Don’t call it a comeback. We’ve been here for years.

Softball playoffs are a grind. I don’t know how the players do it.

Unlike high school baseball, where the games are played Thursday, Friday, and Saturday over 5 weeks, softball playoffs are played Thursday – Friday, Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Friday and then another Thursday- Friday series. And the 2nd day of the series, it’s possible for there to be a doubleheader.

For the radio guy that means a lot of late nights on the road and quick turnaround preparation. Not to mention what it means for the parents who have to wash uniforms, get players to school and games. All of that. It is a madhouse.

But after not having a season last year, the madhouse postseason softball playoffs were extremely welcomed by players, coaches, parents, fans, and even the tired radio guy.

I won’t attempt to recap the entire post-season with this post. For that you can follow this Twitter thread.

Here we will discuss the State Championship series in Hattiesburg.
It was a wild 3 days.

Got up Thursday to head out with the team and I was asked to be at the field house for something at 7:30. Little did I know that a few team moms had prepared me a goody bag and gotten me a 4A North State Championship Shirt that all the players and parents were wearing for the drive down.

And it had a couple of my all time favorite snack in it: Slim Jims and Blow Pops.
HOW GREAT ARE TEAM MOMS?!?

I went to the sendoff party for the team at Kosciusko Lower Elementary. And it was great to see all the little kids turn out for the team.

As we left out for Hattiesburg, somehow I got in front of the convoy, and was the first to arrive at the stadium. That’s nothing new for me, I’m usually one of the first people at any stadium when I’m doing a broadcast.

As critical as I am of the MHSAA at times, they did put on a top class event.

A cutout of Peter Griffin I found in the press box and brought into the radio booth…because why not?
Got rid of Peter Griffin because we lost. Sir Charles brought us the trophy. He’s the real MVP.

And what’s great about these events is that when you’ve been in the broadcasting game as long as I have and with Mississippi being one big high school, it’s like a family reunion when you get to the press box.

My pal Josh West, who has been the voice of the Holmes CC Bulldogs on Breezy `101 for over 10 years, was there. The radio commentator for North Pike’s radio broadcast is also a friend of mine who has done some work for Boswell Media in the past.

And as I’m talking to the PA announcer, I hear someone yelling from the TV booth, “Don’t you ever shut up?” It’s my friend Newman who I had multiple classes with at MS State and is a staple in shooting video for games around the state.

I ended up going out for drinks with Newman and the TV crew and then dinner with Josh while I there for the weekend. It’s always good to catch up.

As far as the games go, you couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Our girls lost game one, but I felt the same way after it as I did after they lost game 1 to West Lauderdale: that Kosciusko was the better team and that they would prove it in games 2 and 3.

After speaking with Coach Terry, the players felt the same way.

When the team started pounding the ball in game 2, I knew we were set for an epic game 3. I didn’t realize how epic at the time though.

As the Whippets trailed heading into the bottom of the 7th, I casually reminded the radio audience that this was nothing new to this team.

In 2018, the Lady Whippets trailed Lawrence County, 7-0 heading into the final inning. They then tied the game and went on to win it in extra innings.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Because that’s exactly what this team did.

Not one, but two comebacks late in the ballgame and they’d done it. As unlikely as it may have seemed to us on the outside looking in, I don’t think it was ever in doubt for those in the dugout and on the field.

There is absolutely zero quit in this team.

That’s good to see as a broadcaster, because it makes for an exciting broadcast for me.

It’s even better to see as a Whippet myself, because that’s the character you know, coming through from a class program.

Hats off Lady Whippets and congrats on brining home another 4A State Championship.


A few special Thank Yous are in order as we wrap this up:

  • First of all I have to say thank you to Amy Price, Lindsay Dickerson, Jenny Jones, and Tonya Kelley for the goody bags and cards you gave me. And really thanks to all of the team parents and coaches for making me feel a part of the team.
  • Thanks to all of our specials guests we had come on the broadcast this postseason. Former Lady Whippets and part of the 2018 State Championship team Gabby Kelley and Makenzie Ryals (even though she definitely dropped a pop up foul ball in the stands during game 2. I saw it.) joined us on air a few times. My football broadcast partner Phillip Palmertree sat it for a game or two. And eve Whippet head football coach Casey Orr put on the headset.
  • Thank you to all of the Whippet fans who tuned into the broadcast. Whether that was on Breezy 101, the app, or on our audio only YouTube stream. I know you had the opportunity to watch the video stream, but choosing to listen and support the local broadcast means a lot.

