Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Terrible Towel Miracle!

I have a new favorite sportscaster, at least for the moment: Myron Cope, color commentator for radio broadcasts of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I'm a huge fan of Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgenson, who broadcast the Redskins. As a lifelong 'Skins fan, I won't be abandoning Sam and Sonny anytime soon, but I will adopt Myron for this year's play-offs. After all, the Redskins just aren't there yet.

I enjoy listening to sports on the radio. I had a brief radio career, so I know something of the art, and I got started in that career running the board for a small station in Waterville Maine for radio broadcasts of Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics games in the early 80's. What I know of baseball I really learned from listening to Jon Miller, back when he was a radio man.

I stumbled on Myron Cope by accident last night during a parenting odyssey across south-central Sussex County. Christina was due at a birthday party from 5 to 8 in Selbyville. Colleen was invited to another from 7 to 10 about half an hour north in Millsboro.

So, of course, we left Lewes at 4:00, picked up one of Colleen's compatriots (Miriah, who's Mom would handle the late-night pick-up and bring-home), and drove to Selbyville. We dropped Christina in a garage booming with loud country music in Selbyville for a 9th birthday party, with dancing. We took Colleen and Miriah up to Millsboro where we had a gala dinner before dropping the two at a 14th birthday party in a garage booming with rock music. Then we drove back to Selbyville where we picked up a danced-out Christina, and so back home, at about 9:00 p.m.

Somewhere in there, I started wandering the AM radio dial looking for the Jets/Steelers game. That's when I heard Myron. Myron Cope has that raspy/gravelly western Pennsylvania accent that I first heard from my Father-in -Law John Hudack. I always enjoy watching ball games with John because his take on the games is no-nonsense, straightforward, and of the "Look-a that, willya?" variety.

That's Myron Cope. Except with Cope you add a crazed hyper-excitement. This was doubly true at the end of the Jets game. We got to hear the Jets try a long field goal with time running out to break a tie; it missed, just outside. And Cope went nuts. I'm not sure I've ever heard someone in broadcasting get so excited that he went entirely beyond human language, but Cope did.

To get a general idea of the sound, have a listen to some of the samples on Arlin's Copeisms and Exclamations page. Yoi! He credited the miss to the magic of the terrible towels being waved by fans throughout the stadium. That magic, he explained, is really reserved for play-off games. It seemed to hold through overtime as the Steelers went on to win, 20 to 17.

It was all terribly exciting. Now I have an AFC team to root for. I guess I'll have to root for the Eagles in the NFC and hope for an all-PA superbowl.

2 comments:

The Delawarean said...

You're tellin' me! I can't remember watching such an exciting game in a long time! I'm a 49ers fan (shh, don't tell anyone) but all my family is from the Pittsburgh area so that pretty much makes me a default Steelers fan. Here's to a PA Superbowl!

The Delawarean said...

You know what? I was just reading this series of comments.

And I realized that you think I am Mr. Watson from DTC don't you? I misread your first comment and the whole "Cup of Joe" thing went RIGHT OVER MY HEAD until just now. Head back to the DOT, Mike, you had it. Remember the "Or would he?" part.

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