Sunday, December 16, 2012

No. 536 – The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) / (Evening) Time to Get Away

Performer: The Moody Blues
Songwriters: Justin Hayward, John Lodge
Original Release: Days of Future Passed
Year: 1967
Definitive Version: None

I never understood why the two tracks that make up The Afternoon were joined. It should just be Forever Afternoon, and Time to Get Away should be moved to the—get this—EVENING segment of the album. Besides, 50 percent of the reason this song is ranked right here is because of Forever Afternoon and 50 of the reason why it’s not ranked higher is Time to Get Away. Oh well.

I’m a stickler for exactitude, as I’ve noted—and you might have noticed from the anal-retentiveness of this here blog. But I love correcting people about the name of the first part of this song. The title is Forever Afternoon; it’s NOT Tuesday Afternoon, which is how most people list it and how most people think of it.

I don’t know whether it happened on a Tuesday afternoon, but my exactitude was something that forced me into action to start the second half of my sophomore year as the lead voice of Wabash basketball. My first away game as the sole person, in November, had been a debacle even bigger than that of the high-school football game I mentioned earlier.

The game was at Illinois Wesleyan, and I had called to set up the phone line under Mike’s supervision that was necessary to broadcast. Essentially, we broadcast over a phone line that plugged into the sound box and then the radio transmitter at the station. The engineer then patched it through the sound board, and we were on the air.

But something got screwed up somewhere, and no phone line had been put in for the WNDY, thus no broadcast. The guy broadcasting for Illinois Wesleyan had no trouble, and all I could think of was my glorious career as the next Bob Costas was doomed even before it began. I was surely to be fired for this screwup.

I wasn’t, and when I was named Sports Director for the second semester, beginning in 1984, I was going to make sure that didn’t happen again. The home games were fine. It was a direct line to the radio station, but I had to take care of the away games.

So one day, I spent an entire afternoon in the main office of the radio station on the phone. The first thing I did was call every school that Wabash had scheduled and ask for formal permission to broadcast the games. Of course, everyone said yes. Then it was time to deal with the phone company to set up the phone line we needed.

For the most part that meant Indiana Bell. We had a couple interstate away games after the New Year, but most of those had been over the Christmas break or in the first semester. I don’t remember the process as being one phone call to Indiana Bell, however. It was like I had to speak with representatives at different branches to set up games in, say, Terre Haute or Richmond or wherever.

The process of getting this complete—identifying and speaking with the proper person and adequately explaining what I needed—took more than one day for sure. Several followup calls were necessary, and I kept on it until I had, what I thought, was everything I needed for the second half of the season.

Now that I think about it, I think I took care of all of this during finals week before the Christmas break to make sure I gave everyone enough time to handle it before the January schedule started.

Anyway, after that, it was a crapshoot: Were the phone lines installed and did they work? It was always nerve-wracking after I’d arrive at the gym with the team a couple hours before tipoff. Was there a phone line for us? Thank goodness. Did the phone line have a dial tone when I plug in the phone? Yes, OK. Now does the black box tuner work? Yes, good. OK, can you hear me at the radio station? Am I coming through the board? Yes? We’re ready to roll.

My diligence paid off. Most of the time everything worked smoothly. There was one time when the phone company installer flat blew us off and I had to call in live reports on a separate phone line at the end of each half, but that clearly wasn’t my fault.

I wonder whether Bob Costas had to go through this when he was in college. I’m guessing not. Oh well. You got to start somewhere.

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