Lessons from the Field: What a ride it’s been. Thank you’s and what’s next for Patty G

I’ve learned in my short time on this Earth that walking away from something is not easy. Especially if you poured your heart and soul into it for four years. This May marks the end of my high school career, and it’s hard to believe the ride is coming to an end.

I have to thank a lot of people before I try to describe what the past few years have been like. It starts with my parents and brother Parker, who have helped me so much along the way. A lot of people I talk to my age who are interested in broadcasting don’t have support from their family to pursue their dream, because their families don’t believe they can make it. Since Day 1, my family has supported me 100% in pursuing my broadcasting and career dreams, never once questioning my passion or reason behind liking what I do. They believe in me and always ask how they can help. That support has been paramount to my growth and success over the past few years.

Another big support system for me has been my extended family, especially my grandparents, who also would do anything to help me out. My grandparents Marlene and Bud in Vermont watch my sports show everyday, and are always amazed at what I do. They are my biggest fans in the world. My grandparents Len and Catherine in Ohio are also frequent watchers of my show, always interested in what I’m doing in front of the camera.

I’m also thankful for such a great network of broadcasting professionals and family friends in the industry who have lined up to assist me in any way they can. Shireen Saski, sideline reporter and rinkside host with CBS Sports and Westwood One took me under her wing when I first met her and husband Dave Starman in 6th grade. Dave, a hockey analyst for CBS Sports, ESPN, and NHL Network, and Shireen have both had a tremendous impact on me as a person and broadcaster. I shadow them anytime they are covering a Miami game in Oxford or on the road, and both have always been so generous with their time in making sure I’m doing the right things to be successful. Shireen and Dave were most helpful in assisting with my college decision, encouraging me to go to Miami for the free tuition and to build as much broadcasting opportunity as possible in my time there. Without them, I would not be the broadcaster and motivated person I am today. They are always a phone call or text away from helping me.

When I was first starting to play-by-play announce games, I used the great help and guidance from CBS Sports play-by-play personality Ben Holden, who I met around CBS Hockey Broadcasts with Dave and Shireen in 6th grade. Ben announces college football, basketball, and hockey, and enjoyed a stint broadcasting the Alliance of American Football Game of the Week for CBS Sports Network this past spring. He helps me prep for games and ensures I’m ready, taking time out of his busy schedule to call me whenever I have a question.

Others that have made a huge impact on me over the years have been the many other media members I’ve had the chance to watch and shadow, especially at NHL games in Columbus. I’ve had the privilege to spend time with FOX Sports Ohio Intermission Host Bill Davidge, Washington Capitals Radio and NBC Sports Play-by-Play announcer John Walton, and St. Louis Blues Radio Play-by-Play announcer Chris Kerber. All three men have been so kind, generous, and helpful to me the past few years as I further explore my passion. These experiences have landed me with the dream to one day broadcast in the NHL — my ultimate goal.

I also have to thank those at Miami for their wonderful support and assistance — especially the voice of Miami Hockey, Greg Waddell. Ever since I can remember, I would often go in the radio booth and put on a headset next to Greg, listening to him call Miami Hockey games. Over the years, he and I have developed a fun friendship, and it’s been awesome to spend time with him both at home and when I have a chance to travel with the team. This past January, I made my college hockey broadcasting debut alongside Greg, serving as his color analyst at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, MI for the Miami radio broadcast of a Saturday game at Western Michigan. Luckily, I saw Dave Starman the night before, who was broadcasting the Friday game for CBS Sports Network. Driving my dad and I back to the hotel, Dave gave me some helpful tips on how to be a color analyst on radio. The boy who once put the headset on and peered over the ledge at a young age got the chance to call a game with a great family friend, and I thank Greg and everyone else behind the scenes who worked hard to make that happen. As a high schooler at “recruitable age,” the Miami Athletics Compliance team needed to check with NCAA rules to make sure I could do the broadcast. It was cleared the morning of the game, and I was ready to go. At the start, it was a nerve wracking, but I settled in to an unbelievably rewarding experience. And everyone was there to support me.

I also want to thank those at Miami who have helped me get involved in student media organizations. I began calling hockey games on Redhawk Radio this past season alongside Kenny Schierlinger, who made me his unofficial assistant at the beginning of this school year. I had the opportunity to cover basketball, hockey, and baseball this past season with them, including a chance to host halftime, pregame, and postgame segments at the MAC Basketball Tournament from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland this past March. Kenny will be moving on next year, and I wish him nothing but the best as he begins his sports media career.

I’ve had some unbelievable opportunities in media at Talawanda, and I thank everyone that has given me the opportunity to grow the wonderful programs here. Andy Zimmerman has been the best teacher anyone can ask for. Energetic, smart, hilarious, and creative, he gave me the opportunity to lead Brave TV, and I thank him for believing in and letting me take the reigns of something I’m incredibly proud of. He is so generous for letting me anchor a daily segment on the news for two straight years, and the freedom and flexibility he has given me in helping Brave TV reach as far as it can has been incredible. I will always remember where I came from, and it all mostly happened in room 301 at Talawanda High School. Also a special shoutout to Mr. Aerni and Mrs. Weatherwax for letting me write pieces for the Talawanda Tribune alongside my TV work.

