Legendary sportscaster Dick Stockton shares his youth sports memories
By Greg Bach
Hall of Fame sportscaster Dick Stockton fondly recalls childhood trips with his dad to the famed Polo Grounds, where they watched the New York Giants play baseball.
Those outings ignited his love of sports.
And fueled his passion for playing them.
“I just liked to play,” Stockton says of his youth sports experiences. “When I watched the Giants play baseball at the Polo Grounds I wanted to do the same things Alvin Dark and Willie Mays did. I wanted to hit a ball, I wanted to run, I wanted to play. I wanted to be a part of that. And I was.”
Growing up in Kew Gardens Hills, a neighborhood in the middle of Queens in New York City, Stockton’s youth was filled with a variety of sports, along with watching and dissecting games with his dad.
He played Little League baseball.
He took to the indoor basketball courts when winter descended on the East Coast.
And he loved the neighborhood games where they would make their own teams and rules and attempt to duplicate the moves of their idols.
“I didn’t belong to a football team but we played in the neighborhood,” he says. “We would watch a game and then go out and want to be like those guys.”
There were also plenty of makeshift hockey games. “We played roller hockey,” he says. “I didn’t learn to ice skate but we played on roller skates and we constantly did that.”
HALL OF FAME CAREER
That love of sports helped propel him to a storied career calling the Olympics, World Series, NBA Finals and a wide range of historic moments for CBS, NBC, FOX and Turner.
“I’ve seen the greats play in every sport at the highest levels and I’m so happy to have been the conduit between the performers on the field and the fans listening or watching,” he says. “To be able to describe and relay what they are doing and not get in the way and enhance their enjoyment of a game has really been everything to me.”
With one of the most distinctive voices in sports broadcasting, Stockton has been named one of the 50 top sportscasters of all time.
“I enjoy the challenge and I always tell people that the preparation isn’t the big thing – it’s the reaction,” Stockton says. “Everyone goes in prepared but it’s how you react to what is going on in the field of play or in the game. You have to be alert, you have to be focused, you have to be ready and you have to have a quick mind to be able to put what you see into words.”
STOCKTON! PODCAST LAUNCHED
Along with his regular broadcasting duties he has also recently launched a sports podcast appropriately named Stockton! To check it out: http://www.stocktonpodcast.com
“It’s really exciting,” Stockton says of the opportunity to go one-on-one with many of the incredible athletes he has covered in nearly five decades of football, baseball, basketball and Olympic sports. “To be able to talk to somebody at length and really delve into finding out what this person is all about you don’t get a chance to do when you’re doing play by play.”
The podcast will treat listeners to a legendary broadcaster’s perspective on core issues affecting sports, its fans, the teams, the athletes and even the weekend warriors. It also will offer listeners behind-the-scenes peeks of how broadcasts come together and share the microphone with some of today’s sports legends.
THE POWER OF YOUTH SPORTS
Stockton discovered the joy of sports at an early age. Whether it was games in the neighborhood or organized programs, he loved being a part of the action.
And when we asked him how important those experiences were to him he didn’t hesitate in sharing this gem: “A lot of people talk about sports being the toy department of life, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s about participating. If you can get kids involved, and if they can learn what it means to be a teammate – and it’s no different than being in the military service where you are a teammate – and if you can get them to learn to be a teammate more than an individual who’s only concerned with himself you’re halfway there.”
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