I’ve said many times that I’ve always wanted to be a games broadcaster – since I was five years old – because I wanted to give people the same feeling of being at games even when they weren’t. others had given me.

I’ve been able to put my voice to some pretty high profile moments in the history of local sport, and I love when you bring up those moments when we meet in public.

But over three decades and almost 2,800 game broadcasts, I’ve discovered several other things that I really enjoy in my job, things that when you start at 23 you don’t think much about.

One of those things is seeing kids struggling as first and second graders who then have the light click at some point as juniors and seniors and grow into productive and efficient players.

As a result, I also learned to watch the children work to get to this point. I know, that sounds very sadistic, doesn’t it? And a little cruel too. But that’s not how I think it is. Solving problems and finding solutions is an important life skill, and different people go about it in different ways. I like to watch young people find out what their best path is.

But what I find really most fascinating with each new season is the reallocation and redefinition of roles in a given team.

This applies to every team from every school in every season of the school year.

What do I mean?

Every year, high school students (and college students too) graduate. There is no possibility of signing them for contract extensions. They advance.

And on top of that, kids get injured and don’t play, and others choose not to be on a team.

So, pretty much every year, coaches use their offseason to try to identify who they’re going to plug into the vacancies left by players who don’t return.

These positions include both playing positions on the field and leadership positions on and off it. And every sport has it.

Who will be the quarterback? Who will be the new playmaker? Who will play the # 1 singles? Who will fill these places in the relays? Who is the new shortstop?

Sometimes these are easy to understand things, but sometimes not. And the sport we’re talking about impacts the process of getting there. A soccer team only plays 9 regular season games, so they need to find these players and hook them up long before the first snap of the first game. Football teams play a few more games, but a coach might only have three or four games to tinker with before their conference season begins. Volleyball, baseball and softball coaches have the most games and games, against more types of opponents, which means they have more time to search for the right players in the right circumstances.

The “X” factor, of course, is the children themselves. Which one ripens the fastest. Which ones work harder during the off-season. Which of his bodies has changed the most. Which ones are ready to take on the challenge of upgrading their status in the team.

No one can predict this stuff.

That’s why I love this part of every new season. There is a certain mystery there.

Now remember that I am a broadcaster, not a trainer.

While so many coaches claim to ‘love this process’ they would also be at least a little dishonest to say that they look forward to it as much as I am. Coaches, by definition, strive to control the things they can control and make this list of controllable things as long as possible.

It is not, moreover, a personality defect. The CEOs and presidents of every local business in the city are doing the exact same thing to achieve the same goal.

As you watch a new sporting season begin this winter, realize that you are watching the evolution of the teams that play and the people who make up those teams. Then understand that what is happening is part of the learning journey for everyone involved.

And that’s what it is, isn’t it?