Friday, March 25, 2011

A Voice Connection To Sense of Place – Bob Harris!

I’ve always enjoyed sports events better on radio. I often kid that I got so nervous waiting for what is now simply known as “The Shot” nearly a decade ago during the finals of the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament that I left my Dad, who was visiting, sitting on the couch and went into the kitchen to do the dishes.

Actually, regardless of the outcome of that game, I just wanted to share it with Bob Harris via radio rather than the telecast we had been watching.  For me there has always been a more intimate and tranquil focus that comes with radio coverage of sports events.Capture

It dates, I’m sure, back to when I’d listen to the reassuring voice of Melvin Allen Israel calling Yankee baseball games from a radio propped up in the window of the barn on the horse and cattle ranch up in the Yellowstone-Teton nook of Idaho which was homesteaded at the turn of the 19th century by my great-grandfather and grandfather and operated then by my Dad. (Click on the little radio at this link to hear Mel’s voice.)

Just weeks after my arrival in Durham in mid-1989 when I was charged with jumpstarting the community’s official marketing agency, Bob marched up to me at an event.  “Hi, my name is Bob Harris,” he said, “you’ll be hearing a lot of me and I’m behind you, as Durham’s chief cheerleader, 100%!”

Bob has been calling Duke football and basketball games on the radio since 1976 and his new biography, How Sweet It Is – From The Cotton Mill To The Crows’ Nest is excellent with insights about Durham as his adopted hometown, his life and coaches and players and games down through the years.

Bob’s only six years older than I am so we probably both inherited a love of sports broadcasts the same way – except he grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan probably listening to Red Barber, heard at this link.  That’s one of the great things about Durham, it is accepting. Another great thing about Durham is “Bob Harris!”

We’ve been through a lot together over the past two decades and many more great calls.  His voice goes hand-in-hand with my love for Durham.

Oh, and if you don’t have access to Bob’s games, the book he wrote comes with a wonderful 80-minute CD of some of Bob’s interviews and calls including the one at this link from that 1992 East Regionals during March Madness.

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