Superfan takes turn behind mic

This was a huge week for this Christopher Newport fan. Prior to this week my involvement with CNU sports was fairly minimal, mostly just contributing to athletics and attending basketball and football games.

On Tuesday a few of my snippets about each CNU game was put into the Daily Press, a local paper, by writer Jennifer Williams. It was nice to be recognized by someone as a knowledgeable fan. The article referred to me as, “superfan.” As of Tuesday, my daughter, Casey, had to call me Superfan Dad. Little did I know that the title would change in 24 hours.

On Wednesday I was asked if I could cover for Tracey Cooper, the analyst for CNU radio. The play by play guy, Francis Tommasino and I are friends, neighbors, and fantasy football enemies and he was gracious enough to think of me for the job. Never mind that I had been bugging him about it for years. He asked, “Is Superfan ready for the broadcast booth?” I said yes and now my daughter has to call me, Superfan Radio Announcer Dad. She said, “Loser” is easier to remember!

I’ve never done this before and wanted to make sure I did a good job. So, I went to the official sites for both teams and downloaded stats, media guides, and game day notes. I went to JTs site, and obtained info. Thanks JT! I even heeded some last minute email advice from Pat Coleman. Thanks Pat! This is fun! If I spent as much time preparing for my fantasy league I’d probably do a little better.

I was up at 6:30 on Saturday. It was time to prepare. I was pumped. I had to be there around 10:30. Air time was 12:30 and I was curious about the amount of lead time and preparation needed to go on the air.

When I arrived, Tommasino went over the pregame schedule. I was impressed. What I thought was something fairly casual, was really well choreographed. He told me that we go on the air at 12:30. First commercial break was 12:32 for 2 minutes. Then, we would be on the air from 12:34 to 12:37….and on and on. Now, I was feeling stressed. Timetables!! It was second nature to Francis. He mentioned to me this was his 65th broadcast of CNU football. Add to that all the hoops games and also the games he did at St. Bonaventure, and you get the picture. He’s a professional.

He checked the headsets and equipment, called into the radio station and set things up quickly. He explained technical things to me and we tried to figure out what was wrong with my headset. I had noise in my left ear, which I learned the technical term was “hum.” A nice simple technical term. Also, we were informed that live stats would not be available either. Now I really felt handicapped.

The game started and I began to relax a little. My son, Stephen, sent a text message: “shut ur hole!” OK, he buys his own gas this week!

Tommasino is an ultimate professional. He made me feel comfortable and was re-assuring during commercials. He would also prompt me with cues as he talked in order to let me know when it would be good for some of my comments. It’s more difficult than I ever thought it would be. I would try to add something semi-intelligent between plays. But Rowan was often using a no-huddle, so there were times when I didn’t have much of a chance to talk. I think one thing that I lacked in accomplishing was providing game stats. I could have done a better job. I felt I was talking and thinking about what to say at the same time. I caught myself splitting sentences in the middle, connecting them together by repeating a word. I was very aware of trying to stay away from slang and the dreaded “umm” or “like” too often. I also caught myself starting sentences with “yeah” or “absolutely” whenever Tommasino made a good point. Rookie mistakes. I’m sure when I hear the archived broadcast I’ll not like what I hear. It’ll be my “game film.” I wonder how I will grade out?

When it is archived I would like Llamaguy, Matt, and the gang from Bridgewater to check it out. While giving out scores I mentioned the BC game and gave some recognition to my good D3 friends at Stone Station. I said you were “good people.” I had the honor of hosting a Stone Station communion ceremony at CNU last year. I’m looking forward to the next time!

This radio experience brought me closer to CNU sports and D3 sports overall. I understand better the passion about D3 sports that Pat, Ryan, Keith, JT and others have. It was a different perspective. I’d like to do the radio gig more often. I think I could get good at it. I wonder if Superfan will ever get to be Superfan Radio Announcer again.

One thing I have to mention. I was deeply touched watching this happen. The coaches’ box was next to the radio booth, separated by glass. In the booth was former CNU standout at safety, Justin Long. He graduated last year and is now a coach. Younger brother Matt, a sophomore, stepped into Justin’s position. Matt set a CNU record today by intercepting three passes. The second interception was crucial. It changed momentum. I looked over to the coaches’ booth after that interception. The initial reaction by Justin was that he was pumped up, fists in the air, and he was very intense. I thought he was going to run down to the field and hit someone. Then a few seconds later when I looked over again, he was wiping tears from his eyes. He was extremely proud of little brother.

That one slight moment in time told me a lot about the Long family…..and I’ve never met them. I think that image will stay with me a long time. I get to meet them in Texas next week. I’m sure it will be one of the highlights of my trip.

This week I continue being more than a regular fan. The Captains are headed to Belton, Texas, to take on No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor. CNU offered tickets on the team plane to fans. I jumped at the chance. My only worry is that in the snippet for the newspaper, I predicted a large UMHB win. Maybe I’ll have to ride home stuffed in the overhead carry-on compartment!

Hopefully, Pat and the gang will be kind enough to allow me to blog my experiences on the team plane.