Thursday night, 10:05pm.
Gary West Side wound up winning last night, and as expected East Chicago beat up on a defenseless Munster by 20. Nice prediction, but it's still hard to watch your alma mater go down so hard. Luke Hackett, Munster's leading scorer, was out with mono. Munster started two freshmen, and that's always tough in Indiana high school basketball sectionals.
To review, I announced the Lowell over Lake Central game on Tuesday night, then hung out for the West Side win over Highland on Wednesday night. Sam Michael took play-by-play on that one. I announced and Kusiak did color for the main event - EC vs. Munster - in the late game last night.
Something cool did happen near the end of the EC game. Kusiak, who had been on the morning show and then did color for most of two games in the evening - on top of running a roofing company all day - got a little tired. So with four minutes left in the Munster-EC game, my nephew Al put on a headset and did color commentary with me. Caller Dennis summed it up this morning on the show -
"That was really cool when your 12-year-old nephew Al came on the air with you last night. He's got quite the future."
"Yeah," I said. "It was the debut of Sam Michael and Al Dedelow. One day you'll be able to say you were listening to WJOB for this historic broadcast."
I was 23 when I did my first sporting event on WJOB. Al is 12, but we wound up doing the same thing in our debut.
In mine - 1985 - WJOB sports director Mike Farkas sent me out to announce the Irish John Collins vs. Michael Landini fight at the Hammond Civic Center. I got the assignment because I boxed at Cal. Place was packed. Back then you could smoke and there was this huge cloud of haze over the ring and the upper deck. Paul Roberts, my chosen color guy, and I got seats ringside to announce the fight.
In the first round, Irish John Collins landed a stiff right hook to Landini's jaw. Mouthpiece went flying, head jerked around, blood in the air.
"Wow. Ooh. Wow," was all I could say. It took me a good ten seconds to gather myself and tell what happened. You can imagine what the listeners were thinking.
"What the hell's happening? What does 'wow, ooh, wow' mean?"
It meant the same thing to WJOB listeners 31 years ago that it meant last night when my 12-year-old nephew did basically the same thing. Damien Jefferson of East Chicago stole the ball and then dribbled down and dunked hard over a Munster defender.
"Wow, ooh, wow," Al said several times, louder than my underlying call of the play. I realized then that Al could probably do radio when he gets older. It's all in the genes.
Wow, ooh, wow
A cat jumped over a stick
Bing, zang, boom
Quite the surprise
Quite the trick
After the game, I gave Al and nieces Meg and Maddy and their friend Eleanor a ride home from East Chicago and came home and passed out. Sorry I didn't blog to the three or four of you what the night was like... but to tell you the truth, as far as sectional nights from the John A Barato Center, it wasn't all that exciting. Sure, Damien Jefferson's 23 points was something to see (He'll play at the University of New Mexico next year), but there wasn't the pizazz of past Munster - EC matchups.
... On the show this morning, Hammond mayor Tom McDermott sat with me for a while. We discussed how McDermott and his unfiltered bluntness is similar to what Trump's doing on a national stage. I asked McDermott why his straightforwardness seems to work as mayor of Hammond.
"Because it's Hammond. We're Region Rats, rough and tumble. We don't want BS...."
That's what McDermott said, or something to that effect. He said he wasn't sure if his blunt methods could work statewide, but they work with the tough lot found in Hammond. We also discussed McDermott's wife, Marissa, running for judge. It's nasty politics going on. He and his wife are the upstarts. Established Democrats ain't likin' it. Could get ugly. Could make some good radio. Listen to the podcast of today's show on this site, if you want.
... A real sad one came out on the air also this morning. North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan III told how his daughter a couple of weeks ago complained of tingling in her shoulders and pain in her legs. Within a day, she couldn't walk. Turns out she has Gilean-Barre syndrome, which is often a side effect of vaccinations. It's very serious. If the three or four of you were driving around and were listening to Frank tell the story, I'll bet that you let go some moisture in your eyes. I certainly did. So did Frank when Whiting mayor Joe Stahura came up to him in the studio after the show.... and hugged him.
"Frank, I am so sorry. It's the first I heard."
Frank held it together for 25 minutes on the show... but at the end I said something to the effect of... "Frank, on behalf of my family and the WJOB family, and all the listeners, our hearts are with you. We will pray for Genevieve." And then Stahura came in the studio... and that was about it for Frank. He is very close to Genevieve, a typical 13-year-old with attitude. A great volleyball player. Right now she can't walk really or move her right arm, but you know and I know that she will heal.