Last weekend, I heard Jay Z’s song Izzo (H to the Izz-o, V to the Izz-A). Immediately, a flood of memories came rushing to mind. When I was the host of ESPN Radio’s weekend overnights, Izzo was one of several songs my producer would play for me in the final 15 minutes before air.
Just as it is for athletes, music was part of our show’s pregame routine. (Jason McBride was our producer; Brian Fitzgerald our board-op. LOVED working with those guys). The songs simultaneously relaxed me and fired me up. Jason wouldn’t start playing them until all of our show prep was complete.
In addition to Izzo, our playlist included:
- Girls, Girls, Girls – Jay-Z
- Sorry Miss Jackson – Outkast (Our Saturday night SportsCenter anchor was the late Neil Jackson. We had fun with that.)
- Roses – Outkast
- Rollout – Ludacris
- Ain’t That A Kick in the Head – Dean Martin (Bob Valvano, who’s show I followed, introduced us to that one).
Shoot, there was a second Ludacris song on our list but I can’t think of it right now.
I also had a pre-air routine for my play-by-play broadcasts. For the final 10 minutes before each game, I did absolutely nothing. My prep was done, the equipment was set up and I’d memorized my rosters. For that final 10 minutes before air, I just wanted to relax.
Certainly, I’m not the only sportscaster with a pre-game routine. I would love to hear yours. Please share in the comments section below, no matter how unusual or quirky it might be.
RIP Neil Jackson. Miss you, bro…