A quick study, I’m not.
I went to college to be a sports broadcaster. I was so good at it I became a sports writer.
On April 27, 2015, a mere 34 years after I received my degree in Radio/TV broadcasting from Murray State, I joined 9News to become their Broncos Insider.
I still write. My stories about the Denver Broncos can be read on 9News.com. It’s just now I occasionally show up on TV. Perhaps, I’m an inspiration to all college graduates who can’t find a job in their field.
The beginning of my story may sound familiar: I was the first born son of Joseph and Mary.
OK, so mom’s name is MaryAnn. And I wasn’t born in a manger in Bethlehem but a hospital in Aurora, Ill.
Still, I’ve felt pressure since the crib. I’m the oldest of six kids. We moved six miles down the road to Oswego, Ill., when I was 8.
I was a real good farmland/schoolyard/sandlot athlete in Oswego. I was a pretty good practice player in high school. I wasn’t very good when we put on game uniforms. To this day, the gag is my least favorite story angle.
After college, I worked as a gas station/convenient store clerk, a weed eater/snowshoveler, a part-time sports announcer for a now defunct Aurora radio station, a part-time sports writer for the Oswego Ledger-Sentinel, an umpire, basketball referee and player-coach of the Shuler’s Drugstore slo-pitch softball team.
In October, 1984, I threw it all away and moved to Colorado Springs, where one of my first jobs was scrubbing pots and pans at the Air Force Academy’s freshman cafeteria.
For extra money, I called radio play-by-play for Colorado Springs Christian High School basketball and then wrote about the game afterwards for the Gazette Telegraph. Double-dip, $25 times two. Except the radio station rarely paid me.
When the Gazette offered me a full-time job in 1987 at about the same time the sports radio station changed to a Spanish format, I became a sports writer.
I covered preps. One of my first leads, from a high school basketball game, was: “The Thrilla in Manila was nothing compared to the Thrilla in Sierra.” I was not fired but I believe my next assignment was a wrestling match.
I covered the Colorado College Tigers (4-33-1 in my first hockey season) and Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox. I covered the Colorado Buffaloes and -- starting Aug. 17, 1990 when Gov. Roy Romer called a meeting at the downtown Denver Westin Hotel for prospective owners – the Colorado Rockies.
The Denver Post hired me in January, 1998 to cover the Rockies. I met my wife, Becky, at Coors Field, where she still works as a suite attendant. In July, 2005, I was switched to the Broncos’ beat.
While writing and reporting, I gained so much knowledge about the Broncos, I got a job at a TV station. Becky and I are still married. We have four kids – Brittany, Kaitlyn, Blake and Johnny. They make me go upstairs if I want to watch sports on TV.