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Jun. 10 2010 - 10:41 am | 227 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Jeremy Roenick: the new Al Michaels or John Tesh?

On rare occasions, sportscasters become the key memory for a great moment in sports. Al Michaels call at the end of the 1980 Olympics hockey semi-final when the USA beat the USSR: ‘Do you believe in miracles? Yes!’ is the great hockey example. Usually, capturing a moment in just such a way welds the announcer and the moment together forever. Bobby Thomson’s ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ for the New York Giants might not have echoed through time quite like it has if not for Russ Hodges’ gleeful exclamation, ‘The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!’

Now we have Jeremy Roenick, who fought back tears on camera last night after his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, broke a five decade drought to win the Stanley Cup. ‘I didn’t get to do that,’ Roenick choked. Will this be the lasting image for this series? Maybe so, but there’s a deeper question here. If it is remembered, will it be a classic sports memory or a ‘John Tesh’ memory? Pulling a John Tesh means making such an ass out of yourself while broadcasting that you move on to playing crappy piano music for a living.

Tesh, you might recall, performed this feat during the 1996 Olympics, which Entertainment Weekly summarized best:

Most misused noun: Histrionics, as when gymnastics commentator John Tesh said, ‘Histrionics are against him.’ Uh, we think you meant history, John.

No, Tesh didn’t cry, but he made me want to. By the way, here’s the definition for histrionics: Exaggerated emotional behavior calculated for effect.

Which brings us back to Roenick … or does it? The answer to that question will determine whether you can expect Roenick’s first instrumental CD, ‘Cry Me an Ice Rink’ this fall.

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  1. collapse expand

    I was a big Blackhawks fan back when they had Roenick and Chelios; I stopped being a fan once they unceremoniously dumped those guys and then turned the franchise to crap. Non-Blackhawks fans will likely mock Roenick, but for longtime Blackhawks fans, that was a powerful moment. It summed up how far the team has come and what it means to those who care about it. And for those who don’t care about it, their reaction will be like John Tesh’s music to me anyway: I’ll never listen to it.

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    About 10 years ago, this lady in her 80s told me a childhood story about the day her mom tied her to a post on the porch. It was punishment for riding her tricycle past the curb at the end of their block. In the middle of the story she said to me, 'Wait, mom didn't tie me to the porch, she tied the tricycle to the porch. I just remembered that.' I've been fascinated by memory ever since.

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