Vail Daily column: Tripping over my lips

Richard Carnes
My View
Richard Carnes

“McCoy winds up his leg and … it’s a short kick … even shorter than his kicks in the first half! Number … um, 2 … wait, I can’t see his number … he fumbles the catch and … oh, man … Oh, MAN! … he’s … he’s trying to pick it up … I think … no, it’s … yeah, it’s … no … oh crap, I thought it was going to be a touchdown … but, hey, where’s the ball … oh, I see … wait …”

And so began — and most likely ended — my career as a play-by-play man for high school football games on local radio.

I was actually hired (“prodded over a few beers” is more like it) three years ago to provide “color” for the Eagle Valley Devils footballs games and, through no fault of my own, last Friday night was my first opportunity to see if I had what it takes to be one of the big boys in the booth.

Evidently, I still need a pacifier.

Listening to me describe a simple kickoff to begin a third quarter of play was like watching Stevie Wonder asking Ray Charles for directions during a snowstorm on Vail Pass.

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Suffice it to say my resume is no longer today than it was yesterday.

You people have no earthly idea what it takes to provide constant play-by-play verbal announcing during a sporting event, whether it involves grade school soccer or Major League Football. And trust me, neither did I until last Friday night.

My booth partner (let’s simply call him “John” to protect the innocent) these past few years is the consummate professional, a true play-by-play man with years of experience at the college level, and even a few televised games as well.

He graciously allowed me to continue paying my verbal dues for the duration of the third quarter, which could not come to an end fast enough, as my tongue constantly tripped and slipped over my lips with all the grace of Michael J. Fox throwing darts.

“The Devils rush to the line of scrimmage in a double split formation …”

“I believe that’s a double wing, Richard.”

“What? Oh, yeah, double wing, that’s what I meant. He takes the snap, hands it off to No. 32, no, wait, he still has it, he’s gonna pass … no, he’s gonna run … oh, crap, he fumbled …”

“Richard, I believe that was an option toss.”

“What? Oh, yeah … anyway … ”

And on and on it went for 30 agonizing minutes, at which point “John” welcomed listeners back to the game, apologizing profusely for what was apparently a case of “severe technical difficulties” during the entire third quarter, and promising it would “never happen again.”

But at luck would have it, due to a scheduling faux-pas, in a few weeks (Friday, Oct. 18 to be exact), I have committed (some would use the phrase “been sacrificed”) to provide play-by-play coverage of the Eagle Valley Devils vs. Battle Mountain Huskies gridiron contest, live at Husky Stadium.

Hopefully most of you can find a freshly painted wall to watch drying instead, or better yet, attend the game and listen the professionals over the PA system.

Either way, if you’re keeping a bucket list (and who isn’t after that damn movie a few years ago), scroll down to the very bottom and type in anything other than “be a play-by-play announcer for local sporting event.”

Nobody’s list is long enough for such an act to be added.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a weekly column. He can be reached at

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