COLUMN: A day with alumnus Dick Enberg taught me about hard work
I’ve been blessed to meet some of the most talented media professionals in the country because of my education at Central Michigan University and employment at Central Michigan Life.
But none will ever top the experience I had last week.
I was one of just a handful of student journalists who met and gave a tour of Moore Hall and its student media facilities to sports broadcasting legend and CMU graduate Dick Enberg.
What a guy.
At 81-years-old, you could see the nostalgia percolating in his eyes as he walked through the door. When he graduated from CMU, television was in its infancy and Central was a place you went to learn to be a teacher.
“It was unthinkable that CMU would have a medical school,” he told the group during our tour. “It still is,” I thought to myself.
It didn’t really hit me that he was actually standing in front of me until he opened his mouth and that legendary voice hit my ears. He was really standing there, in our newsroom. It was incredible.
For decades, the voice of our most successful alumnus was the soundtrack to professional sports’ biggest and best moments. His tone was soft when needed and passionate when pressure was at its highest.
He was your grandfather telling you a story and your big brother celebrating your first home run.
Dick did it all. The Super Bowl, Olympic Games and Final Four. Nobody was as quick-witted and thoroughly prepared to call the a defining play.
Enberg was always ready for the big moment. And his return to campus was mine. I had the privilege of introducing Enberg to a group of about 300 students he took questions from that afternoon.
His resume — 14 Emmys, 9 Sportscaster of the Year Awards and many others — speaks for itself.
He was sitting patiently backstage when I worked up the courage to approach him and nervously blurted out: “So, Mr. Enberg … are you enjoying your visit?”
His warm smile instantly soothed my pre-speech anxiety. “You’ll do fine,” he said.
We talked for about five minutes while we waited for the lecture to start. We chatted about the media, CMU football and life after college graduation.
I told him I hope to be a fraction as successful in my career as he was during his. He wasn’t having it.
“I’ve lived a privileged life,” he modestly told me. “You can, too. If you work for it.”
His words last week have emboldened me. It was the perfect primer to the kickoff of my career in the media.
Here is what Dick Enberg taught me.
In sports, and in life, opportunities come and go, but work ethic is everything. Mr. Enberg is living proof that Chippewas can do great things.
In one five-minute conversation, he gave me some pieces of advice I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It’s very unlikely that I’ll ever end up as successful as Dick Enberg.
But after a face-to-face with the ultimate symbol of sports media success and a fellow Chippewa, my professional pledge is stronger now that it has ever been.
No matter what happens, I’ll never stop believing in the value of the work ethic built through attaining a college education.
And with the legacy of an old Chippewa named Dick Enberg in mind, I’ll find constant motivation in the power of my dreams.