My bout with COVID

So, after 9 months, COVID finally caught me.
And if it can catch me, the guy that washes his hands 28059730 times a day (even before the pandemic) and rarely goes anywhere other than home and work, then it can catch anyone.

I have had great outpouring of love while in quarantine. A number of people have called, texted, Facbooked, Tweeted, and Snapchatted to ask how I’m feeling.

Another thing most people want to know is how COVID felt, what were my symptoms, etc.

Well, since I have the platform, I figured I’d do a day-by-day breakdown of how things happened for me.

So here goes:

Day 1 – Saturday, Nov. 28

  • I woke up with a slight headache, some congestion, and a sore throat. I didn’t think anything of it because I’m good to wake up like that at least a few times a year. Especially when the weather changes from warm to really cold.Well as the day went on, I began to get chills. Bad chills. Like I couldn’t get warm at all. And that was under a heavy blanket, flannel pajamas, and a hoody. Took my temperature and I didn’t have a fever. I still didn’t feel all that bad, was just kind of bleh. At this point, I could still smell and taste.

    As I got ready for bed, the body aches started and that kept me up for most of the night. But during the night I remember that I had bought some extra strength cold and flu medicine when the outbreak first started. I took some of that and my headache and congestion went away and I was finally able to sleep.

Day 2 – Sunday, Nov. 29

  • I wake up with no headache or congestion, but my throat is killing me. It was on fire. I coughed once and felt like fire was going to come out.  Once again, this is nothing alarming, because when you talk for a living, your throat gets sore quite often. The day goes on and I notice that I can’t smell or taste anything.The body aches began to get worse. I felt like I’d been in a car wreck. In my back mostly. I felt like an old man trying to get up off the couch.

    I also developed a weak, dry cough. Occasionally there would be some green phlegm to go with it, but for the most part, It was just a dry cough a couple of times a day.

    And today a new symptom appeared. One that I had not heard from throughout the duration of the pandemic. My skin felt like it was very badly sunburned. It was weird because it wasn’t hot to touch, but it burned. The worst part was taking a shower. When the hot water hit my skin, it felt like it does after you take a shower after a week of laying on the beach. It didn’t really hurt. It was just annoying more than anything. But I powered on.

    Also, the chills were there, but they weren’t as bad as Saturday. I did clock a temperature of 99.9, but that’s as high as it ever got. I

Day 3 – Monday, Nov. 30

  • I woke up today much like the day before. My throat was sore, the body aches were still there, there was still an occasional cough, and my skin still felt sunburned.I made my appointment to get tested today and it ended up being positive. So I got my meds called in and then came home to quarantine.

Day 4 – Tuesday, Dec. 1

  • Pretty much the same symptoms s as Monday, but the body aches were pretty much gone. I never realized how bad that soreness was until I got up off of the couch once and it didn’t hurt like I’d done a 4 hour lower body gym workout.My throat was still sore and it probably didn’t help that I was recording and doing my radio show from home. But I drank enough water to keep hydrated because there was no way I was going to just sit at home and NOT be on the radio.

    The fatigue set in on this day. I would just get randomly tired at points throughout the day and would have to lie down to rest.

Day 5, Wednesday, Dec 2. – Day 9, Sunday, Dec. 6

  • The symptoms for these days pretty much just amount to the random bouts of fatigue and still not being able to smell or taste.At one point, I was getting up to get dressed to take a drive just to get out of the house, and after I got dressed, a wave of fatigue hit me hard and I had to sit down. Eventually, I was able to get up and take a drive around town and that was fun. It did me good to get out.

Day 10 – Monday, Dec. 7 

  • My smell and taste is starting to comeback and I’m not getting as tired when I get up to do thing. I do still have the occasional dry cough, but that’s about it.

 

All in all, my bout with COVID was very mild.
I was fortunate enough to not have any fever, trouble breathing, or any digestive issues.

The worst part for me were the body aches. That was something I’d never really experienced before because I’ve never had the flu. But those aches were no joke.

However, I can see just how bad this virus could be for those that are older or who don’t have a healthy immune system.

So, my advice is to continue to do what you can to make sure you don’t get this virus. Wear your mask and stay away from large crowds.

Also, you definitely don’t want to be stuck in your house for 10 days….alone.
Trust me.

I can keep myself entertained very well. I mean, I pretty much talk to myself every morning for  3 hours.

