How hard is it to talk about what you love?

Josh Dillon, IVLeader Sports Editor

I’ll readily admit I wasn’t the greatest athlete in the world as a kid, but what I lacked in physical stature, I made up for in knowing what I was playing forwards, backwards, sideways, and diagonally.
That’s why I decided a long time ago that if I wasn’t going to be able to hack it on the field, I was going to be one of those guys in the booth that were paid to talk about the game. And 10 to 12-year old me thought that would be the easiest job in the world: With a high salary and a happy job, I’d be happy the rest of my days as a broadcaster.
So, now let’s fast-forward 10 years to 24-year old me deciding re-pursuing that dream. I apply to IVCC and with a little luck, not only land the Sports Editor position for the paper but an internship doing color commentary at 99.3 WAJK across the street.
People who are familiar with me know that I can talk about sports for a long time. I can rattle off statistics, facts, interesting tidbits (to some), and just about anything else you can think of and what you can’t without too much trouble. But, that first week of Red Devil Football I was silent. Suddenly, the fear of making a mistake or sounding dumb saying something that didn’t make sense was present in me.
This had never happened before. I couldn’t believe my own individual mentality of keeping quiet through that first quarter. I was so angry and upset at how I felt that I decided the rest of that game and the season, I was going to let it fly and say whatever popped into my head.
A few misnamed players and a fun first season full of happy times and mistakes came to follow, but this season I was asked to come back and do it again.
One thing you have to realize is that there are two different broadcasters responsible for very different things.
My job as a color commentator is to watch a play and diagnose why it happened. I’m the icing on top of the cake as it may, while I listen and learn from Mike Barrie, who is an amazing influence for this kind of career.
Mike’s job is to tell the listeners what is happening with the ball. His entire purpose is to paint that picture using words and there are days I’m not quite sure how he does it. I’m being groomed into that role this season, as I take over play-by-play duties for the third quarter of every game, and eventually will be given the opportunity to take a full-game when Hall plays my alma mater Amboy High School in October.
The thing with this field is that it’s very competitive and I’m hoping that between the experience I get here and anything I get from where I transfer will give me a leg up on my competitors to get me where I want to be.
It’s a long and winding road, but I’ve always been told that if you’re going to have to work your whole life, you may as well do something you enjoy. And you better believe that I plan to take everything I’ve learned thus far and use it to better those who follow me.
The next time you watch a game on television, close your eyes for a moment and listen to those broadcasters. If you can see in your mind what’s going on from their words, then you’re witnessing something phenomenal.
Don’t take for granted the Al Michaels, Vin Scully, or Marv Alberts of the world because they are few and far between.