Never for a second did I ever see myself going to Pitt. Everyone wanted to get away from home after high school, whether that meant two hours or two time zones.
But after two years, two hospitals, and two sets of parents keeping my head in the right direction, I couldn’t be happier, even being only two minutes away. Maybe Noah from that Old Testament was right when he said everything comes better in pairs.. At least that’s what my two supportive rabbis told me.
Now at a first floor table in Hillman library where the decibel level is so high you may as well just break out red Solo cups and a pack of ping-pong balls, it’s pretty easy for me to sit and reflect on the past year, along with the 18 that came before it. As a kid, my repertoire of dribbling skills gave me the opportunity to perform in the Fitzgerald Field House during the halftime of a handful of Pitt basketball games.1 Meanwhile, my introduction to Pitt football came when my dad introduced me to a walk-on receiver out of Factoryville, PA, Yogi Roth, who was interning in the mayor’s office at the time (Prepare for sappy, yet authentic follow-up).
I never had an older brother, but with everything Yogi has taught me since that day we bonded over throwing those Wolf Pack snappers at each other’s feet, it's pretty clear why I look up to him so much.2 To be able to be roommates with two Biletnikoff winners, best friends with a Pro-Bowl punter, and still be a kid's role model takes an incredibly unique individual, and my love for broadcasting, sports, the University of Pittsburgh, and life wouldn’t be where they are today without him.
As an aspiring play-by-play announcer, I've had the opportunity to be on the call for a ton of games this year on WPTS Pittsburgh; your student home for all things Pitt sports, 92.1 FM.3 From the painful, yet memorable Jimmy V Classic to the sub-par pregame meal at the Little Caesar's Bowl, to the roller coaster of emotion when Tim Frazier and the Nittany Lions came to the Pete – it's been one hell of a ride, and it's only the beginning.
But as I clock-in as a contributor, as well as the host of the podcast here at Cardiac Hill, I'd like to wrap up my introduction to you with one point I've always made:
Look around the country. There aren't many cities as big as Pittsburgh that support their respective university the way we do here. Don't believe me? The only school with the city's name in it that's close is UCLA, but they've battled it out with the Trojans more than the Clippers and Lakers have. Sure, no NBA team blah blah blah. But if you want proof that this town could support one, just make the climb with your kids up Cardiac Hill one night.
Do what my father did: Tell them you're taking them to the zoo, and I can promise they won't know what hit them.
1 At least 60-80 other campers from Ben Howland’s Little Panthers camp got to do this as well; I was nothing special. In fact, my longtime dream of taking home the title of "Most Improved" or anything of the sort never even became a reality.. I did have a mean spider dribble though.
2 Strongly recommend against trying this.. Growing up without a big toe on my left foot was quite the setback (Completely kidding, but results may vary).
3 Had to say the station ID for Joe, our Sports Director, who's held onto his faith in me through some of my most rookie mistakes..