But even as entertaining as I am, I was sick of me after about 3 days.

Thanks for all of you who called to check on me or dropped off care packages/groceries on the front porch.

There’s nothing quite like being on the sideline when a team wins its first championship

During my broadcast career, which hasn’t really been that long, I’ve had the opportunity to call a few state championship games: two softball series, one baseball series, one basketball game, and even a soccer state championship soccer game.

Those were all great experiences, but being on a football state championship broadcast had eluded me.

That was until this Friday night.

Leake Academy was playing for its first state title and undefeated season. I was just planning on going to document and take pictures and video for our website and maybe grab some audio from the coach for the news.

Well, we eventually decided that we wanted an on-air interview with the head coach if they ended up winning the game.

So, I dug a wireless mic out of my closet that I’d wanted to try for a while, got it to work, and decided I’d give it a go as a sideline reporter.

Sideline reporting is a lot different than play-by-play. Being right there on top of the action is exciting. You do have to dodge errant passes and try not to get ran over during plays that carry out of bounds.

It’s also quite difficult to hear the broadcast when you’re standing in front of a sold out crowd. It might as well have been a home game for Leake so there were several times when I couldn’t hear the commentary team.

But being on the field….when a team finally captures the school’s first championship….is truly an experience. Hearing the coaches thank each other and be right next to players that are getting emotional as they run onto the field.

I doubt I’ll ever give up play-by-play for sideline reporting, but this was definitely something I’ll never forget.

Highlights of the night:

  • I saw a fellow broadcaster and radio host on the sideline of the game who I just know through social media. He paid me a great compliment when he told me that I was “very funny on Twitter.”
  • I had the privilege of working with veteran broadcaster Melvin Wooten on his final football broadcast. He’s been calling games for Leake Academy since 2003. And he had a great game to call for his last one. The coach even game him the game ball following the broadcast.
  • I owe a huge thank you to Leake Academy head coach Brian Pickens for warning me of the impeding Gatorade shower. I was interviewing him on the field following the game and he spotted the players headed our way with the cooler and warned me to get out of the way. Listen to that audio here.

The weirdest season ever ended with my 90th football broadcast

I finished my 8th season of broadcasting high school football Friday night.
It ended it with my 90th broadcast.

I got my start at the station in 2013 by answering an ad for a color commentator for Friday night football.

Never would’ve guessed when I started just how far I would come. Or how much things would change. Or how much I would change.

But a lot can happen in 7 years.

That kid that started out as a commentator, went on the be voted the Best Associated Press Radio Reporter in MS/LA for 3 years in a row.

He also served a term as president for the Louisiana Mississippi Associated Press Board Broadcasters and Media Editors Board of Directors.

So if you ever wonder why I stress out and probably take a high school football broadcast a bit too seriously, it’s because I owe my career to these broadcasts. So I will always probably take this a little too serious, but that’s worked out pretty well for me so far.


On a different note, this was the most odd season of broadcasting that I’ve ever been a part of.

From broadcasting in the bleachers to having a tailgate party broadcast on a field full of ant beds, it was certainly one to remember.

But despite all the weirdness, our crew never wavered and was always up to the challenge.

We have a lot of support for our team and broadcast. That’s something we, (myself included) take for granted.

So this post is to just say thanks to the people that make our broadcast go:

  • Phillip – Color Commentary, stats, driver to most away games
  • Donald – Studio Producer and recap writer
  • Evan – Camera Operator and production assistant
  • Lora – Broadcast script producer
  • Melissa and Lisa – Sales

Highlights of the night:

  • It was a family reunion at the game. My cousin Jay has been working with Maxxsouth Sports this season and they were there broadcasting the game. Was fun meeting up with him.
  • I also had another reunion with a former lab partner at Mississippi State. My buddy Drew Massey does play-by-play for WLSM. He’s also an aldermen for the city of Louisville. You make all kinds of friends in this business.
  • For the third week in a row, we had a player who wasn’t on our roster. So in the spirit of Wildcats, we took to calling him Jared Snell.

You never know who you’ll meet in a press box

Mississippi is one big high school.

I tell my out-of-state friends that all the time, but I’m not sure they really believe me until they actually come here (Kel knows).

Living in Attala County ups this ante even more, because you can’t go ANYWHERE without meeting someone who was born here, lived here, worked here, or has family here.

