Monday, March 31, 2008

Springtime in Bloomington

There was a time a few years back when I lived in Minnesota for a summer with my Dad. It was ridiculously hot, and humid, and I worked construction. Fun times.

Minnesota is my Pop's home state and I have many a relative living in the Twin Cities area, with more than a few people from my clan of farmers and hammer swingers hailing from a little town named Mora. I'd gone to visit the old timers a few times as a kid. They are good, honest, hard working people, who are slow to anger and have a sharp wit. Which was a good thing for my brother, sister and I, or we'd still be picking rocks from the field out back of my grandma's house.

These are the people who single handedly brought Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion to prominence by listening every week on the radio. My family listened too, on NPR in Colorado during dinner time.

I thought about ol' Garrison for a minute yesterday as the first half of the Avs-Wild game was without video due to technical difficulties. So I was treated to a bit of "old time" hockey as I cleaned up around the house. It is easy to get caught up in high definition hockey and forget that up until maybe 25 years ago a vast majority of fans still listened to the games on radio. I have to admit, it was kind of nice listening to Mike Haynes in his natural element again.

It is easy to forget that radio broadcasters have a lot more work to do than the average tv color man. They must describe the action with enough imagery, imagination and colorful vocabulary to keep the listener informed, all as the action is happening in front of them.

With Mike Haynes, who is always colored as a "homer" by non-Avs fans, his radio broadcasts before the lockout on 950 The Fan were more performances than descriptions of the game. Every year as spring time and the playoffs rolled around, my friends and I would often find ourselves playing basketball, volleyball or softball in the evenings with somebody's car radio cranked so we could hear Haynes and his co-pilot Norm Jones loudly, and emphatically, over-emphasize every big play of the game.

From listening to the gang on 950 my imagination would run wild and I could almost see the action. In fact, my favorite moment as an Avs fan happened as I was speeding home to catch the Avs-Hawks Conference Semis in their first season in Denver. It happened when I was about a mile away from home, and Chris Simon dropped the gloves and hammered Bob Probert. I pulled over the car, and just listened. It was then that I knew the Avs were winning the Cup.

I miss listening to Haynes and Jones on the radio. They were a good team. Fortunately for most Avs fans, Haynes moved to television about a month into the post-lockout season. For me, I got a hour of "old school" Mike Haynes on a blacked out tv on a Sunday afternoon.

And it was good, even if the Avs ended up losing in overtime.

(A special kudos go out to Alanah and the gang at Kukla's Korner for listing the DNP on their site, as well as all the other ringers and comment-posters who have supported the page since it's official premiere on January 1, 2008. As Garrison Keillor would say, you all get a big pan of Powdermilk Biscuits!)

No comments: