There is a hockey team in Canada made up of Catholic priests called the Flying Fathers. There was a horse named Onion who beat Triple Crown winner Secretariat in a Stakes race. These stories and many, many more, I have heard and loved over the past 24 years.
It was recently announced that my favorite radio program, Only A Game, is being canceled this September after 27 years on the air. I have been listening to the show for 24 of those 27 years.
Only A Game is one of the very, very few things that has been consistent for me through this pandemic. Every Saturday, I can listen to Only A Game. Even though there are no sports right now, they still manage to produce the hour-long sports show weekly. Only A Game is so much more than sports commentary for that week. We learn about the history of sports and heartwarming stories of athletes.
Through the years, Only A Game has seen me through all four of my college degrees. Only A Game has been one of the few things in my life that has always been there for me, similar to my Adirondack camping trips.
With the pandemic even canceling my camping respite this year, I have been clinging to Only A Game like a lifeline.
To say that I am heartbroken over the impending cancelation of Only A Game is an understatement. I do not listen to Only A Game for sports scores or speculation. I listen to Only A Game to learn about athletes, sports I love, and to be exposed to sports I maybe don’t love or perhaps even heard of.
The show has a portion called “Three Stories You Should Know.” That segment brings me up to date on what I need to know for the week. Other than that, it is the in-depth vignettes that keep me riveted every week.
I learned about a current Major League Baseball star who is also a star on the rodeo circuit. I learned about a photo of an Olympic swimmer that made the rounds on US Navy submarines during WWII that was a kind of inspiration to the troops. I have heard about marathons, scuba diving, soccer, and pretty much every sport out there.
These are stories that I will not get to hear or learn about once Only A Game is gone. No other radio show or podcast even holds a candle to how well done Only A Game is or what it teaches me.
When Only A Game goes off the air this September, it will be truly the End of An Era. I have no idea what will fill the space left in the void. To be honest, I don’t think anything will. Yes, I can read the newspaper or listen to the radio for sports scores and standings. That is not the point. The point is that Only A Game takes me way beyond scores and standings and teaches me so much more.
I will continue to listen to Only A Game faithfully each week until it is time for the program to sign off the air. I will admit that I have shed many tears this week upon hearing of the upcoming cancelation.
Anyone who knows me well knows I grew up on radio. I have certain stations and programs that are close to my heart. I listen to radio programs like how other people have their TV shows. Only A Game has been my favorite for over half my life. No other radio program has had a bigger impact on me than Only A Game.
I’m sure that I will be shedding more tears between now and the cancelation this September. Until then, I will keep listening to and keep loving Only A Game each week.