We Chicago sports fans know the 2 words which became music to our ears. On March 18, 1995, Michael Jordan, in a news release, said “I’m Back.” And the following night v. the Indiana Pacers, with # 45 on his jersey, Jordan scored 19 points in a game which had the highest Nielsen ratings since 1975, for a regular season NBA dual.
So today, Sunday, I was driving in my car, toggling between my XM sports stations, and hit upon ESPN 2 News. I listed to a commentary about George Steinbrenner and the dysfunction he created as the Yankees owner: firing and hiring managers, treating various players with disrespect, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, etc.
But it wasn’t the content, as much as it was the voice. THE VOICE that I recognized from years past, which kept me glued to this sports story, as I was driving on Hwy 99 towards home.
“That’s Keith Olbermann,” I smiled to myself, “and he’s actually doing sports commentary. And THEY are letting him on the air again – in SPORTS no less." Not politics, with his nightly “Countdown” on MSNBC or short life on Current TV, whose directors eventually “let him out” of their contracts, for reasons probably buried in a time-capsule in Siberia.
YES! Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann doing SportsCenter every night, before it became the Hollywood Glitz that we now see. My amygdala in my brain, which arouses emotional memory, kicked in, big time.
8 pm, Pacific, from 1992 – 1997. An after dinner norm in our family, watching the best tag team in sports reporting. Patrick the straight man and Olbermann, with his wry sense of humor.
What mother would allow her sons to do homework and watch SportsCenter at the same time? And “Yours Truly” was THE best role model for them. While watching all the replays of the day, I was preparing my class lectures at the same time. Their father? Working hard on his computer while peering up during the Bulls' replays.
Sports was encoded in our sons’ lives, not just by playing their baseball, soccer, tennis, basketball, and Thanksgiving football games, but by listening to Dan and Keith weave the scores, and plays of the day, like no other sportscasters could.
And they got their school work done.
And they now have a PhD and an MBA.
And they keep in contact with me, via text messages, not about their daily lives, but about the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Run.
Or sharing log-in texts for our MLB, NHL, and NFL packages.
So get ready for Olbermann’s new sports’ show to air Monday, 8 pm Pacific. You can put it on the board. He’s Back!