When I lived in Jacksonville, FL, I met a man who had dated a girl from KosciuskoI. I met a wrestler in Monroe, LA who has family in Ethel. In Nashville this past December I spoke with a former teammate of Peyton Manning’s who dated a girl from Kosciusko after meeting her a the Neshoba County Fair.

Well, I learned this lesson again Friday night as the clock operator, who was seated right next to me in a very cramped press box, told me that he had a connection to Attala County.

His name was RL Clark. He said he went to school in Kosciusko (Tipton Street) through 10th grade, before finishing at Thomastown.

I told him that I live less than 1/2 mile from the old Tipton Street school and that I’ve played basketball in the gym a few times there recently.

He and I then connected about some people we both may have known. He said that his cousin still lives and teachers in the area and said he went to school with Clemmy Harmon (brother of Clarence and Michael).

I sit close to the clock officials almost every where we go and I love chatting with them.

And as I mentioned above, no matter where we are, they usually have some sort of connection to Attala County.

Highlights of the night: 

  • Phillip and I had a pregame picnic with his daughter and son-in-law before the game. They only live a few miles from the school where we were playing, so they graciously brought us over some Chick Fil A. So a huge thanks goes out to Ruth Anne and Josh Van Drunen.
  • Once again, our opponents did not have a full roster for us, so I was forced to make up more names. And since we were playing the Trojans, I resorted to combining names of famous USC players. There was a Clay Swann and a Reggie Simpson. Sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
  • New term’s or phrases coined this game: The Gold’s Gym Pose (the muscle flex celebration); The Jennie Finch (when the QB underhand tosses a pass like a softball)

It’s so much more than just a broadcast

“Is it really that hard? All you do is say what’s happening on the field? Anyone can do that.”

Anyone who has ever broadcasted a game has heard that. And anyone who has broadcasted a game knows that there’s so much more to it than that.

My broadcasting colleague and Twitter friend Melanie Newman, broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles, expressed her own  frustration with that sentiment in a tweet over the weekend:

Now, I don’t broadcast for a professional team, so I know her prep work far exceeds mine. One reason is that I have another full time job (which is like 3 jobs in one) that demands most of my time, so a lot of my prep is done on Sundays and after work hours.

However, I do take pride in the amount of prep I do and have always carried myself as if it were a professional broadcast.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several pros in the business. I’ve interviewed both Ole Miss’ David Kellum and Mississippi’s State’s Neil Price, the latter of which I’ve sat in the radio booth with during a game call (Thanks to the best engineer ever Ross Swanner).
I worked a TV broadcast spotting for Lyn Rollins, a broadcasting legend who is in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

And they all stress just how much research, prep, and other work it takes to make your broadcast stand out.

If I ever had an excuse to slack on the prep work, it was this past week.

We were finally back to a game week after having two weeks off due to COVID-19 protocols. So that meant prep work, recording with the 4 segments with the coach, producing the video broadcast and all that a normal game week entails.

In addition to that, the news reporter on two of our stations was on vacation, so I had to write, produce, and a record a newscast for all three station this week.
Plus we had live broadcasts for our campaign to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

So my week was already pretty hectic.

But to top it off, during this week’s game, the school would celebrate Senior Night and present the homecoming court.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the huge senior night ceremony. We didn’t do that when I was a senior.

In fact, if we had done it, I can picture an 18-year-old Breck actively voicing his position against it, but still participating anyway for the family.

But even though I have my issues with it, I know a number of people enjoy it. So all week long, I had felt the need to find a way to broadcast both of those events because of the limited ticket situations due to coronavirus. The idea that some grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members wouldn’t be able to partake in those festivities just didn’t sit well with me.

So I decided we would find a way to make it happen. Luckily, I happen to have A LOT of experience in running sound (thanks Dad), so I knew what all I needed to pull it off.

Thursday I went to the field and got it all set up and tested and it worked-ish. So, being the paranoid person that I am, I got to the field at 3:30 Friday to get it all set up again to make sure that it worked, and thankfully it did and it all sounded great during the broadcast.

When it was all said and done, I was awake from 3:30 am – 11:00 pm Friday, with 7 of those hours spent at the football field.

So that’s a look inside what a week looks like for the radio guy leading up to a broadcast.

I didn’t write this post to brag, but to just show what kind of work goes into the ballgames you watch and listen to week-in and week-out.

Mine is just a high school broadcast. You can’t even imagine the work that goes into those on the college and professional levels.

