Most recent college graduates miss their days in school. The constant weekend parties, the general lack of responsibilities, and the close quarters of peers make those four (or so) years ones of unprecedented growth. And as much as I enjoyed the general revelry and living with best friends, there is one aspect of college I miss more, broadcasting college basketball games.
Fordham University, my alma mater, is home to WFUV. The station is the breeding ground for a long line of broadcast professionals, starting with Vin Scully, and including people like Mike Breen, Bob Papa, and Spero Dedes. I am the most recent Fordham graduate who hopes to add his name to that scroll.
My time at WFUV allowed me to broadcast almost every sport possible, from mainstream football and basketball to the rarely seen water polo and volleyball. I was also able to travel below the Red Line with the basketball team, with occasional stops above.
When you spend so much time on buses and in airports with the team, you begin to feel as if you are a member of it. The only difference is that once game time comes, they go to one side of the court to play the game, and I go to the other to tell people what they are doing.
Living in the Big Apple allowed me to attend tons of sporting events. Usually a short subway ride would bring me to the biggest event in my wide world of sports on that day. I even had the pleasure of watching the NEC Championship game next to our Kingpin (that's me with the mediocre posture just right of Kyle). Needless to say, much like the partiers and those who slept all day, my graduation from college has placed me in withdrawal.
The Fordham Rams were my team, are my team, and will always be my team. But since I graduated, this year's squad is not my team. I am not there; I'm back home in Connecticut working part-time. After following the non-conference season from afar, I decided the opening game of Atlantic 10 play was the time to finally go see my team. So my biggest supporter in every endeavor, my mother, and I took the hour-long trip up I-91 to the University of Massachusetts.
Fordham beat UMass in last year's season finale, ending a 41-game A-10 losing streak for the Rams, and allowing the season to technically end in win, although the trail of losses that came before it made that game simply a contractual obligation. This year's team has showed growth, including a Red Line Upset of Georgia Tech and a win over Harvard, ranked in the human polls.
With connections to a broadcaster's best friend, the Sports Information Director, still intact, we were able to sit directly behind the team bench, along with family members of players and personal friends of Head Coach Tom Pecora. Admittedly this is not the normal fan experience, with the father of a player bearing a striking resemblance to Andy Capp on my left, and a booster who came from Hofstra with Pecora in front of me, but I was still in the stands with the other 99%.
As the game began I found myself being something I could never be when broadcasting games, a fan. I could yell and scream and stand as I pleased. I was even able to swear, but I kept it under my breath out of respect for Mom.
Just like seemingly every game this year, Fordham was in it the whole way, but when two guards fouled out within 20 seconds of each other with ten minutes to go Fordham was in trouble. The Rams cut it to one in the dying moments, but a missed box out of Chaz Williams, who played his freshman year at Hofstra for Pecora, sealed the deal.
For Fordham it was another loss, not the way they hoped to open conference play. But for me, it was a cathartic experience. I freed myself of any worry that my connection to the team had changed me, as both Fordham's world and mine are spinning as they always had. Soon I hope to return to Fordham's venerable old barn, the Rose Hill Gym, to see a game at my old school.
at MASSACHUSETTS 80, FORDHAM 76 01/05/2012
FORDHAM 7-7 (0-1) -- B. Frazier 6-15 4-4 19; C. Gaston 7-16 2-4 16; B. Smith 4-14 3-3 14; K. Bristol 5-7 1-2 11; D. McMillan 1-4 0-0 2; A. Estwick 1-3 0-0 2; L. Samuell 1-2 4-7 6; R. Canty 2-3 0-0 4; M. Dominique 1-3 0-0 2; L. Zivkovic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-67 14-20 76. MASSACHUSETTS 12-3 (1-0) -- C. Williams 6-20 5-10 20; T. Vinson 4-10 4-7 14; R. Putney 4-7 2-4 10; S. Carter 1-3 2-4 4; J. Morgan 3-12 6-8 12; J. Farrell 3-6 0-0 7; F. Riley 4-9 3-4 13; M. Esho 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-67 22-37 80.
Three-point goals: FORD 6-15 (A. Estwick 0-2; C. Gaston 0-1; B. Frazier 3-4; B. Smith 3-8), MASS 8-26 (J. Farrell 1-2; R. Putney 0-2; F. Riley 2-7; T. Vinson 2-4; C. Williams 3-7; J. Morgan 0-4); Rebounds: FORD 45 (C. Gaston 18), MASS 43 (T. Vinson 14); Assists: FORD 14 (B. Frazier 4), MASS 16 (C. Williams 8); Total Fouls -- FORD 26, MASS 18; Fouled Out: FORD-D. McMillan; MASS-S. Carter.