Behind the Mic: Overlapping Seasons!

There are a couple of weeks every year when the college basketball, college football, and high school football seasons overlap.  This past week was particularly challenging because I was doing my first college basketball game on Wednesday, the District XI AAAA football championship on Friday night, the Lafayette-Lehigh two-hour pre-game show on Saturday afternoon, and the first Lafayette women’s game on Sunday.  So… here is how the week unfolded.

Monday is always “gather information” day.  I put out the request for Easton and Parkland starting lineups and statistics and await a response.  I also begin to formulate the Lafayette-Princeton basketball information.  Luckily there is a plethora of stuff on the internet at the two websites.  I can gather statistics, starting lineups, information about the players and coaches, and begin to get a feel for the match-up.  Hopefully, all is completed by mid-afternoon because I need to write a blog for the RCN website.

Happily, the high school information arrives that morning so it is time to put together each team’s profile, starters, statistics, stat charts for the game itself, a team stat chart, player name pronunciations, and find out which officials will be working the game.  This pretty much fills up the day.  I am able to come up with the Keys to the Game and the Trivia question of the week if there is still time; otherwise that’s done first thing Wednesday morning.

Keys and Trivia were done first thing (no time the day before) in the morning.  I finish up the prep work for the basketball game that night and start to look at my responsibilities for Saturday at Yankee Stadium.  I leave the office @ noon.  It’s off to the Kirby Sports Center at 4:30 to set up for the Lafayette men’s basketball game.  It’s my first of the season and it literally is like riding a bike.  You don’t forget how to do it.  The Lafayette men win 83-66 over Princeton, a team they rarely beat, and have five players in double figures.  I leave the gym @ 9:30.  It was a good day.

This is supposed to be a day off, but I spend the morning collecting all the notes concerning the Easton-Parkland football championship game.  There are a number of players in the game who have already set records (season and career) and who are still chasing other records.  I have always felt responsible for giving them the credit they deserve for reaching school and career records.  Also, there is a rich history to the AAAA championship and that needs to be conveyed on the broadcast.  I finish around 1:00 and begin a day off with my wife.

After reading the Express-Times and the Morning Call article on the high school game that night, I return to the office to prepare for Sunday’s Lafayette women’s basketball game against Hartford.  The Hartford Hawks played on Thursday night so no preparation could have been done before Friday.  Same routine as the men: starting lineups, season stats, human interest stories on the players, coaches’ background info, matchup keys, etc.  When that’s done, I really need to familiarize myself with the Yankee Stadium pre-game.  It is a two-hour show before 49,000 fans on the large Jumbotron screen in the stadium, and also sent out over the internet.  I am told that I will interview the Lafayette and Lehigh presidents.  Now that’s pressure.

The afternoon is taken up with packing a bag for Saturday since I am heading to New York right after the high school football game.  Warm clothes will be essential, but so are a crisp dress shirt, a tie, and a top coat.

Now it’s off to the high school game.  Parkland beats Easton.  Naturally, since I want to head to New York as early as possible, the high school game goes to overtime, but it was a very good game.  I exit Cottingham Stadium at 9:45 and arrive at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City at 11:15.  The view of the city during the ride in is just awesome.  Now picture this.  I check in to the hotel wearing ski pants, two jackets and a sweater.  I must look like I was heading to Stowe to ski and made a wrong turn.  The check-in receptionist and I have a good laugh as she assures me there is no need to wear so many clothes.  The rooms ARE HEATED!

The view of New York from my beautiful room is spectacular, but fatigue is beginning to set in especially after removing all those clothes needed during the high school football game.

I eat my $23 breakfast at the hotel and leave for Yankee Stadium at 9:45.  The traffic is bad early on due to construction, but I arrive at the Stadium at 11:00.  A pre-production meeting is held for the 1:20 start of the pre-game and then I get to soak in the mystique of the Yankees and the Stadium.  I visit the Yankee locker room, stop by Derek Jeter’s locker, check out the staff offices (why do I think of George Costanza and Seinfeld at this moment?), look at the historical memorabilia, and then walk out onto the field.  I am awestruck!  It is massive. My initial reaction was there is no way the fans will fill this stadium.  I was wrong.

The place begins to fill up with the 47,750 fans.  The pre-game goes smoothly and kickoff occurs at 3:40.  I watch the game from the sideline and the Leopards dominate with a 27-7 win!  After celebrating with the team a bit, it is back in the car to head home.  I arrive back in Easton at 9:30.

Mike Joseph, Gary Laubach, Scott Morse

Lafayette Sports Network’s Mike Joseph, Gary Laubach, and Scott Morse at the 150th meeting of Lafayette and Lehigh football at Yankee Stadium on November 22, 2014.

I review the Hartford-Lafayette basketball information and head to the Kirby Sports Center at 11:45.  First, there is set-up, followed by a nice lunch provided by Lafayette.  The game brings another Lafayette win for the week (the men won on Saturday at Penn).  Lafayette beat Hartford 74-59.

Back at the desk to choose the Patriot League football Players of the Week, contact the Parkland and St. Joe’s Prep coaches for information concerning this Saturday’s PIAA state football game, put in the PIAA media request for permission to broadcast the event, and start to write this blog as you can see.

When seasons overlap…

Gary's Picks

 (Last Week – 11-3; Seasonal Record – 112-61-1:  65%)