I have a habit of putting as much pressure on myself as I can physically handle. I’m not sure that I am always conscious of it, but when I decided I wanted to broadcast the Boston University vs Harvard men’s lacrosse game, I fully knew what I was getting into and why I wanted to do it.
Before I ever came to Boston University, I have been producing game broadcasts throughout the sport of lacrosse. It hasn’t always been pretty; I remember my broadcaster from Kentucky calling me with no wifi in the arena, and he called the game into his phone while I streamed that feed.
It has been a few years at least since I produced a broadcast, which was one of the most stressful roles I held at my website, InLacrosseWeTrust.com. I even hired someone to run just the radio side of things, because it was way too much work for me. At the time I was worn out from it, so when my radio director left to become an actual real radio director in Ontario, I shut down the program.
Since the beginning of the spring 2016 semester, I have been calling the men’s lacrosse games for the Patriot League Network at Boston University. I found out that the game at Harvard, a game I had circled on my calendar, wasn’t going to be broadcasted. Even if it was, I had a class at that time.
A little more than a month before that game was going to take place, I got the itch to produce again. I had done nothing but commentate a few games for BU, so I knew that team inside and out. I knew I could call that team with ease, and I knew Harvard well enough as well.
The moment I decided I wanted to broadcast that game, I was taking a train to Copley Square and I saw that I still had that BU @ Harvard game on my digital calendar. I thought about some of the absurd circumstances I had gotten broadcasts on the air for, and knew that it was possible to make this happen.
I texted my friend and fellow broadcaster James Mattone to see if he would want to do the game with me, and once he said yes, I knew that it was something that could happen.
Now, I know this is just a regular season men’s lacrosse game (where BU was actually unranked), but to have the challenge of producing a broadcast, and having it be around the sport I really love and the team I have been covering had me extremely fired up.
At first I forgot the most vital thing for a broadcast, the equipment, but my good friend Mike Sportini “Lax Worm” from MLL Radio agreed to drive up from Connecticut and bring broadcast equipment and produce the game.
Honestly, before then, I had no idea what I was going to do so I’m not sure it would have ever worked if it wasn’t for the Lax Worm.
The anxiety of doing this didn’t actually hit me until a few days before the game. Not only was I responsible for getting the game on air and promoting it, but I had to research for the broadcast, do a good job at play by play (which I am still learning), and produce a quality broadcast.
Not only that, and this was something I was avoiding thinking about, I was really colliding two of my worlds; lacrosse, and Boston University. I’ve been calling lacrosse games at BU, sure, but it’s mostly a static situation where I go to the games and call them. Now I was going to Harvard Stadium, where I’ve been going for five or six years to cover the Boston Cannons, and I was calling the game with someone who I have worked with at BU, and it was the BU team.
That pressure didn’t really mount so much until literally the last few seconds before the game at the national anthem when I realized there was no more planning and that it was real. It had come together and it was going to work, and as soon as I was on air, doing something that was in my comfort zone.
Now it was just the game.
I’ve only called games from three places; Agganis Arena, MIT’s Steinbrenner Field, and Nickerson Field. And if you’ve ever been to Harvard Stadium before, you know how high up the press box is. I was concerned about that going in, but I realized as the game began I was struggling to see the numbers. I noticed at the UMass Lowell-Providence hockey game at the TD Garden that weekend that it had been an issue as well, but I didn’t realize how much it was.
It worked out fine and I don’t think it affected the broadcast too much, but if anything, told me I’ve really been straining my eyes a lot watching games and working on my computer and phone.
The game itself was excellent, with BU looking to get back into the rankings and Harvard at #14 in the nation despite a three game losing streak. The game was tied 5-5 at the half, and then BU took a two goal lead in the third.
The Terriers eventually led by four, but Harvard scored three straight. The BU goaltender, Christian Carson-Banister, made a ridiculous save near the end and BU should have been able to run out the clock, but turned the ball over with six seconds left. After I expressed my frustrations off air, eventually the Terriers were able to hold Harvard, and won 9-8.
The victory for the team I cover capped off what was a truly great experience, and the satisfaction I have from being able to create a product like that for broadcast, and to be able to call the game from a stadium that I love, is unmatched by nearly anything I have done since attending BU.
To be able to go back to my roots essentially, to be back where my lacrosse reporting career basically began, and where I have covered dozens of games, broken stories, interviewed athletes and coaches, and be where I was when I was breaking into the industry reminded me so much of why I love what I get to do. Sometimes I get worried about my lacrosse work because I don’t know if people understand it since it is a smaller sport. But lacrosse is where I belong, and being around the teams I love, the people I enjoy being around, and a sports that has aided my path into the industry, I don’t know if I really care if people understand that or not.
But it wasn’t done just by myself; Lax Worm made sure we got on air and had some AWESOME gear and audio clips that we used, and James was as good on the call as I could have wanted and now I have people at school who like lacrosse (which was on the list of positives for making this broadcast happen).
I ended up with a migraine at the end of the night because someone was eating an orange in the press box (I can’t go near those), but also possibly because the release of stress. It worked. BU won. I am incredibly happy and truly feel like more than ever, I am understanding my role at school, in lacrosse, and my place in the sports media picture.