Yesterday was the first time in a long time I haven’t listened to the Tide through our own people. I made the mistake of watching it on TV, with their announcers. While they did a great job, and while I got to see the game, it just wasn’t the same.
I thought the same thing while watching the National Championship on TV with their announcers. I thought the same thing while watching various basketball games throughout the season on TV.
You just can’t beat hearing your own people.
People like Eli Gold, Chris Stewart, Bryan Passink, and Mick Gillispie are the voices we as fans hear all the time as Alabama fans.
We hear Eli Gold during football season, giving us a review of how the day looks outside, how the uniforms look, the atmosphere of the stadium, and the fans, plus news from the game mixed in.
It’s these details that keep us informed when we aren’t able to be there. There just is no mistaking Eli running with the Tide down the field (not literally of course), and finally reaching that moment when he yells, “TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA!”
We hear Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink during basketball season carrying us through the bad games and the good games, with “HIT IT BABY HIT IT” heard at the making of a great shot or their frustrations when a bad call is made as you hear a hand slap the table in disgust. These guys are there when we may not be able to and, in all actuality, when we may not want to be there.
Then we hear Chris Stewart (again) and Mick Gillispie during baseball season. These broadcasts actually get pretty funny with there being more downtime in baseball. In fact, at one point I think I remember hearing something about maracas.
Beyond that though, you can hear the ping of the bat as the ball hits it as Jake Smith makes a home run. All the while you hear Mr. Stewart and Mr. Gillispie above that, yelling about what a great hit it was and telling of the trip he’s taking around the base to reach home.
It’s different hearing these people tell me about the game in front of me as opposed to our guys. While the other guys are sports fans, our guys are Crimson Tide fans. To our guys it’s not just a paycheck, because they want the team to succeed as well.
Just watch them at a sporting event. You’ll see them stand with the crowd, jump out of their seat at a bad call, or an amazing shot at the buzzer, and sometimes you’ll see them cheer with the crowd. Why? Well, because in all senses of the word, they are a part of the crowd. They are a fan as well.
Stats don’t have to be looked up most of the time because as a fan that’s grown up around the school, they just know them. For some, like Bryan Passink, they might have been there during that time playing for the school they are now broadcasting for.
Their enthusiasm isn’t just about a good play for a team; it’s enthusiasm for their team as well. It’s their team’s colors. It’s their team’s chant. These are guys that they know. It’s a kid that they might have known since they were little. It’s a kid that has parents that thank you after every game for what you do. It’s those parents that thank you for being the connection when they can’t be at a game in the middle of the week.
The other guys are part of the Fox Sports Network or the CBS Network, but not the Crimson Tide Network, and you can hear the difference. They aren’t a part of the team, like our guys are. They don’t understand the school, the tradition, and the excellence, like our guys do. They don’t wear the crimson and white, and it’s hard to understand those colors when you don’t wear them.
Our guys are a part of the community as well. Eli Gold has a restaurant in Pelham called Nino’s with food to die for. Especially for someone that is Italian and can understand the story behind the restaurant. Chris Stewart works at the local Bama Fever stores helping where needed (just don’t ask him to Swiffer).
These guys are just like you and me, just with faces, I mean voices, for radio. They have families and they have an interest in the community as a whole that they call games for. And honestly, if you’ve never been part of a community, it’s hard to understand what it’s all about.
These men are the voices for the Crimson Tide. They are the connection. Our connection to the Crimson Tide world when there might not be any other way to connect.
So, here’s to our guys (maybe girl one day). Here’s to the memories we’ve made with them over the years. Here’s to the memories yet to be made.
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