Chip Shots: Look What I Found

June 15, 2024 at 8:00 a.m.


Two Saturdays ago, something said to me in passing triggered a memory of some wisdom passed on to me during the football preseason of 2018 resulting in an “a-ha!” moment.
When I reference “a-ha,” late era baby boomers and gen-X-ers, I am not referring to the synth pop band from Norway whose one-hit wonder, “Take on Me” was a music video visual masterpiece.
I’m referring to the moment when something occurs to a person after a delayed period of time.
I’m not embarrassed it took me two months shy of six years to figure out this wisdom but feel the way actors in the old TV commercials felt when each one hit the heel of his/her palms against their foreheads and exclaimed, “Wow, I could have had a V-8.”
I was eager for another football season’s halftime and postgame segment during Z939’s Warsaw Tiger football contests where I reported area scores at halftime and very briefly in postgame banter with the Big Kat, Tiger Williams.
Some of my “themes” for reporting scores in groups were comprised of things like friends and family (coaches with some Warsaw roots, and local teams), or schools whose enrollment base used the word “summer” as a verb (Park Tudor, Carmel, Zionsville), or holy wars like Dwenger versus Luers.
I spoke to Roger Grossman about my excitement for the upcoming 2018 football season. Grossman, as you well know, is the Tiger Sports voice on a different station but he works well with reps from all brands.
I mentioned to him – through my time on the radio and my public address experience in varsity and sub varsity sports – I was still finding my voice and asked him how I could do this.
Roger simply replied, “Just be yourself. You already have a voice.”
I did, among several years even before I did anything behind the mic, smoothed some rough edges from my native Inland North dialect. Search YouTube to hear its lower-, middle-, and upper-class samples from the 216-area code.
You’ve likely heard it when Mike Golic – Notre Dame alum and NFL defensive lineman - hosted Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio for numerous years. Sometimes his older brother, Bob, could be heard as a guest on Mike and Mike broadcasts with an even rougher version of the Inland North dialect than Mike’s.
The timeline for smoothing out the rough spots began in high school choir when we were instructed to throw out our local accents to properly sing vowels – especially short vowels – in state solo and ensemble contests.
Years later, I joined the Air Force after my sophomore year at Ohio State, and my first permanent base was in Upstate New York near Utica, where most people talked similarly to but not exactly the way I talked, so I thought nothing of cleaning up my dialect while I served there.
Commanders and protocol officers at my two ensuing permanent assignments asked me to host awards banquets, base newcomer’s briefings, and other events because of how I carried myself. Those two bases were in Dayton, Ohio and Altus, Oklahoma.
The chief of staff of (then called) Wright Laboratory, whose office was down the hall from me, offered me my first speaking gig. He even said, “It would be easier if your vowels were less nasal here in Southwest Ohio, because otherwise you have a great voice.”
I didn’t take umbrage to this.
When I moved on to my final assignment in Oklahoma, despite sounding like a “damn Yankee” (a Yankee who lived there who was not visiting I was told), I was told I’d be useful for welcome briefings on one Monday each month for newcomers to the base.
I liked how I cleaned up my accent by that time, but fast forward to summer 2018 and I still coveted something that wasn’t natural, a deeper voice similar to someone like Alan Roach.
There I was talking about finding my voice and receiving sage advice from the radio voice of Tiger sports, yet my brain did not immediately absorb Roger’s conventional wisdom. Instead, I continued to do scores of additional public address gigs and dozens of radio bits finishing each of them wondering how I could make my voice more robust, and less Midwest everyman.
Two Saturdays ago, while announcing the IHSAA Class 2A softball semistate, one of the people in the press box told me in passing I had a nice voice, and I was doing a good job.
My reply was automatic for two reasons: I’m self-deprecating, and I believe in continuous improvement. I mentioned how I wished I had a much deeper, booming baritone voice instead of what I naturally deliver at each event I announce.
Her rejoinder was, “I think your voice is just fine. How do I put it? It makes people feel… informed and relaxed.”
A-ha!
My conversation with Roger leapt forward from long-term memory.
Being myself, using good diction, conveying essential information, and being felt more than heard in a friendly, relaxed tone is apparently how people recognize me.
The search is over.

