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Day 49: Heartache over Heartbeat

September 26, 2010

My wife had her second pregnancy check-up on Friday and was able to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  I couldn’t attend due to student-teaching, but the idea of “missing” the heartbeat didn’t register as a huge disappointment.  I’m working to make a better future for the family and, in the long run, I’ll have plenty of heartbeats to hear down the line.  Perhaps that’s taking things for granted, but it’s how I justify not being there for that initial moment.

That logic runs almost antithetical to my feeling toward sports; the teams I’ve chosen to devote the most attention to are not frequently dominant.  When they do get a sliver of spotlight, it’s a major moment.  The memories are more vivid because they’re few and far between.  I could count the number of championships won by my original teams on one hand, and I won’t even include the New York Giants, whom I’ve never really connected with as closely as I should have.  I missed the Mets in ’86 and can’t claim the Red Sox or Patriots of the 21st Century, so all I have to Rangers in ’94, Ebbsfleet United’s ’08 FA Trophy victory and Northeastern football’s conference title in ’02.

The Rangers’ title was memorable for its historical significance and its impact on the New York area during a significant period in American popular culture.  It felt important because important things were happening all over the place.  This was the era of OJ, Clinton, Cobain and cultural awareness.  Everything mattered.

When Northeastern won its conference title, it was a big deal locally but it wasn’t appreciated because there was a sense that this was just the beginning.  This wasn’t a university that sold championship t-shirts very often, so the student body didn’t exactly flood the bookstore the day after.  Despite being there for the title clincher, I made the decision to cede broadcasting duties for the team’s I-AA playoff home opener vs. Fordham University because I arrogantly thought I’d be back the next week to call the quarterfinal.  I instead travelled with the hockey team up to New York’s North Country for a weekend series vs. Clarkson and St. Lawrence.

In a bit of foreshadowing to Year Without Football, I attempted to avoid any news or score updates from the game with the intention of listening to the tape of the broadcast when we returned to Boston.  I shielded my eyes from ESPN’s bottom line and had my broadcast partner warn me if  “NEASTERN/FORDHAM” appeared anywhere on-screen.  I had successfully stayed oblivious to the result until the head coach had commented to his assistants that the team had lost.

There would never be a second chance at calling a football playoff game; Northeastern went 8-4 the following season and never made it back to the postseason before the program was ended last year.

Despite all I was able to witness through my broadcasting days, my biggest regret was missing that playoff atmosphere.  It was the last time I took those moments for granted.

God forbid I miss the first ultrasound image…

DR

Note: Caught wind of losses by both Alabama and Texas yesterday.  Once Florida and Oklahoma lose, the college football season might be interesting.  Mark another buck onto the tally.

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