Its not a dress rehearsal
Lately, I have been doing a great deal of thinking. Thinking about sports, life and just plain getting older chronologically.
Reading about and watching the Donald Sterling/Shelly Sterling/ Clippers case and trial has brought home many things to me personally. It has started me reflecting.
Recently, I went to my Rollodex (today it’s computer contacts) to cull out a few names that no longer might not be here. It turned out to be a larger number than I thought.
My contact list after deleting 83 names which I immediately knew are no longer here, still was large and viable.
But I got to thinking. To a great extent the names were among some of the elite in both sports and entertainment. Before they departed, they had various ailments. These illnesses covered the entire hemisphere of aging. They ran the gamut from A to Z.
Most prevalent were cardiac conditions, dementia and cancer.
It is extremely difficult to watch someone you have known well and admired for his achievements in his days, suffering now. The Golden years are many times the Rusting years.
In other societies, the elderly are venerated. They are respected for their age and knowledge.
A prime example of this is the Television Media. Our society is youth-oriented. Now, understand I have no problem with youth and when I was active I surrounded myself with talented people, both young and old… both male and female. The operative word being “talented”.
I am among those who started in radio, saw the advent of TV, followed by color Television, Instant Replay and went from Audio Tape to Video.
I saw Clair Higgins and his partner Jack bring about the first Mobile TV/Video unit which was mounted in an old school bus while covering John Kennedy’s first Presidential campaign. My membership number in Television Academy New York Chapter, (there was no Academy out in California at that time ) was #364.
In fact, I was involved with Eddie Einhorn in the 70’s when his TVS Network while broadcasting the then embryo World Football League hired the first sideline reporter whom he took away from KDKA Pittsburgh.
Before he put her on the air she was tested thoroughly for her knowledge of the game. Today, with the exception of the retired athletes who bring a vast understanding of the game to the TV audience.
Most of the ladies (i.e. girls) are what we would call are “rip and tear”. R & T literally means exactly that. The reporter, most time
is attractive and articulate… with no background. But that’s it! Unfortunately, she usually giggles a great deal. Don’t get me wrong! The young male sports announcers that are hired have the same traits.
I watched Donald Sterling’s interrogation. I am neither a psychologist nor psychiatrist. I cannot pass judgment whether his behavior on the stand is indicative of his problems as indicated by medical personnel. What I can talk about as a broadcaster is the deterioration of the broadcast product. A product I have known well.
Today, I had lunch with three of my friends… Danny, Michael and Frank. One is a retired doctor, the other a retired banker and the third an entrepreneur who is still active. Of course, he’s the youngest of our group.
You might ask, where is Shelly going with this? Let me tell you! We all belong to a group called the OFC (You fill in what it means). All of us have been overachievers.
Chronologically our ages are older. However, we all possess vast knowledge of what we once did. We know where the pitfalls are and the shortcuts to take. It hurts when we see younger people struggling… even pronouncing the names of venues, athletes, and terms incorrectly.
It hurts even more when we see definitive statements and comments being made by broadcasters who have little, or no experience.
The people with grey hair and the slightly fatter tummies are a great resource and yet no one reaches out. Decisions and important decisions are being made daily by people without full knowledge of what they speak.
We may have more aches and pains then someone younger, but we have also earned those scars. Scars that have left us with a residual fact base that can be of value and tapped to help upgrade what was once an industry to be proud of… I joined the TV Academy in New York. It was 1959 when there was no coaxial cable and hence no West Coast organization.
After all, with medication and like, I am told that 75 is the new 50. To not tap this resource is a waste. The only thing we are not that competent in, is the use of today’s social media.
But isn’t that what grandchildren are for?