The Transition

With my left arm in that ridiculous compression sling, I decided to put down my bat and pick up a mic. Once healed, I could still play rec baseball, so I began to concentrate on trying to team my passion for baseball with — oh, I don’t know — broadcasting, perhaps?

My voice was maturing into a rich, relaxing delivery. Not terribly deep, but more easy-listening. It would stand out from the crowd.

I started a radio station in my family’s basement. My dad repaired record players and other electronics for fun, so I had a pair of turntables, cassette recorders and a mic.

Once I had enough nerve to tell my friends, they reacted as though they wanted to try it, too. They brought their own music and we played radio through a real Radio Shack AM transmitter.

We didn’t care that the signal traveled less than 60-feet. We had fun creating radio.

Between that, recording my own play-by-play baseball onto cassettes and listening to radio stations more intently than ever, I talked to my folks about contacting the local radio station with a letter and one of my tapes. I offered to clean and make coffee for the opportunity to learn.

The owner (also the GM, sales manager and locally well-known morning host) called me to arrange an after-school meeting. I received a tour (studios and offices in a modest colonial house), a quick audition in the production room, and an offer to learn on-the-job!

The family-owned AM day-timer (broadcasting dawn to dusk according to FCC regulations) was six miles from home. My parents reminded me that I would be sacrificing other activities. However, if I was willing to make the commitment and this is what I really wanted, they assured me that they would provide “taxi service” until I could drive.

The stars seemed to be aligning. I could now get paid to learn broadcasting at a unique radio station that could pay even more dividends for my career.

Door Closes, Window Opens

Living near the school, I don’t have much time to think before arriving home following that first baseball practice of the season. I now realize that I need to confess to my mother, who is an RN, that my shoulders have felt weird all weekend.

Baseball activity exacerbated the situation, allowing me to experience new dimensions in pain. Just as I’d expected, no more baseball practice for me until we see the doctor.

I’ll spare you the gory details. The result? Cracked clavicle in my lead shoulder.

I wear a pressure sling for six weeks. Following that eternity, the doctor–as though he’s ordering dinner–calmly tells my parents that we’ll need another couple of weeks in the sling. Ugh.

I couldn’t wait to ceremoniously burn that sling, and now I need to begin another countdown to freedom from it. The high school season is lost, but I recover in time to play teener ball with my friends.

I never recover enough to make an impression on the high school coach. I never hit well enough anyway.

My right shoulder is never treated. I still feel that sensation across my shoulders when lifting weighty items a certain way.

Now what? I absolutely love baseball. I love to play. I love its strategy.

It’s the perfectly balanced sport between team and individual performance. Its math adds up: three outs per inning, nine innings, 90 feet between perfectly squared bases. How can this part of my life become part of my future?

I listen to games on the radio. A nationally televised MLB game is a real treat when you only receive three network stations from your antenna.

I call the local radio station for advice on how to begin a career in broadcasting. Most of the rest, as they say, is history.