Monday, April 7, 2008

The Voice

In an era where stadium names change with the stock market, an idea has sprung up on the internet that is long overdue. An online petition has been started to name the press box at Mountaineer Field at West Virginia University after Jack Fleming, former long time announcer for West Virginia and the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those of us that grew up listening to Jack, I could think of no better way to honor "The Voice". Growing up in West Virgnia, there were certain things you could always count on; Friday night high school football, pepperoni rolls, skipping school the first day of deer season and Jack Fleming. This is what we knew. This is how we lived.

In 2001, when I heard that Jack had passed away, I felt I had lost something. I felt that I had lost a part of my childhood. I remember cutting wood with my father somewhere out in the middle of nowhere in the woods. My dad to this day calls it, "firewood aerobics". I, however, knew it at as some form of cruel and unusual punishment. It could be why, he is one of the healthiest people I know. Anyway, we had this big old brown Chevy truck, that had various dents from firewood misthrows and mishaps. Just like Jack, though, the truck was something you could always count on. We would roll down the windows and put Jack and his infamous sidekicks on the radio. There was Woody O'hara for the WVU games and Myron Cope for the Steeler games. Both of their color announcing styles were always in stark contrast to Jack's straight play by play call. Somehow they worked perfectly together. Woody would always be on the guys in the stripes, while Myron couldn't have been a more of a "homer" announcer. In 1997, Jack was asked to cut back on play by play duties and my dad sold the truck.

Now the time has come for us to honor the man that meant so much to so many. Instead of naming the press box after some alumni who can give a large donation, it's time we name it after a man who gave so much. No amount of money could ever amount to what Jack meant to, not only West Virginians, but football fans as a whole.

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