, all but one of those are possible end results of this.
All signs point to this being a benign growth, but how do you look your doctors in the face and say, “Yeah, we need to handle this, but I need to be on camera next Tuesday?” To me, broadcasting is life. It’s what I do. To my nurses and doctors, it almost sounds foreign. I thought about the CPAs, lawyers, servicemen and others who could easily return to work and deal with minor discomfort and some swelling. I hate the fact that my job can literally be inhibited by (almost) superficial byproducts of the body’s healing process.
So, here I am pondering the harsh realities of family, health and career. I’ve been on this Earth for 32 years and only thought about the day in front of me. Then, you lay there with a sexy hair net and a gown that ties in the back and you see your future. (Speaking of which, is there anything more cruel and unusual than the hospital gown? ‘Hello, we know you are a little concerned about today and perhaps not feeling well, so here is a human Rubik’s Cube of dress. You wanna tie it in a bow? Hahaha, good luck. The nurse will be right with you.’)
As I have grown older, I’ve learned to rally around a few key philosophies:
1) Life takes care of itself. If it weren’t for a recent move and the need to get my 2-year-old to a dentist, I never would have used a coupon that led to the X-Ray that discovered my ailment. Call it divine intervention or what you want. I call it a Master Plan. Respect life (and others) and trust its course.
2) Recognize what is important. I am broadcasting the Presidents Cup next weekend. I’ve booked some solid work through 2013. Last night, I read my son two books and fell asleep holding his little hand. Two of those points are irrelevant and one is everything in the grand scheme of things. And, hugging my wife this week has never felt better.
3) Don’t complain and kick butt. Nike got it right with the “Just Do It” slogan. It’s weird. This recent diagnosis has actually made me realize how blessed I really am. Not unlucky. Not damned. Lucky.
I’ve got one more procedure to go, and perhaps some treatment. And I won’t miss a beat. Why? Because life is too short and I’ve been given too much in 32 years not to repay life by taking full advantage.
It has been a wonderful 2013, complete with my first full season on the PGA Tour, largely with SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. My colleague, Fred Albers, who writes as an insider for PGATour.com made his mid-season predictions while we were all gathered in New Orleans in late April. It was Friday night and he asked the following questions (amongst many):
1. Name a first-time winner on Tour the rest of the season. My answer: Billy Horschel (did it two days later) and Harris English (did it in June)
2. Predict who will win the FedEx Cup. My answer: Matt Kuchar
So, here we are, just hours before the start of the Tour Championship, and I am sticking with my pick. Thankfully, Kuuuch (there is no appropriate way of spelling his nickname, btw) is inside the top 5 of FedEx Cup points heading into East Lake, which means he can win the tournament and win the cup. Our margin for error is low, however, as any finish outside of a T2 and the math doesn’t add up very well. So, why my confidence? Given his top 5 standing, I give you the top 5 reasons:
1. “Did Somebody Say 59?!” – I was with Matt on Saturday morning at Conway Farms during the third round of the BMW Championship. Birdies at 16 (nearly holed his shot from the fairway) and 17 put him in position to shoot the magic number for the second time in less than 24 hours. Of course, he needed an albatross on the closing par 5. No big deal, right? Well, he damn-near did it. hopping the ball on the green from 250+ and rolling it by the cub by a dimple or two (he 2-putted for a 61). Afterwards, when I spoke with him, he said he knew he needed to hole it for a 59, so he tried. That just shows how dialed in his game is right now when he needs it to be. [Yes, I am ignoring the 74-73-73 in the other 3 rounds. Call it hopeful blinders]
2. In that same interview, I asked Matt about knowing where he stood for FedEx Cup positioning. His answer was expected. Paraphrasing, he said he didn’t understand how anybody could play well focusing on all of that. Okay, I agree. Keep it simple. This week, win and you win. There, mind cleared. Good for Matt! Plus, he didn’t even know he was in the top 5, until Keegan Bradley told him. Energy boost!
