From the family of Jack McGrath
A crisp, nocturnal wind blows through the stadium. The crowd seethes with anticipation, for here is the long-awaited showdown between high school rivals, Peabody and Everett, a football game with Super Bowl ramifications and a unique announcer.
“Four Everett captains take the field for the coin toss,” the Everett announcer Jack McGrath explains, “DiFlorio, Denning (D-E-N-N-I-N-G), Naumann (N-A-U-M-A-N-N) and Nazarro.
McGrath clarifies the number change of quarterback Anthony ‘The Nucleus’ Nazarro in the Peabody program. Nazarro recently assumed the retired high school jersey number of his father who died of cancer three years ago.
The Everett High cheerleaders dance to the band’s version of “Hey”! “They are coached by Maureen DiBiaso, ‘The Effervescent Eagle’ of Estes Street,” McGrath’s proud voice proclaims.
The game resumes while Jack’s words permeate the silence of his shy, play-by-play announcer Bob Caramanica. Mr. McGrath utilizes a narrative teeming with alliterations and local histories.
“Yes, Omar ‘The Emperor’ Easy of Edith Street led by fullback ‘Bull’ Borgonzi completes another first down.”
Jack turns to his co-anchor Bob, “How many yards has Easy rushed this half?”
Caramanica responds, “I think that he has run close to 100.”
“Incredible Bob, you just know these facts. I have to write things down,” says McGrath commending his partner.
The truth is that perhaps the statistics do not intrigue Jack more than the players themselves. They command his focus with the ever so careful spelling of their name or identification of their home. He values and emphasizes this information as priority, as newsworthy, as a definition.
Peabody plays courageously in the second half; however, is unable to conquer the 11-point deficit established at the half. Everett possesses the football for much of the third and fourth quarters. Jack’s praise continues for the remainder of the game.
“Unbelievable,” McGrath exclaims, his voice heightens on the last syllable. He repeats, “Un-be-liev-a- BLE!”