Two Saturdays ago, something said to me in passing triggered a memory of some wisdom passed on to me during the football preseason of 2018 resulting in an “a-ha!” moment.
When I reference “a-ha,” late era baby boomers and gen-X-ers, I am not referring to the synth pop band from Norway whose one-hit wonder, “Take on Me” was a music video visual masterpiece.
I’m referring to the moment when something occurs to a person after a delayed period of time.
I’m not embarrassed it took me two months shy of six years to figure out this wisdom but feel the way actors in the old TV commercials felt when each one hit the heel of his/her palms against their foreheads and exclaimed, “Wow, I could have had a V-8.”
I was eager for another football season’s halftime and postgame segment during Z939’s Warsaw Tiger football contests where I reported area scores at halftime and very briefly in postgame banter with the Big Kat, Tiger Williams.
Some of my “themes” for reporting scores in groups were comprised of things like friends and family (coaches with some Warsaw roots, and local teams), or schools whose enrollment base used the word “summer” as a verb (Park Tudor, Carmel, Zionsville), or holy wars like Dwenger versus Luers.
I spoke to Roger Grossman about my excitement for the upcoming 2018 football season. Grossman, as you well know, is the Tiger Sports voice on a different station but he works well with reps from all brands.
I mentioned to him – through my time on the radio and my public address experience in varsity and sub varsity sports – I was still finding my voice and asked him how I could do this.
Roger simply replied, “Just be yourself. You already have a voice.”
I did, among several years even before I did anything behind the mic, smoothed some rough edges from my native Inland North dialect. Search YouTube to hear its lower-, middle-, and upper-class samples from the 216-area code.
You’ve likely heard it when Mike Golic – Notre Dame alum and NFL defensive lineman - hosted Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio for numerous years. Sometimes his older brother, Bob, could be heard as a guest on Mike and Mike broadcasts with an even rougher version of the Inland North dialect than Mike’s.
The timeline for smoothing out the rough spots began in high school choir when we were instructed to throw out our local accents to properly sing vowels – especially short vowels – in state solo and ensemble contests.
Years later, I joined the Air Force after my sophomore year at Ohio State, and my first permanent base was in Upstate New York near Utica, where most people talked similarly to but not exactly the way I talked, so I thought nothing of cleaning up my dialect while I served there.
Commanders and protocol officers at my two ensuing permanent assignments asked me to host awards banquets, base newcomer’s briefings, and other events because of how I carried myself. Those two bases were in Dayton, Ohio and Altus, Oklahoma.
The chief of staff of (then called) Wright Laboratory, whose office was down the hall from me, offered me my first speaking gig. He even said, “It would be easier if your vowels were less nasal here in Southwest Ohio, because otherwise you have a great voice.”
I didn’t take umbrage to this.
When I moved on to my final assignment in Oklahoma, despite sounding like a “damn Yankee” (a Yankee who lived there who was not visiting I was told), I was told I’d be useful for welcome briefings on one Monday each month for newcomers to the base.
I liked how I cleaned up my accent by that time, but fast forward to summer 2018 and I still coveted something that wasn’t natural, a deeper voice similar to someone like Alan Roach.
There I was talking about finding my voice and receiving sage advice from the radio voice of Tiger sports, yet my brain did not immediately absorb Roger’s conventional wisdom. Instead, I continued to do scores of additional public address gigs and dozens of radio bits finishing each of them wondering how I could make my voice more robust, and less Midwest everyman.
Two Saturdays ago, while announcing the IHSAA Class 2A softball semistate, one of the people in the press box told me in passing I had a nice voice, and I was doing a good job.
My reply was automatic for two reasons: I’m self-deprecating, and I believe in continuous improvement. I mentioned how I wished I had a much deeper, booming baritone voice instead of what I naturally deliver at each event I announce.
Her rejoinder was, “I think your voice is just fine. How do I put it? It makes people feel… informed and relaxed.”
A-ha!
My conversation with Roger leapt forward from long-term memory.
Being myself, using good diction, conveying essential information, and being felt more than heard in a friendly, relaxed tone is apparently how people recognize me.
The search is over.

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