3. He was a star at Georgia Tech, and the Yellow Jackets count East Lake as one of their home courses (in rotation; wow, tough life). Last 3 times at the Tour Championship: 25th, then 20th, then 10th last year. Can somebody say trending?!
4. Brandt Snedeker won it all last year and entered the week in the #5 spot. You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?
5. So, Matt has struggled a bit in hitting fairways (128th on Tour), which is a must at East Lake. Don’t fret. It all comes down to the putter. We’ve left the bent grass of the Midwest, and Matt will take his 18th rank in strokes gained (putting) and 1st in 3-putt avoidance to the quick, Bermuda greens and laugh at those missed fairways while putting himself to a title.
Did I convince you? Well, I don’t know if I convinced myself, but a man sticks with his pick. Here we go, Kuuuch!
I was born in Indianapolis. I went to school in Indianapolis. I live in Indianapolis. I work… everywhere BUT Indianapolis. That has been the way life’s opportunities have shifted over the past few years. In 2013, I will have broadcast sports in roughly 20 states and every-sized city imaginable. When I come back to Indy, I miss being engaged in the local sports scene (beyond being a fan), so I did something about it.
Starting next week, and throughout the school year, I am pleased to be a part of a new show on Fox Sports Indiana and Midwest: The Chevrolet Indiana Prep Zone. It’s a magazine/feature type show that airs weekly on Thursday afternoons at 5:00 p.m., and while I won’t be reporting very often, I will have a weekly segment of high school news and notes. Who’s injured, who set a record or who has committed to college. Any sport, any school. It’s all fair game.
My role is nothing fancy or spectacular, but it gives me a reason to be engaged with central Indiana sports, and that is important to me. I got my start broadcasting for North Central High School, and it has been 14 years since I last needed to pay close attention to the best in the prep ranks of the IHSAA. I can’t wait to learn about some of the best stories.
It’s been a few weeks since I last talked for a living. And it will be a few weeks more. I’m not complaining about having six weeks off, but broadcasting (for me) is like a drug. You just want more. I want to call shots, or chat with somebody about sports. So…..
I am looking forward to September. I’ll be with the fellas on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio covering the third of four FedEx Cup playoff events: The BMW Championship, this year at Conway Farms in Chicago, will have 70 players vying for 30 spots in the Tour Championship. Can’t wait to head up I-65 and call some golf.
From there, some things brewing with golf on ESPNU and maybe the Presidents Cup. Also, something local with Indiana high school sports (and FOX) will be formalized shortly. Stay tuned…
The launch of my new website aims to serve multiple purposes. It’s a way to organize. It’s a way to share. It’s a way to talk. But, let’s be honest: The website serves to improve my business. While I am blessed to call sports, I do it for a living. Promoting the brand of my business is crucial in a brutally competitive marketplace.
The timing of creating this site came at a very interesting time for me. With golf season (and work with the PGA Tour) winding down, looking forward to college sports season was next. And that means college basketball!
For the third time in the last seven years, there is an opening at my alma mater. The beloved role as ‘Voice of Butler Basketball’ is on the open market. And, it pains me a bit to say this: I have turned down the opportunity to handle those play-by-play duties for the 2013-14 season. It really boiled down to timing and circumstances. It was a dream job for me, especially after spending six seasons alongside Chris Denari and Ralph Reiff on the Butler Radio Network.
But, this is a business. I had to weigh all of the options for both my career and my family. It wasn’t easy, but it was the correct choice. It also helps to have such great support from the Horizon League and the good folks at Webstream Sports. I look forward to another full college season with both of them, while I watch/listen to the Dawgs as a fan.
UPDATE: I was not surprised to learn that Mark Minner got the job, and I am thrilled for him. As somebody who served in his previous role for six seasons (and did not get the promotion to the big chair), it was awesome to see somebody get rewarded for that work and loyalty.
To say I’m an enthusiast puts it mildly. On the green, behind the mic and in print, I’m really a storyteller. I tell the stories of players and their sports alike– sometimes from 288 feet above field or court, others from within reach of the athletes. Regardless of my position in the event, I get to tell its story. And I can help tell yours. Welcome to my site!