Since 1992, the soundtrack of my life has mostly been a shuffle between the "the adult rock" of WXRT and the non-stop sports prattle on WSCR, "The Score." I have followed The Score across three radio frequencies and a shifting roster of hosts. But for most of that time, the one constant was Terry Boers, the former Sun-Times beat reporter and columnist, whose pairings with first Dan McNeil and then Dan Bernstein, combined for 25 years on the air.
I followed Terry through a variety of time shifts, from "Who You Crappin'" to "Friday Fung." I listened to him opine on championships for the Bulls, the Blackhawks, and the White Sox. Ill health took him away from most of the Cubs run in 2016, giving a bittersweet air to that "hell freezes over" season. His retirement at the beginning of 2017 coincided with his promise to write a book and to tell all the stories that never made it onto the air.
Last week, Terry was back on The Score for a three-day fill-in stint with his old running mate Dan McNeil. It reminded me that I had meant to read "The Score of a Lifetime," for a while. I tracked down a digital version, looking forward to hearing all the dirt and to getting all the inside scoops. What a disappointment that read turned out to be!
Boers chose to tell his story in a "stream-of-consciousness light" manner that begged for an editor. The chapters are generally short, and somewhat sequential in following his life from his boyhood in Steger, IL through his career at local newspapers, the Detroit Free Press and finally the Sun-Times. He does a decent job at explaining his initial hesitation and then his final decision to commit to the concept of sports talk radio and the Score. But that is one of the few areas into which I gained much insight.
We read about his ongoing feud with WSCR host Mike Murphy, but there is nothing in the book that hasn't been said on the air, with Boers denying any responsibility for the ongoing hostility. Of Dan Bernstein, Boers' longest co-host, all we learn is that Boers didn't hate him, but that producer Matt Abbatacola didn't like him very much. Boers' big reveal about Michael Jordan? Even when Jordan was a rookie, his teammates thought he was really, really, good.
Boers does let loose with how much he hated two college coaches of the past, Bobby Knight, and John Thompson. In regards to Indiana University's Knight, we are given no reason for Boers' contempt. (OK, I guess Knight's actions and tantrums were so well known that Boers didn't feel the need to elaborate.) Of Georgetown and Team USA's Thompson, Boers main complaint seems to be that the coach didn't want his players to talk to the media, a character flaw so great it earned him Boers' invective as "one of the biggest asswipes of the decade!"
I respect Terry's decision to spend quite a bit of time talking about the malignancy that haunted his 2016 year. As a physician, I find his description of his cancer a bit confusing, but I understand how overwhelming his illness was, and that like many patients he found the explanations from his medical providers weren't always clear and forthcoming.
We also learn that the Detroit Piston Bad Boys were thugs, and that Boers' wife is an angel. In fact, most people in Boers' life seems to fit into one of those two categories. And if he ever reads this review, I am afraid I know which of those categories I will wind up in!
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