Lastly, I’ve made some wonderful friends from hockey, golf, cross country, and the million other things I’ve been involved in during my high school career. There are too many names to include here, but I’d like to mention a few. My friend Nick at Badin has always been there for me in tough situations. We don’t spend enough time together during the school year, but hit the golf course often in the summer. Also to some great friends at Talawanda, Ben Farmer (my replacement at Braves Buzz in Middle School), Josh, Aiden, Luke, Jarrett, and Garrett — who are supportive and fun to work and hang out with inside and outside of school.

I must also mention some great family friends of ours in Nashville, Kevin and Kayla Contado, who would do anything for me. They help me out personally and professionally with all sorts of things, and are always a phone call away if I need anything. I need to also acknowledge the Blasi family for being great family friends during the past 20 years. Our relationship has grown during recent difficulties, but my godfather Rico and great friend Sophie have always been there for me and my family. There are too many names to mention in this part between golf, hockey, and school, and if your name isn’t listed, please don’t be offended.

A lot of people ask me what it takes to become a school celebrity. I’ll tell you it takes a lot of dedication, crazy amounts of passion, and most importantly, a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and how to get there. I’ve learned over these past four years that nothing is guaranteed, people will come and go in life, and there’s a lot of figures out there who want glory, but are not willing to put the work into it.

When I first got to the high school, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish with the opportunities in front of me. I wrote and conducted news reports, staying after school to interview school officials about current issues. I’d then air the news report, and then write an article for the newspaper about the same topic. I wanted to play-by-play announce sports, and was able to do some basketball games my freshman year, when our livestream program was just getting started. My sophomore year, I continued with the same, working hard to improve my skills and our show. My junior year, I was named Student Director of Brave TV, and began to implement the changes I saw we needed to make.

That began with the daily sports segment I host, a new and improved Student and Teacher of the Week Segment, and partnerships with local media companies such as ICRC TV, who airs select Talawanda games during all sports seasons. We also drastically expanded our livestream program, airing multiple volleyball, basketball, football, soccer, and lacrosse contests over the school year. This gave me plenty of reps in play-by-play announcing, and along with studio hosting, it’s made me a versatile broadcaster years ahead of where I should be.

I think what all of these experiences at Talawanda have taught me are that pouring your heart and soul into something will bring huge rewards. Somehow, I ended up as this year’s Homecoming King. I’ve been Class President the past two school years, and this year, the school elected me as Student Body President. I’ve become a public figure at school and in the community. I get asked to appear and speak at many school and community events, and have been nominated to numerous awards through Oxford service organizations. It’s been great to be recognized in the community, and I thank everyone who’s made all of these wonderful opportunities possible.

My advice to new high schoolers would be to get involved in many things and excel at them. There have been some days over the past 4 years where I would go to school, attend a club meeting right after, have sports practice for two hours, go home and take a shower, then come back to announce a game at night. There are going to be times like that. But they teach time management, the importance of focusing and taking it one thing at a time, and being valuable to a lot of people. If you can handle a schedule like that, you can handle pretty much anything life throws at you.

Next year, I will be attending Miami University to study Journalism and Sports Management. I am excited for the opportunity to continue building those important relationships with the people mentioned above, and stay near my family and friends. But as everyone who lives in this town knows, sometimes it feels Oxford has walls that keep you in from the rest of the world. If I get a little tired of that, there’s always the opportunity to transfer somewhere else.

I’ve been so lucky to have many sports experiences throughout my life with Miami, including attending Frozen Fours at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC and Ford Field in Detroit, as well as Hockey City Classic outdoor games at Soldier Field in Chicago. I’ve been to many NCAA Hockey Regionals in Fort Wayne, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Manchester, NH — and my all-time personal favorite, the annual CCHA Tournament at the late Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. I’ve seen Red Sox games at Fenway, and many NHL games at Nationwide Arena in Columbus and TD Garden in Boston. Going to these events and their atmospheres are what I live for, and I hope to spend my career at venues and events like these. Going to places and games throughout my life are what has propelled my dream to broadcast NHL Hockey and big time college sports each and every day. I don’t miss a Saturday night of Hockey Night in Canada, where I watch my favorite broadcasters celebrate the sport I love, and where one day, I hope to be alongside them. I have a Hockey Night logo above my bedroom door and on the back of my phone to constantly serve as a reminder of what I’m working towards. Someday, just like me, I want to be the person on TV that kids look up to and watch, saying “That’s who I want to be one day.”

My last day at Talawanda will be very emotional. However, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things, where even greater opportunity awaits. This place will forever remind me of the potential we have in the world to build our own legacy. I’ve been able to do that here, and it has been utterly amazing. The memories I’ve made, the people I’ve met, and the things given to me over the past four years have done wonders for my self-confidence and growth moving forward.

This school will always hold a place of utmost prestige in my heart. Thanks for everything Talawanda.

Patrick Geshan hosts “The Final with Patty G” weekdays on Brave TV.