Category Archives: Memory Monday

Memory Monday – The Coldest Hockey Game Ever

Growing up in rural Iowa I really didn’t have much of a connection to the sport of hockey.  The closest I really got was seeing a random game on television… and playing floor hockey in gym class.

That changed my junior year in high school.  I was working part-time at a local radio station and our sports director was also the public address announcer for the Waterloo Blackhawks.  He knew there would be times he’d have to miss a hockey game due to covering high school sports on the radio so he asked if I’d fill in for him.

The idea of being on the mic in a sports arena was appealing… but I was a little nervous since I knew absolutely nothing about hockey.  He assured me that I’d do fine and pointed out there would be two guys keeping stats and running the scoreboard that would help me out.

He also explained that the job wasn’t that hard.  Announce the starting line-ups.  Mis-pronouncing an opposing team members name was fine but he gave me a crash course in the hometeam’s names so I had that down.

Whenever there was a score I’d announce the time of the goal, who shot it, and who assisted.  The only other part to the job was calling out program winners.  “Blackhawk fans, turn to page “whatever” in your program. If you have a red star in the pizza ad bring your program to the announcer’s booth to get your prize.”

Yep.  I passed out prizes.  That’s also how I got paid.  I didn’t make any money.  My payment was getting to keep any prizes that went uncollected.  Over the course of the two seasons that I filled in, I walked away with lots of free pizzas, movie passes, bowling, and similar freebies.

My favorite part of that job was at the very beginning of every game.  After warm-ups, the team would leave the ice, have a little pre-game meeting/pep talk and then come back ready to play.

As they skated back on the ice, Gun’s N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle” would blare from the loudspeakers and I’d take to the mic. “Here come the Blackhawks!”  The crowd would go wild.  It really was quite a rush.

By now, you’re probably starting to wonder why this post is titled: The Coldest Hockey Game Ever.  It all goes back to my very first hockey game and my very first time announcing.

I wanted to fit in so I thought I’d wear team colors.  I chose a red t-shirt and black vest to go with my jeans.  Go ahead and laugh but vests were popular then.

Perhaps you noticed the flaw in my wardrobe selection.  I forgot to take into consideration that I’d be sitting on a slab of ice for two hours!  Adrenaline kept me warm for the first part of the game but by the 3rd period, I was frozen.  I got in my car and blasted the heat at the end of the night.

It was a lesson learned and after that, I dressed warmer.  A lot warmer!  That was one of the most interesting and fun part-time jobs I’ve ever done.

What’s a fun/interesting job you’ve had?

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Memory Monday – Blue Lights, Cassette Deck, And A Sunroof

Think back to your first car.  What was it? What do you remember most about it?

My first vehicle was a 1982 Chevy Cavalier.  It was a blue, 4 door with a four-speed stick transmission.  I loved that car.  Mostly because it was mine.  I did everything I could to personalize it, too.

Since it was blue, I stuck with that color scheme.  I had a blue shoe string dangling from the rearview mirror.  Hanging on that shoestring was a Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure.  He was the turtle with the blue bandana.

I also took a page out of my Dad’s playbook. He shared how he put lights under the seats of his first car.  They would glow in the dark and look cool.  I found some rear back-up lights with blue covers and mounted them under the seats of my Cavalier.

A lighted blue switch on the dash turned them on and off.  My Dad was right.  They did look cool.  Plus, it made me keep my car clean.  After all, who would want to shine a blue spotlight on floorboard trash?

That first vehicle of mine came with the standard radio. Not cool when you’re 16.  I wanted to play my music when I wanted to.  While I had the dash apart putting in the floor light switch I swapped out the stock radio for one that had a cassette player.  Pretty fancy for the time.

The other modification that I made to that first vehicle was one that I couldn’t do myself.  I saved up my money to have a local auto shop install a sunroof.  That sunroof was awesome.  Popping it open was the first thing I did when I got in on nice days.

I’m sure today my kids would think a 1982 Chevy Cavalier is a dorky vehicle… but I thought it was cool back in the day!

What did you do to make your first vehicle “yours”?

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Memory Monday – Missing Tom Petty

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions.  I woke to the news of the mass shooting at a Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas.

Then in the afternoon, we learned Tom Petty had been found at his home in cardiac arrest and was removed from life support.  There were confirmed reports of his death that were later recanted.  Then a final word that he had indeed passed.

As I thought about Tom Petty this afternoon I was reminded about the time I almost saw him in concert.  I was 16, his song Free Fallin’ was a new radio hit, and someone in my school had won tickets on the radio and couldn’t go.

My buddy and I thought it’d be fun concert so I bought the tickets for $20 a piece.  When I got home I realized that I shouldn’t have bought them.

You see, back then, concerts were a special event. Not a regular occurrence… and in my area, the big ones were always held at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.  That was doable.  It was less than an hour from my house and my friend knew Ames well.  His family were Iowa State fans and made many trips there to see the Cyclones play.

The thing is our tickets weren’t for a show in Ames.  They were for Iowa City.  A town that was 2.5 hours away and a town we weren’t familiar with.  We knew we’d never be able to convince our parents to let us go so we sold the tickets.

This was well before social media.  There was no posting about tickets for sale online.  I actually had to ask around.  It took some doing but a teacher ended up buying them.  He said it was a great show.

I’ve seen a lot of concerts over the years but I never did make it to a Tom Petty show… and now I never will.

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