The Voice and I have been together a long time. So long, in fact, that sometimes his life can creep into mine when I least expect it. A few weeks ago I had a dream that is a sportscaster's worst nightmare.
Setting: Camp Randall Stadium press box for the 2010 Spring Football Game
Two individuals are in the booth. But it isn't who you'd think. Sitting side-by-side are me and Peggy Lucas, the spouses of those legendary Badger football broadcasters. You know, Mark and Manny, or whatever.
Today Peggy and I will broadcast the annual spring game. Not because our spouses are bestowing some type of honor on us. It's a scheduling glitch. You see, Matt had a conflict today. (I have no idea why, but it is some type of broadcasting emergency). Mike, meanwhile, has other duties at the game and doesn't have to time for his radio gig. Peggy and I are recruited to pitch in at the last minutes.
I put on my headset as does Peggy. Suddenly she jumps up to say hello to someone she knows. (Being a regular at Badger games, she knows half the people in the stadium.) 3-2-1, We're on the air. Or rather, I'm on the air. Alone.
"Good afternoon from Camp Randall Stadium," I say into the microphone. "Welcome to the 2010 Spring game between the Cardinal and the White."
I look around nervously for Peggy. I don't see her at all.
"Uh, we have quite a game today." I'm utilizing that old broadcasting trick: filling time. Or rather I am stalling because I didn't have time to prepare one iota for this game. I mean, really, what am I doing here anyway? Did Matt leave early for vacation? Where is Mike and, for the love of Al Toon, where did Peggy go?
Faced with the duty to report what I see, I resort to the only thing I feel qualified to do: comment on the weather.
"Yes, It's a mild-62 degrees and sunny. You couldn't ask for a better day to play football." Again I look around for someone, anyone, to bail me out of this mess. "Um, there's a bit of a breeze coming out of the north. But this shouldn't present any problems."
I'm thirty seconds into the broadcast and have used up all my material. Spread out on the desk in front of me is absolutely nothing but an empty water bottle. I have not one shred of information -- no notes, no roster. It's like flying without an engine, wings or an airplane.
"Quite a crowd has come out in this perfect spring weather." Eeeesh, I'm talking about the weather again. "For the Badger faithful you couldn't ask for a better day." Isn't it time for a commercial?
Sweat is running down my back. My mouth is bone dry.
"Yep, such a nice day " I think about the poor listeners subjected to nothing more than a weather update. Radios are being clicked off all across Wisconsin. Fortunately everything fades to black.
After a time, my eyes open again and I find I am safely tucked in bed, cat asleep at my feet. I can hear Dr. No Show pouring cereal in the kitchen.
Yes, I actually had this dream a couple weeks ago. But why am I having Matt's anxiety dreams? Are we sharing brain cells? Will he take on my dreams about botched PowerPoint presentations? (Somehow I don't think so.) I'd like to think we have one of those marriages where we truly understand and share each other's experiences. Or maybe I shouldn't eat burritos before bedtime.
Matt had a good laugh when I told him about my misadventures in the booth. I gently tried to explain to him that this was somehow his fault. Being the good husband he is, he delicately poked back that he isn't responsible for my outlandish imagination. Silly man. Of course he's responsible.
And with that we move into the off-season.
The Voice returns in August with more insights and commentary about Badger sports (from a professional who prepares for that sort of thing, at least that is what he tells me). Mrs. Voice vows not to eat after 8 p.m.