In conclusion, broadcasting is one of those jobs everyone thinks they can do. I foolishly thought that too before I started on this journey 8 years ago. But like most jobs, until you’ve actually done it, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.

Highlights of the night: 

  • I was elated to see Cam Smith back at the game. He spent several weeks in the hospital battling complications with COVID-19. Prior to the game, I got to go down and speak to Cam and his dad George.
  • I had fun as the stadium DJ again this week. I added a couple of Van Halen songs to the playlist as a tribute to the G.O.A.T. I also threw in some “Gloria” by Laura Branigan because it’s just a fun song.
  • The punter on the other team was not on our roster, so I took to calling him William Perry. Shoutout to all the ’85 Bears fans.

 

Trading the headset for the control panel

Even though my team was off for two weeks due to COVID-19 protocols, I was able to get back to the booth this past week.

With all the high school games moved up to Thursday night because of Hurricane Delta, I was called in to help with our East Central Community College broadcast.

But this time, I would instead be in charge of producing our video stream and occasionally providing color commentary.

It was a nice change of pace for me since I’m usually studying film and memorizing rosters, but this time I was creating pregame and halftime graphics and figuring out a way to get a scoreboard on screen.

Things went very well once we finally got on the air. YouTube decided it wanted to completely redo the way you have to set up video streams, so I had to fix that on the fly and get a new code/link back to our producer in the studio, but it’s nothing that I couldn’t handle.

I quite enjoyed doing a little something different, because I like to get experience in all aspects of a broadcast.

However, I will be glad to return to play-by-play this week….hopefully.

Highlights of the night: 

  • I was able to see a high school friend of mine that I haven’t seen since high school. Amy was senior when I was a freshman and we played on the drumline together. She works at ECCC now, so it was fun to see her and talk drumline for a bit.
  • I think I may have watched the best JUCO punter in the country during the game. Robens Beauplan’s punts are a thing of beauty.
  • I dropped a “Die Hard” reference on commentary. If you know me, then you know.

“If I see a situation pointed south, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.”

Captain America: Civil War
“If I see a situation pointed south, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.” -Steve Rogers/Captain America
“No you don’t” – Tony Stark/Ironman
“No….I don’t.” -Steve Rogers/Captain America

A main storyline in Marvel’s Captain America and Avengers movies is that he just doesn’t know how to stop being a soldier.

Several times throughout the movies, it’s referenced that despite his insistency that he wants peace, he just can’t step away from conflict .

Avengers: Age of Ultron
“Captain America…God’s righteous man…pretending you could live without a war.” -Ultron

In one particular scene, an enemy gives the Avengers a vision all of each of their greatest fears.

In Captain America’s vision, his greatest fear is the end of the war. Steve finds himself in the 1940s with his girlfriend at a party to celebrate the end of WWII.

“The war’s over Steve. We can go home.” -Agent Peggy Carter

I feel like Captain America this week. Now I’m no hero and I’m certainly not comparing myself to a soldier. I just mean that it’s hard for me to “turn it off.”

Someone asked me today why I work so much. It’s an honest question.

The simple answer would be that I enjoy what I do, so it doesn’t always feel like work. That doesn’t mean it’s not difficult or at times I don’t get burnt out because I do.

Another reason is that I take what I do very seriously. My work ethic is something I take pride in. So, it pains me to feel like something isn’t being done or isn’t being done as thoroughly as it could be.

It’s the old adage that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”

This week I find myself in a rare situation: I don’t have football games to prepare for or broadcast for 2 weeks. The team’s games have been cancelled due to rising cases of coronavirus.

This will be the first time I’ve had 2 Friday nights off in October since 2012.

Now, you would think it would be easy for me to take a step back and enjoy some much needed time off on a Friday night. However, the truth is, I’ve been looking for a game to work.

I’ve talked to a few of my broadcasting friends to see if they need an extra analyst, sideline reporter, or something.

Of course, none of them have any openings.

But, as luck would have it, today I learned that our other football broadcast is in need of a camera operator. Now, I still haven’t decided if I’m going to run the camera or not, but at least the option is there.

I have a ton of other work to do this week as well, so maybe I will take Friday night off.

After all, The Empire Strikes Back is showing in theaters this weekend to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

And if there’s anything that could make me take off of work, it’s Star Wars.

“Breck, you seriously work all the time.” -Everyone
“I know. I wish I could slow down.” – Me
“No you don’t.” -Everyone
“No….I don’t.”- Me