Sunday, March 6, 2011

Top 10 Things I've Covered

I spent the better part of the drive back from Arch Madness thinking about endings and the fact that on Friday I will be driving my life back home after leaving 11 years ago. I never like this week, the final week because all I do is reflect on what I just experienced. I really don’t like endings. 

I never have.

There are clear memories in my brain of crying as a 10 year old when my summer camp experience was over after being away from home for 2 months. I hated that I had to go home and would ask my mom if I could just stay for one more day. 

While I’m very excited to be going home, I can’t help but feel like my summer camp experience is over and now, after 11 years, it’s time to go home. It’s caused me to be introspective and reflective on the experiences that I was lucky enough to enjoy.

I thought it might be fun to list my Top 10 favorite things that I got to cover since I left Andover in August of 1999.

10. Play by Play Voice of the NBADL’s Huntsville Flight: The first year was by far the best of the four seasons of play by play I did for the minor league of the NBA. That was the season that I went on the road with the team. I will never forget Eric Chenoweth, former KU player, lighting off firecrackers in the parking lot of a Georgia gas station at 2 am. He earned the nickname “Cheno-bomb” for the rest of the season from Bob Thornton who was the head coach. I’ve stayed in touch with Bob over the years and he now coaches with the T-Wolves. I learned a ton about the game and the business of basketball.

9. Virginia vs. Virginia Tech: The only football game I saw between these two featured a certain QB named Michael Vick in 2000. He was kinda good that year. It was my first taste of a instate college football rivalry and I’ll never forget the first time seeing guys and girls dressing UP to go to a football game. It blew my mind but southern belles sure know how to go to games.  

8. Iowa vs. Iowa State: I only covered two of these games but the build up to them will be what I remember. It’s a pretty angry, intense rivalry that can get nasty on message boards. The only problem was the games were not competitive as Iowa rolled in both years. Honorable mention goes to Nebraska vs. Iowa State though.  

7. Creighton vs. Nebraska basketball: For six years, this was the best college basketball rivalry that I got to personally cover. I never saw the Jays lose at home but only saw 1 win at Nebraska for CU. My radio show in Omaha had a lot of coverage of this yearly brawl. I still don’t like Nebraska basketball and probably never will.

6. Broadcasting from Cameron Indoor: In college, I called a men’s game from Phogg Allen Field house at Kansas but as a pro, it was a women’s game that I called from atop the crow’s nest at Duke’s home arena that was awesome. It’s crazy how high the broadcasters have to go up, including climbing a ladder, to get up to the location but it's a mecca of basketball. Honorable mention goes to the 2000 ACC tournament that I covered too. 

5. Four full seasons of Alabama football: During the middle of the 2000’s, I went to every Alabama football game in a RV. It was crazy but so much fun like the time we partied with a millionaire dentist and his wife inside their 1 million dollar RV, complete with stripper pole. I got to see so many awesome football games as well, in some of the best college towns in this country. I also learned how to drive one of those beasts around.

4. Arch Madness: For six seasons, I traveled to St. Louis to cover the Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament. In 2007, Creighton won the whole thing and went to the NCAA tournament. From drinking on Morgan Street at Sundeckers and Big Bang to seeing the sites of the city, it’s one of the most entertaining weekends you can have. If you’ve never gone – go! It's an amazing 4 days of basketball. 

3. 2007 World Series win for the Red Sox: This wasn’t an event that I covered at first but I became a media member as I got to go on the field after Game 4 in Denver. Because of the combo fan/work angle, I dropped this to 3. It’s my favorite sports moment that I witnessed personally however.

2. Alabama vs. Auburn: AKA The Iron Bowl. There is nothing like it in college football. The passion, the tailgating, the players, the atmosphere is all second to none. Throw out the records and buckle up for a crazy ride. I’m really happy I watched one of the four that I was present for from the stands. It gave me a great perspective of just what the game means to the fans.

1. The NCAA Tournament: I went to one as a college broadcaster and 3 as a pro and simply put – I think that March Madness is the greatest thing we do as a sports country. It’s my favorite thing to cover. In 2007, I watched Creighton play Nevada in New Orleans. Then in 2009, Omaha hosted eventual National Champ Kansas for their first two games and then last year – I watched UNI pull the upset of the dance by sending No. 1 seed Kansas home. That win sent me to my first Sweet 16 game as UNI lost to Michigan State in St. Louis.

Other fun events worth mentioning:

-2010 and 2011 Insight Bowls for Iowa State and Iowa.
-Every Nebraska football home game for 4 years 
-Every Creighton basketball home game for 4 years
-Big 12 Media Days for 6 straight years for football

I’ve seen some awesome things over the past 11 years and I know I won’t be seeing as many games in person with my new job but I feel like I’ve been very lucky in what I’ve be able to witness. 


wiltonater said...

Would have liked to see more Husker Football on the list but guess we can blame Bill Callahan for that one.

Matt Perrault said...

Yeah, I didn't cover Nebraska at a good time. I wasn't at the Big 12 title game or any of the bowl games. Both Iowa and Iowa St bowl games were fun trips but they didn't make it either

Anonymous said...

No College World Series while you where in the 402?

Matt Perrault said...

You know, the CWS isn't about the games - it's about the party. So it wouldn't be on that list. I can't remember a single game that stood out to me in 4 years.