by Pete WEBER
As of Janusry 19, I am officially a "Bloomin' Boomer." Turning 50 is not a milestone for me, but it helps me remind me how lucky I have been throughout my first half-century of life.
Growing up a sports fanatic in the Midwest, I was always involved: whether it was playing and practicing, going to games, devouring the sports sections, listening to the radio, or making sure I caught as many of the marquee games as I could on television.
My dad saw to it that I followed him to Notre Dame, and before I set foot on the the campus as a student , he took me there for the games. Among my fondest post-graduation memories: being at the Sugar Bowl to watch my alma mater beat Bear Bryant's Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship.
Speaking of birthdays--how about being there when Notre Dame ended UCLA's 88-game winning streak on my 23rd?
I was never much of an athlete, but I was drawn to my role in life listening to Harry Cary call the Cardinals' games on KMOX. Harry captured my imagination. He conveyed the excitement, as well as a game's turning points, better than anyone I have ever heard. You could tell it was a passion for him, not a job.
How lucky have I been, following Harry's career path since 1972?
First of all, I was fortunate enough to spend so much of my professional career (18 years of it) in Western New York. Sam Anson and I were the first sports department at WEBR NewsRadio 970, starting in 1976. We covered the Bills, Braves, Sabres and all the college sports.
Wanting to broadcast the games themselves took me away from Western New York and off to the West Coast for 4 years, but what a return I had.
I spent 13 wonderful summers broadcasting the Bisons games, from War Memorial Stadium to Pilot Field. It was special watching current major leaguers like Moises Alou, Jay Bell, and Rick Reed at the beginnings of their careers.
In football I was lucky enough to be part of the radio broadcast team for four staright Super Bowls. In hockey I was the radio voice for the Sabres for their last season in the Aud and the first season at Marine Midland Arena. This is not to overlook calling a Bandit's championship and being invloved in the Empire Sports Network as it emerged into the force it is today.
Best of all, I met my wife through sports. Claudia and I were introduced at a hockey game in the Aud. Naturally enough, I proposed to the love of my life at a baseball game.
Reaching the age of 50 doesn't mean that I have no more goals. I still want to broadcast a Stanley Cup Fianl Series. I also want to write at least one book. Yes, these first 50 years have been full, but I have only begun to bloom!
Pete Weber is the Voice of the Nashville Predators.
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