I have been very fortunate in my career in a lot of ways. I have seen great things. I have made amazing friends. I have also been lucky enough to attend the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Associatoion Annual Convention in Salisbury North Carolina. Five times in the last six years, I have attended as the Rhode Island Sportscaster of the Year. It’s an honor that humbles me, and I am extremely grateful to recognized by my contemporaries. The incredible people of Salisbury roll out the red carpet to me and the other statewide and national honorees. In particular, Dave Goren, a Massachusetts native, now the executive director for the NSSA and Dr. Joel and Joyce Goodwin, my hosts, are some of the nicest folks I have ever met. I’ve used the analogy before and I hope it isn’t insulting to those people, but I feel like I’m in an episode of the old Andy Griffith show. A trip to a bygone era, where the people of Mayberry (Salisbury) take the time to say “Good morning” or “thanks.”
The annual convention this year was held over the weekend and I was as excited to be there as I was the first time I went. I want to take a moment to recognize the Sportswriter of the Year from R.I., Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times. Brendan won for the second straight year. Along with statewide winners like Joe D’Ambrosio of Connecticut and Paul Keels from Ohio, and Dan Shaughnessy of Massachusetts, the National honorees and Hall fo Famers were there, as well.
Dan Shulman of ESPN is the epitome of class. The play by play man, a Canadian, brought along an entourage of color analysts that included the great Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas, Orel Hershiser and Terry Francona. Shulman is a humble and very nice guy and well-deserving.
The National Sportswriter was Joe Posnanski, formerly of Sports Illustrated. He is one of best story tellers that I have ever encountered. If you’ve never read Joe, find him. You won’t be disappointed. Look for his book on the late Joe Paterno, out in the coming months.
John Feinstein, who is currently writing a book on minor league baseball, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He has already written 29 books. He estimated that he had been fired from his job at the Washington Post 47 times. He’s still there, by the way.
My personal highlight was seeing the amazing Bob Costas. Overall, he’s been my favorite broadcaster for many years. The guy is ageless and more talented than probably everyone else in that room, combined. He is off to London, to host his ninth Olympic Games for NBC, more than anyone else, including the immortal Jim McKay.
I was inspired and entertained. I remembered why I got into this business years ago. For me, it was listening to Chris Clark doing Providence College Basketball and Ned Martin calling Red Sox games. Those men transported me to places that I felt the need to see up close and personal. Thankfully, in my career, I have. My dream took me to Salisbury this past weekend. It was another great experience.