Thursday, November 16, 2006

Still Spanning the Globe

I stumbled upon the end of an era this morning...the last "Spanning the Globe" segment by sportscaster Len Berman on the Today Show (at least that's what I thought...see note at end of this post).

When I was in college, I used to love watching Len Berman, who covered sports at WBZ-TV in Boston in the 1970s. I think that's when he started putting together his wacky "Spanning the Globe" sports clips. He later moved on to NBC...and I moved on to take my first reporting job in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest. It was a long way from home, and I was delighted to stumble across Berman and his "Spanning the Globe" sports report on a local NBC affiliate.

It's hard to believe now, but I was a bit of a sports fan when I was a kid. My Dad was an avid Boston Red Sox fan, and I remember Carl Yastrzemski, "the man we call Yaz" (yes, I can still sing it!), and the "impossible dream" summer of 1967, when the Red Sox came this close to winning the American League pennant. One of the things I'm truly grateful for is that my father lived long enough to see the Sox finally win the 2004 World Series.

For my Mom, it was the Boston Celtics. I remember the golden era of Coach Red Auerbach and legendary players like Larry Bird. When my Mom was in her 50s, she took her first cross-country road trip -- and one of the highlights for her was passing through the town of French Lick, Ind., the birthplace of Larry Bird.

Since then, sports have become so much harder edged and more commercial. Now I rarely pay attention to it, or miss it...except when a marker comes along like Berman's last "Spanning the Globe."

Note: Imagine my surprise at finding an email from Len Berman in my in-box this evening. He wrote:
Hi Cynthia......hopefully you'll be happy to hear that Al Roker was
just kidding this morning. "Spanning the World" is alive and well and
will next air on the Today Show December 13th.
Best regards,
Len Berman

How cool is that!

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