A look back on the most compelling Southern California sports media moments of 2015, and some educated looking forward on how they could affect what’s coming up in 2016 and beyond.
What’s worth putting out there at this point:
== Jason Benetti, Rod Gilmore and Shelley Smith have the ESPN call of the UCLA-Nebraska meeting in the Foster Farms Bowl from Santa Clara (Saturday, 6:15 p.m.)
Pay attention to Benetti: His ability to forge a career in sports play-by-play despite a mild form of cerebral palsy is nothing if not inspiring.
He was born 10 weeks premature, contracted a virus and bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a lung disorder that required the aid of an oxygen machine. The result was an issue with his motor skills that led to surgery on his legs and going to second grade in a wheelchair.
“Nowadays, if you tune into a game I’m doing, you may first see my lazy left eye, a byproduct of my cerebral palsy,” he said in a recent CNN first-person story. “But through the creation of the Internet, you can know immediately that I’m not intentionally looking away from you. I care about you and what you think of the game I’m covering. And you, though you may not know it, are changing your perception of the world by watching.”
From an ESPNFrontRow.com interview, Benetti, a Syracuse graduate who also has a law degree from Wake Forest and joined ESPN in 2011, explains: “The daily difficulties are really limited to a misstep here and a stumble there. Some people who meet me may note that my shoes are more worn than the average person’s because of my gait. I’ve chosen a profession in which the way I walk doesn’t directly affect my performance.”
Another piece on Benetti from the Washington Post notes that Benetti tells his student he now teaches at Syracuse that first impressions matter, and he still has a difficult time when those in stores or at airports treat him as if he’s lost or hard of hearing, and try to put him in a wheelchair.
“It used to get me mad,” he said. “But now, I understand, I need them to go home and think about the next time they see someone who looks different, just talk normal, have a regular conversation, don’t make assumptions.”
== More college football bowl highlights in the post-Christmas/pre-New Year’s Day games: Continue reading “Weekly media notes version 12.23.15: The way we were, and what may become of us” »