Roy’s 25th Anniversary Arrives Without Snow or Ice
Where were you in the aftermath of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991? I was packing up my apartment in Madison, S.D., for the five-hour drive to begin my job at KRFO in Owatonna.
I had just broadcast a Halloween night football playoff game in Coleman, S.D. About 3 or 4 inches of snow had fallen. No big deal. Also, no Twitter or text messaging to clue me in as to what had occurred in southern Minnesota.
I stopped by the studios of KJAM the next morning to say my goodbyes after two years at that job. That's when I found out about the blizzard that left southern Minnesota coated in a heavy layer of ice and 30 or more inches of snow elsewhere. I would not be traveling yet.
After a couple of extra days there, I finally made it to Owatonna and tried to get my feet underneath me in a new job while many were dealing with no power and plenty of storm damage.
I rolled into some fine opportunities right away. The Indians girls basketball team went to state in my first winter calling Owatonna games on the radio. The boys hockey team was a Big Nine champion during my first years in town and had a couple of section runner-up finishes at Met Center in Bloomington.
I have learned a few things over the years. Don't wear a red shirt to an Owatonna at Austin basketball game. A player gave me some grief over that. I had not broadcast a hockey game before arriving in Owatonna. Being from northern Minnesota, I guess it was in my blood. I know early on I used a few basketball references. I have learned how to call volleyball, wrestling and soccer on the air.
As I was learning where all the high schools were, the directions from a coach invariably included references to every fast food joint along the way. I had delivered pizzas for a couple of years in college and preferred getting directions that included a street name or two.
I witnessed Owatonna's football title and multiple state championships for the NRHEG girls basketball squad. It was a thrill to call a pair of individual state wrestling titles last winter. There have been numerous state runner-up finishes. But I enjoy each game, whether it's a season opener or the chance to advance to state.
The players, coaches and fans have been a joy to interact with and remain very supportive. I make a fair number of mistakes, but people are mostly forgiving. After all, that's one of the beauties of high school sports. Learn from your mistakes and learn to handle winning and losing gracefully.
I have been blessed to work with some great people on air. Brad Fischer has been covering Owatonna sports longer than I have and we have had some good conversations while driving to football games. Many others have grabbed a mic and joined me on air. God willing, I will continue covering high school sports for years to come.