Carson’s Corner: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

| February 14, 2014 | 4 Comments

Mug“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

I have been itching to write this column for quite some time but didn’t want to interfere with Mifflin County’s season. With a lull in the action until districts, now seems the appropriate time to let it breathe.

The reasons for writing this particular piece have to do with the people who influenced me to become a sports writer and a fanatical wrestling fan. Without the individuals mentioned herein, this site would not exist and the sports writer bug would never have bitten me.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a love affair with sports. I spent many days in the backyard pretending I was a superstar NFL running back or the next Ted Williams or Willie Mays. I could do this all day, without a break, and time would fly.

Included in that love affair was my excitement listening to certain broadcasters or reading quality material from various sports writers.

There was Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, Ray Scott, Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier, Jack Buck and Hank Stram, Bob Prince, Harry Kalas, John Facenda  and of course, Howard Cosell.

Locally, it was Mr. Wrestling, Bob Hower. I started listening to Bob many moons ago and it led to my participation and love for the sport of wrestling. I would read his weekly columns with zeal and listen to his broadcasts religiously. It’s pretty cool years later, we became friends and collaborated at times throughout our careers, including this website. He is a well-deserved hall of famer.

After moving to Centre County during my teenage years, I would read everything written by Ron Bracken and Doug McDonald in the Centre Daily Times. I was like a kid in candy store. Because of this duo, the best wrestling coverage team ever put together, I decided to become a sports writer.

John Dixon was a major influence on me and after we met I realized we are so much alike it’s scary. We both like the Rams and UCLA basketball and we have the same dark sense of humor. J-Wally is not only an influence, but a great human being, and I’m proud to say a friend.

It was difficult not being able to listen to Bob up in Centre County, but I found Glenn Packer, along with Harris and John Lipez to fill the void. Like Hower, I’m proud to know John Lipez as well. It was a thrill when I found out he reads and likes the Mifflin County site. All of these men influenced me in some way. They are the reason I do what I do and I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart.

One of the best things about being a sports writer is the people you meet along the way. From coaches, to fans, to the athletes, to the parents, and your colleagues.

In this business guys like Scott Franco, Jeff Sunderland, Buck Frank, Phil Cmor, Jackie Yingling, Greg Williams, Jeff Fishbein, Todd Irwin, Bill Albright, Kenny Varner. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports and many more too numerous to name have had an influence on me.

Franco, without question, is my mentor. He was the one who took a chance on me, with zero college education or writing experience, and let me learn the craft the only way it can be learned – by doing.  Thanks buddy for everything.

I am old enough to remember a world that didn’t have Internet, Facebook, Twitter, smart phones, satellite TV, personal computers or DVDs in it.

We had Pong, 8-Track tapes, radio, newspapers and about 12 television stations and sometimes you had to play around with the rabbit ears just to be able to watch!

God I’m getting old.

The 8-Track used to piss me off in a big way. I recall vividly cruising around town with my brother in his Barracuda (I’m sure Dave loved having his 13-year-old bro hanging around him, but he never complained), jamming out to the first Van Halen record. VH is still a great album after all these years.

Little Dreamer would be playing loud and proud and then the music would start to fade out. An annoying click I still hear in my mind’s eye whenever I play that song interrupted my musical experience and finally, a fade into the music again. How depressing. Killed the whole listening experience. I do not miss the 8-Track.

If you were a local sports fan, in particular a wrestling junkie in those days, Hower and company were your lifeline.

The mass media we have today was non-existent back then. People like Hower and Bracken were our source for sports news. There was no Intermat or Pennsylvania Wrestling News. No ESPN and multi-channel sports packages. Hower, Bracken and all the others were your source. Over time, you developed a relationship with them. They became an important part of your life.

They inspired me and it is my hope, in some small way, I can do the same for a new generation. If even one youngster decides to take up the sport or develop a love for writing, I did my job and know all this wasn’t in vain.

One of the worst things about becoming an adult is losing that wonderful imagination we had as kids.

Sometime I get nostalgic, think back on my younger years and how fresh and exciting it all was, and these individuals played no small part in that. Once in a while, I long for those years of wasted youth and the joys it brought me.

 Except for those damn 8-Tracks.

Category: Carson's Corner

Comments (4)

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  1. Jeremy says:


    I just wanted to say thank you, as this website was long overdue. I went to Indian Valley after transferring from West Snyder my freshman year. I didn’t miss a single state tournament from my senior year until I joined the Air Force in 1997. I have been out of the area for 17 years now, and until I found this website just this season, it was hit or miss trying to find information on the hometown boys.

    Thanks again, and keep up the good work.


  2. J. Wally says:


    Thanks for the kind words! Greatly appreciate the sentiments.

    P. S.: Wife says the check is in the mail!

    Take care and continued success with the web site!

    J. Wally

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