Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Class Act of Sports Journalists.

Fighting my own battle with cancer I wanted to share this with you.


Dick Enberg: Heartbroken yet happy

 Dick Enberg provides play-by-play for telecasts of San Diego Padres baseball on Fox Sports San Diego.
Dick Enberg provides play-by-play for telecasts of San Diego Padres baseball on Fox Sports San Diego. Sean M. Haffey U-T San Diego
Dick Enberg opens the door to the Fox Sports San Diego broadcast booth and smiles like a three-time lottery winner.
"This is what I love coming to every day," he says.
He looks out to the sun-kissed grass at Petco Park and is reminded once again of the royal flush God dealt him.
"I've never thought of this as work," he continues.
He thinks about the nine innings of baseball he gets to call and the rush of pursuing the perfect broadcast. He thinks about his Hall of Fame career and his beyond-my-wildest-dreams life.
He thinks about his first grandchild, Archie, who was born last month in London -- just like he thinks about his wife, Barbara, and his recently married daughter Nicole.
These thoughts bring Enberg joy. They keep him grinning. They allow him to come into your home with that same joie de verve he's exuded for over 55 years in the profession.
They do one other thing, too: They keep the other thoughts at bay.

Dick always considered his younger brother, Dennis, to be the hero of the family. Dennis was the solid one, said Dick -- the country boy who served in the Navy for four years, earned his Ph. D. at North Carolina, then spent three and a half decades as a geography professor at North Carolina Central.
Dick himself is a former college professor who taught for four years at Cal State Northridge, so to see Dennis devote his life to academia sparked an enormous sense of pride.
To see him succumb to pancreatic cancer five months ago sparked an even greater sense of grief.
Dick remembers looking down at his deceased brother and thinking "Come on. You can't be dead." He seethes at the injustice of cancer taking Dennis instead of him.
"I really admired what he represented," said Enberg, 79. "My life was easy -- here's a kid who really made something of his life."
Enberg is genuine when he says this, but his humility outshines his sincerity. Not only did Dick make something of his life, he became one of the greatest sportscasters ever.
The voice of UCLA basketball? The Los Angeles Rams? The California Angels? That was Enberg. The Super Bowl? Rose Bowl? Wimbledon? That was Dick, too.
Enberg may never have held the majesty of a Vin Scully or distinction of a Howard Cosell, but if someone were to pluck a random sport out of a hat and demand a sublime broadcast, then Dick was your No.1 draft pick every time.
"He could orchestrate a telecast better than anyone I've ever worked with," said former college basketball analyst Billy Packer, Enberg's longtime partner at NBC. "I think anybody who worked with him would just stand in amazement at how great he was at anything he undertook."
For decades, Enberg's signature "Oh my!" reverberated across the athletic spectrum. He could capture the moment with an impromptu pearl, or capture your heart with a post-game essay.
And who'da thunk it -- after 40 years in the national spotlight, a member of sportscasting's royal court would commit his twilight years to the country's 28th biggest market, taking a job as the Padres' play-by-play man in 2009. It was like Meryl Streep headlining an off-Broadway musical.