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My night as a veterinarian-turned-ESPN-announcer


Hand puffy headphones to a practitioner and an accountant at the basketball game and see what you get

Living in a dusty town in west Texas an hour from the closest mall leaves a lot to be desired in many aspects of everyday living. The grocery store has about as good of a selection as Sam Drucker's did in The Beverly Hillbillies' Hooterville. And entertainment is limited to a Dairy Queen on Saturday night and high school sports. But with all these limitations come great opportunities. Here's one I stumbled into.

'And your announcers are ... '

Kimmi Brock, the youngest of the three Brock daughters, had made the playoffs as the starting post for the mighty Klondike Cougars basketball team. The game was at Lubbock Christian University in the Ripp Griffin Arena, and all us country folks headed to town to watch our babies play another west Texas small-town's group of girls.

I was standing out front when Todd, one of the other Klondike Cougar dads, came strolling up pulling a big-ole suitcase-looking thing behind him. He pulled me aside. "Hey, dude, look at this," he said, opening the case. "Don gave me the stuff to hook up and call the game for 98.7 (the local radio station). You want to help me?"

Todd is an accountant, and I am a veterinarian. Where else in the world would you find a radio station giving the on-site equipment to an accountant and tell him to call a basketball game? I didn't hesitate for a second: "Let's do it."

After 15 minutes of talking to the folks at the station about how to set up the equipment, we put on our big puffy headphones and waited for the action to start. Neither of us had ever spoken a word on the radio, but there we were courtside in a 10,000-seat arena about to call a high school girls basketball game.

The fella back at the radio station suddenly boomed in our headphones and told us we'd be live in one minute. I couldn't believe I'd come to Lubbock to watch my daughter in a playoff game and was now sitting there about to announce it over the radio to people back home.

I was nervous and giddy as the voice in the headset started counting backward from 10. I felt like all the world was depending on me and the accountant.

Game on

The ref tossed the ball into the air, and Todd and I just sat quietly for a second, watching the action unfold. Then it dawned on us—we needed to tell everyone what was going on. It must have hit us at the same time, because we both started describing the action simultaneously. This went on for quite a while until the guy back at the radio station chimed in and told us how to set the headsets so we could hear each other talk.

Then came the daunting task of switching from fan to announcer. Three times during the game, I started hollering at Kimmi. Todd only broke loose once, screaming at the ref for a perceived bad call. Overall, I think we did a good job.

When we got done, I asked Todd how many people had listened to us.

"Well," he said, "considering that there are about 200 kids in that school, from kindergarten to the 12th grade, coupled with the fact that all of them and their parents are currently here, I would guess about 20 people listened."

After exhaustive inquiry, I was able to find three people who had listened. I was so nervous I thought I was going to prolapse when that broadcast went live to three people.

It may be a long way to a mall from Lamesa, Texas, but where else can you show up to a basketball game and wind up announcing it to the world? Well, when the world consists of three very bored people.

Dr. Brock owns Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.

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