The Power of a Mentor and Four Brothers
Have you ever felt the rush of adrenaline from watching the last play in a tied basketball game, sliding into home plate, or almost being tackled because you didn’t get rid of the football fast enough? I have felt the rush from all of them, but none like the energy you feel when broadcasting sports.
Sports have always been an important factor in my life. I don’t know if it’s the excitement from watching them or the adrenaline rush when playing them, but they have always been a big part in my life.
I remember one morning back in 11th grade of high school; I was sitting in the kitchen at 6 in the morning eating some frosted flakes cereal and as per usual, I reached for the remote to turn on "ESPN SportsCenter" when I thought to myself, “Man, it would be awesome to be on 'SportsCenter.'” Of course, it was just an exaggeration that I knew couldn’t happen - at least anytime soon.
Later that day during school, I walked down the hall towards my Sports and Entertainment Marketing class taught by one of the most influential mentors I have had the pleasure of meeting in my lifetime, Mr. Villnave. As usual, he waits outside his classroom for students to come in and always greets us when we get to the door. Like most days, I walked down the hall to the classroom and said, “Hey, Villnave,” and shook his hand. He always replied with something like, “How’s it going sir?” Now if you ask most people that had him as a teacher or knew him, they would explain that he was always genuine in the fact that he used the word sir, and shook hands with people as a gesture of respect.
I was sitting in class, listening to a lecture on careers in the field of sports entertainment when sports broadcasting came up. Right away I was interested and knew I wanted to try it out but wasn’t sure how exactly I could do that. Then, like a linebacker running into a quarterback, it hit me. Why not start a sports show for my school district? After class, I stayed late to pitch the idea to Mr. Villnave and see what he thought of it. He, too, loved the idea, and after we got talking, we thought it would be awesome to do the show together.
It took a few weeks to figure out the logistics of it, but then we finally aired our first show. We called the show "SC@CS," Sports Center at Central Square (Central Square being where I went to high school). For us it wasn’t even just having a show, it was our time to just sit and talk about what we cared about and have fun while doing it. We did maybe 10 episodes that year and finished off by commentating the men’s basketball senior night. Students watched our shows online and it was amazing having friends and other students tell us how they loved the show.
After graduating and starting a new chapter in my life at Niagara, I did not think I would have the chance to feel that kind of energy when I got to talk sports, like I did with Mr. Villnave. Soon after starting school, I heard about WNIA and figured I would give it a shot and see where it took me. WNIA did not have anyone doing a sports show, so I didn’t think I would get the chance to do one. Then I met David who also goes to Niagara. We actually met during summer orientation and became good friends fast, but we didn’t really know how much we had in common. I pitched the idea of starting a sports show together, and there was no doubt, no stutter in answering, all he said was, "Where do I sign up?"
That’s where the friendship really began, and the person I really have to thank for that is Mr. Villnave. If it was not for him, I might have never started a show in high school, and may never have had the courage to get one going in college.
Last year, David and I went on air and started talking about sports once a week, and now we host WNIA’s Sports Radio Show, "The Toss Up." This year, we brought in our good friends Brendan and Nate to do segments that they’re more familiar with than we are. We all have our strengths and love to touch on each one of them at some point in each show with different segments. Brendan does his college football segment, "Bets With Brendan." Nate does "Passing The Puck with Nate." David does his "MLB Minute with David." And I do the NFL segment, "Fantasy Land."
We build off one another to do what we love to do. I's not a job to us, it’s a passion. When the On Air light goes on, four brothers get the chance to zone out everything else in the world, and just talk about what we enjoy most: sports.
I have a lot of people to thank for a lot of things, and Mr. Villnave is one of them for more than one, but I thank these guys for helping me do one of the best things I have ever had the privilege of doing, "The Toss Up."