I usually don’t get too nervous over things I am about to do. I can speak in front of hundreds of people and I can talk on the radio knowing thousands of people may be listening without getting nervous before hand. Saturday, I was about to go on the air to broadcast my first wrestling match in over 20 years! To my surprise, I was nervous and worried!
Last Monday when I got to work, I was informed that Dick Newman, our sportscaster for wrestling, had been quarantined because he had close contact with a person that tested positive for COVID. We had wrestling scheduled for Thursday on Q-92. I knew immediately I was going to fill in for him broadcasting the wrestling match with Danny Lee. I said to myself, well I can do that it’s not a big deal. After talking to Dick on the phone I felt sorry for him because he loves high school wrestling. After all, he was an assistant wrestling coach for Madison and LQPV for many years with Mike Bredeck. Mike and Dick were my coaches at Madison when I was a wrestler in the mid 1970’s. After Dick retired from coaching, he took over for me broadcasting high school wrestling on KLQP. I believe this is the first time he has had to miss a wrestling broadcast.
The high school sports winter season was scheduled to begin last Thursday, but because of a blizzard the basketball games and wrestling matches were moved to Saturday. That gave me a few more days to do my homework for the wrestling meet. On the schedule for Saturday was a triangular at Dawson/Boyd High School. We follow Team United, it is a wrestling team made up of three schools, Montevideo, Dawson/Boyd and Lac qui Parle Valley. Team United was to wrestle KMS and Quad County. I did a lot of homework for the triangular. Dick was a big help in helping me prepare. I don’t think people realize how much time broadcasters put in before the broadcast. The more I studied the teams and wrestlers the more I got nervous. I didn’t know a lot of these kids and their families. I didn’t know the history of the wrestlers. Another thing I was worried about was the terminology which I haven’t used since I was in wrestling. I printed out three pages of wrestling terms and studied them. This is what my week consisted of.
The thing I had going for me was that my broadcasting partner would be Danny Lee. Danny has been broadcasting high school wrestling with Dick for many years on Q-92. I was going to lean on him for most of the broadcast. Saturday morning came and I felt pretty confident about the broadcast. I arrived at the school early and was met by the coaching staff and school staff and they couldn’t have been more kind in helping me. I kept telling people, it’s been 20 years since I have broadcast a wrestling match. I should have mentioned that two of my boys wrestled in high school, so I am familiar with wrestling, but it has been over 20 years since they graduated from high school.
Just before we were going to go on the air, I will admit that I was very nervous and praying that I would sound somewhat knowledgeable about the sport of wrestling. As the broadcast begin Danny made me feel very comfortable and we were off and running. I made a few mistakes in the beginning, but we did both matches and had a ton of fun. I had a great experience broadcasting wrestling again. Danny told me not to worry, it’s just like riding a bike! He was right.