Thursday, July 03, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Scott Garceau, a man who never worked a day in his life

Back in 2003 when we started this website, the first local celebrity to reach out to me was Scott Garceau. I called Scott and explained my plans for 24x7 – then really not much more than a hobby. He happily agreed to be the subject of my first interview.

I first met Scott back in 1981. He was relatively new to the Baltimore sports scene and I was a student at Loyola College serving as a marketing intern for the Baltimore Colts. In his typically polite and gracious way, Garceau pretended to remember our very first encounter.

During the interview I asked Scott most of the typical questions you might expect. After all he was and is a well respected member of the Baltimore sports media and he is a voting member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee. His resume speaks volumes.

During his years covering sports, Scott has heard, seen and experienced things that the average fan and/or sports enthusiast can only dream of. And despite the many fascinating stories he shared, the thing that struck me most about our conversation is how real Scott Garceau is.

He has been the humble recipient of many prestigious accolades and awards yet through it all he remains grounded. He has never taken for granted his good fortune. He respects it and embraces it while wearing his humility on his sleeve like a badge. It is his reminder that celebrity makes you no better than the man or woman beside you who may not be as fortunate.

Scott once told me, “I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life.”

What he meant was that Scott loves what he does so much that to him the job never felt like work.

He recalls vividly and fondly the days when he paid his dues and worked for relatively paltry wages. Yet he stayed the course, pursued his passion and the rewards followed.

Some of you may remember Scott for his sports anchor duties at WMAR. Some may think of Scott as the voice of the annual Turkey Bowl between Calvert Hall and Loyola or as the voice of the NCAA lacrosse tourney. Some may even recall his play-by-play duties alongside Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer during Orioles broadcasts.

For me Scott’s defining moments as a sports journalist took place during that magical 2000 season for the Ravens. I can close my eyes in the quiet of my office and hear his call when Brandon Stokley ended the touchdown drought; when Shannon Sharpe caught the caromed pass against Denver for a touchdown during the wild card playoff game; when Ray Lewis ripped the ball from Eddie George’s hands in Nashville; when Sharpe again took it the distance against the Raiders.

And of course there was the call of Jermaine Lewis answering Ron Dixon’s kickoff return with one of his own in Super Bowl XXXV.

Garceau leaves behind big shoes to fill.

Upon hearing the news of the Garceau announcement, I asked WMAR weekend sports anchor Rob Carlin if Scott’s departure might signal more opportunity for him. Rob told me that it’s still too early to tell and that alternate plans were being developed. He added, “It’s hard to replace a legend. I feel like Doug DeCinces or Jared Gaither.”

I’m sure Gerry Sandusky can relate.

So Scott Garceau closes a chapter in his book of life as he moves on to the next chapter and the next set of challenges, experiences and adventures. No longer will he welcome us each weeknight with his signature, “Hi Everybody!”

Garceau won’t completely disappear from the local sports landscape. He is expected to handle some choice WMAR assignments and possibly some other projects with other sports networks.

But don’t expect the work to be too taxing for Garceau.

After all, he’s never worked a day in his life.

Photo by Sabina Moran