My Idol

You could say my broadcast career started in the cold unfinished selection of my parent’s basement. 

I was the Washington Generals of the table hockey world. 

There were no upset victories back then, just losing and a lot of it.

Nonetheless, there was one aspect that you could always count on, my brother’s relentless call of the game. 

The only thing that could drown out my brother’s exuberate call of the game was my mother’s bellow from the kitchen. 

‘Mark stop commenting and getting Craig so upset.’

‘But Mom, I pulled my goaltender, I’m trying to let him score a few,’ he yelled in response. 

I could only muster up a few shots on goal and even though my brother’s stationary ‘Gump Worsley’ look a like goaltender was out of the net the metal rod that held him in place would make a miraculous save. 

‘Gretzky to Kurri, to Coffey….SCORES! 

He was always the Oilers.

‘It’s 9-0 for the Edmonton Oilers,’ that’s all I remember of those beatings. 

So, that’s where it all started. 

From broadcast nightmares to broadcast dreams. I would love to say that I’ve always been fascinated with broadcasting, but that would be a flat out lie. 

My childhood beat downs in that cold basement had left a lasting effect on me, but I would get my pay back eventually.

Pay Back Time

For hours on end my brother and I would play ball hockey either on the partially frozen crushed stone driveway or in the dust filled garage. 

When I would started spraying more than just slap shots his way, that’s when we decided to take our show inside the garage. 

Sure the odd rock would be thrown his way, but I didn’t have that hard of shot. Nevertheless, it was my turn to be the Edmonton Oilers and my turn to share in the broadcast duties. 

From one-on-one interviews, to make shift replays to full out play-by-play we did it all.  

My brother would be decked out in full Andy Moog ball hockey apparel to allow me to blast point blank shots his way. 

I was a little older than the traumatic table hockey days so I could hold my own until I got a little too close for one of my patented half-slapper/half-snappers caught him in a vulnerable area. 

There was no commentary during those altercations.

Sure I would get my pay back by scoring more goals, but it was those interactions that made me a better player, person and athlete.

My brother always took the time to mentor me when it came to sports, he always allowed his little brother to tag along which undoubtedly has had a drastic effect on my life.  

His imagination and willingness to create an environment for mine will be something that I will be forever grateful for. 

My brother is my idol. 

My brother never said no when I asked if I could play to.

When I say I idolized my brother, I followed him every step of the way, I even wore the same number and pursued the same career.

He blazed the trail for me to accomplish my dreams on so many levels.

Thanks for always being there Mark and Happy Birthday!

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