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Snowman’s Take: On Himself

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In this 21st century digital age, we all want to “Get to know someone” But how often do we take the time to get to know ourselves?  More to the point, how many times do we do it for our selves over the course of life and then work on the parts of us that require a re-definition?

Well, as I sit here and write this, this is one of those times for me.  I have learned a lot about myself over the past 20 years alone, but I never shared them in the mode I needed to share them – as Brian Snow.  As an individual that has faults, shortcomings, and situations that have defined me.   Hope you guys enjoy.

Here are the basics about me.  I am Brian Snow and I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois on the south side.  I am an absolute sports nut whose favorite teams include the Chicago Bulls, White Sox, and Blackhawks, the San Francisco 49ers, the Golden State Warriors, the Northwestern Wildcats, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, Georgetown Hoyas, North Carolina Tar Heels, Brother Rice Crusaders, Marist Redhawks, and Marquette Catholic Blazers.  The last three are high school teams that I covered over my broadcasting career.

I love old school game shows including The Price is Right, Match Game, The Joker’s Wild, Tic Tac Dough (I know I’m dating myself, but I’m loving it), Let’s Make a Deal, Press Your Luck, and a few other classics.  I also love old school cartoons, and old school video games – I guess you can say I’m old school all the way around – including how I am around people.  More on that in a few.

As the times began to turn, I kept my old school values.  I tried to get with some of the modern times and I still try to mesh.  But it always keeps bringing me back to old school memories of what I loved growing up.

Now, to a few moments that have shaped me – or shall I say, allowed them to shape me and allowed me to find me.

In 1988, I lost a hero to a stroke, my grandfather.  He was one of the reasons I really got into baseball.  Played catch with him. Learned about some of the craziest pitches to throw (which are now basic as I gained and understanding)

In 2007, I lost another hero to prostate cancer.  My father.  Same as grandpapa, but more details.  He was in my ass every time I messed up.  As much as I hated it when he disciplined me, it has shaped me.  It’s taught me a lot.  HATED when he would catch me doing wrong (and boy did I pay for it every time) and I deserved every ass-whipping I got.  Thank you dad.

On June 4, 2007, I went to visit my dad as I drove in from Gary, Indiana, he was a shell of his former self.  Speech was slurred, couldn’t move around and I broke down crying.  Still cry to this day whenever I think of him.  I know people tell me time heals all wounds, but that is a LIE!  When it comes to people that had a big influence in your life, time does NOT heal all wounds.

In fact some days, when you suddenly see or hear something that reminds you of them, the wound opens a little further.  The tears are flowing.  The memories come flooding back and you go back to the day that you lost that hero.  For me, that would be June 12th, 2007.

June 12th.  A day that is a circular day for me.  As I mentioned a moment ago, on that date in 2007 Pops was called home to glory.  I blamed myself for his passing because I was not in the same room with him.  But over time, I’ve learned to forgive myself because as a dear friend made me realize, pops went peacefully.  On this day in 1991 to bring it back to happier times, the Chicago Bulls won their first of six NBA World Championships.  Dad and I celebrated. Hootin’ and hollerin’ until approximately 2 a.m.

Dad was my biggest supporter.  Whether my decisions were dumb or not.  He was always there.  When a dumb decision was made, he called it like he saw it but then encouraged me behind it.  He was always on time with those.  It couldn’t be more true when on December 7, 1995, on an impromptu idea, I called my first game at Chicago State University.  Didn’t realize it would lead to all of this.

On that note came one of my first professional influences.  I’ve spoken about him before on my morning show “The Wake Up Call”  This gentleman was the voice of the Chicago Bulls from 1973-1991 and his name is Jim Durham.  Just listening to him, his description, his style, the way he kept the fans in the game, gave me the influence I needed to break into broadcasting.  I didn’t take the traditional college route, though I did go to college for a while.

Now to a moment I speak about a lot.  Actually, I’ll just use this clip and have you guys listen for yourself and then you’ll really get the reason of how motivated I am not just for success but for all the goals I’ve set.

IMG_20131207_102922Some more folks that influenced me, and I think some people will appreciate them – Mel Blanc, Gene Rayburn, Bob Barker, Wayne Larrivee – whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in 2013. Larrivee was the longtime voice of the Bears and is now the voice of the Packers.

I told him I enjoyed his work and he gave me a pep talk before my UIC Women’s game at Butler.  A friend said that if the Flames win (which they did) that I had to use Larrivee’s signature closing “And There is your Dagger” Thank you Terri Bender and Rachel Story for allowing a humble Snowman to deliver the dagger.

Now to a few things a lot of you would not believe.  I have been called a nerd for most of my life.  Many thought I would not succeed as a person let alone a broadcaster.  Hell, I’m still ridiculed to this day as you can see by the earlier pic with Larrivee I have been made fun of for most of my life because of the way I speak as a black man.  Which should outline some problems with people in this country still thinking in the past.

I guess that means Greg Gumbel couldn’t be influenced because he’s black, right? I guess that means Gus Johnson couldn’t be influenced because he’s black, right?  I guess Mike Tirico couldn’t be influenced because he’s black, right?  C’mon y’all, you should know better.  It’s 2015 (I’ll talk about that in another story)

Here is one of my most defining moments.  The year was 2012 and the scene was Marist High School on Chicago’s South Side. I was freelancing for High School Cube at the time living the Jim Durham dream and I wasn’t even supposed to make it that Friday night – March 2, 2012 because I was struggling financially.

Even to the point where I couldn’t get around and part of it was my fault.  But by God’s grace, I made it to the game.  For if I hadn’t, I would not have had the opportunity to call THIS:

Little did I know the INSANITY that would ensue when this clip made it to ESPN.  YES THAT!   I’ll talk more about that on my blog.  But that was the first Marist Miracle.  The second one came four days later that led to an interview I had with Dan Patrick.

That’s what I’ve discovered about me SO FAR.  What else will happen?  Stay tuned.  When you get a chance, do some discovery about yourself.  Give yourself the benefit of knowing yourself and what brought you, to you.

Snowman OUT!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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