If you're like me, the sports year is divided up into segments...and right now we're in a lean time.
The football season came to an end with the Super Bowl.
It's still a few weeks before baseball season gets going - and then it's still only Spring Training.
There's a whole lot of regular season NBA and NHL right now, as well as NCAA Basketball, but none of that gets me too excited.
As a matter of fact, nothing matters now until March Madness tips off.
But there is one event that I enjoy to help pass a little bit of that time:
If you're unfamiliar with the event (as I was until I experienced it for the first time 15 years or so ago), it's an annual tradition where the four big Boston college hockey teams get together in a mini-tournament the first two Mondays in February.
Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, and Harvard play two matchups each Monday - the winners of the first week face off for the Beanpot trophy the second week. The games take place at the Boston Garden (TD Garden?), and it's a big deal, especially for us BU grads, for whom a year without a Beanpot championship is unusual.
This year for some reason has me kind of nostalgic.
My senior year at BU I called the hockey games on the college radio station along with Justin from Sports Crackle Pop!
Calling those games is probably my favorite college memory. And calling the Beanpot was the best of those memories.
It was my first true press box experience - at the top floor of the FleetCenter Justin and I had a room reserved for us and we did our best to adhere to the "No cheering in the press box" rule. But BU was playing BC in the first round, and we knew we were going to call the next week's games (for some reason we didn't call the first round). So we desperately wanted that to be the championship game against Northeastern or Harvard, and not the consolation game. When BU beat BC, we did our best to contain our excitement, but there was a lot of fist-pumping and stifled screaming.
A few things stand out about calling that championship game (the picture above left is of that 1999 Beanpot championship team):
-Since I was in my last year at BU and Justin had another year of calling games, I remember I got to call the 1st and 3rd periods. Justin is a good friend.
-I remember while waiting for the game to get underway we had 'Everybody Loves Raymond' on the press box television.
-I remember BU goaltender Michel LaRocque having an incredible game.
-I remember feeling like I talked too much right after BU won and wishing I had let some crowd noise tell the story.
-I remember thinking that I would enjoy making a living doing this.
I still think about how much I would love to be a play-by-play guy. I enjoy teaching, but the play-by-play route is the only thing in my life that I wonder "What if..." about. And I'm still relatively young...I wonder if there's a grand plan where I'll still end up getting a chance someday...even at a minor league level.
Whenever I watch a game I think about who's calling it. I wonder if they have a family. And how that family reacts with that broadcaster being away so much. And if the gig they're doing now is their primary gig. And if it is, what do they do the rest of the year. And if it requires a ton of travel during that part of the year. And then I wonder if other people think the same thing when they watch these sports.
Here's part of the problem: I think I was a pretty good broadcaster. I never sent out too many tapes. I think I only got one rejection letter - from the Quad City Mallards, a minor league hockey team. There were a few other jobs I applied for that I never heard back from. I settled down pretty quickly in Boston, and I lost the desire to travel to Boise, Idaho or Quad City, Iowa to work my way from the bottom up.
But this weekend, in anticipation of the Beanpot, I listened to some of my old resume tape. Yeah, on some of my calls I talked too fast...but they were exciting plays. On some of the longer plays I submitted I think I was pretty good. One thing listening to the calls did do: they gave me a good feeling inside as I thought about the games, the experiences with Justin, the donuts in the press box, and the great feeling that I couldn't believe I was so lucky to be calling a game - all I had ever thought about doing growing up.
Maybe I'll get that feeling again somewhere down the line.
In the meantime - or in case you have a play-by-play job available - here's a sample: