Monday, November 21, 2011

Benkin makes TU football fun to listen to again

Ron Menchine (left) and Dave Sims were terrific announcers for Temple football.

We take a break from all of this bowl talk (about five days premature, if you ask me) to get something off my chest that has been bugging me for over 20 years.
As a kid, I used to love listening to Harry Kalas do the Phillies and Charlie Swift and, later, Merrill Reese do the Eagles.
Some of my greatest sports moments have come from Harry the K saying "there is it, the No. 500 home run for Michael Jack Schmidt" and literally hearing the tears stream down his face over the enormity of the moment.
Ron Menchine was a terrific announcer for Temple back in the day as well.
Ed Benkin and I have only one thing in common and
that is a face for radio. Hire this guy immediately.
"There he goes, Henry Dynamo Hyno Hynoski, running over Pitt defenders like they were bowling pins. He looks like Bronco Nagurski our there."
I didn't know who Bronco Nagurski was at the time but I knew he must have been good because Ron Menchine said so.
Dave Sims, now at Westwood One, was a superb play-by-play guy for Temple in the 1990 season.
I miss Harry Kalas very much and I still enjoy Merrill, but our own Harry (Donahue) comes up small in comparison.
Very small.
Too much of this: "Owls make the tackle. There's a fumble. Temple recovers! No check that, they didn't.." Or: "The ball is INTERCEPTED! No, dropped."
Or calling Temple's kicker Bernard McManus. Or calling a bone-jarring hit a jone-barring hit.
I could go on and on but there is only so much bandwidth on the internet.
The last 20-plus years as a Temple fan have been a silent spring for me.
I try to avoid the radio as much as possible because it is just too frustrating to listen to anymore. Steve Joachim, I like. I know some people can't take Steve but I think he knows offensive football inside and out and I don't mind hearing his perspective.
Then Harry Donahue took a trip to Puerto Rico with the basketball team and, all of a sudden, Temple football announcing got good again.
Ed Benkin did a terrific job in Donahue's place. He and Joachim were a nice tandem.
I don't know Ed, personally. Heck, I've never even met the guy but I know he's good. When I'm out jogging on a Saturday afternoon (and I've done that the two weeks Temple was playing on Wednesdays), I like to take my transitor radio and scoot around the dial.
I fell on some Princeton football games and thought, "who is this guy" doing the play-by-play?
He was that good.
It was no fluke he was good for Temple as well.
Benkin, a co-worker of Donahue's at KYW, did a terrific job getting the down and distance right and who had the ball and who caught it, all the first time.
Important stuff when you are the eyes and ears of the fans on the other end of the dial.
Now, do I think Benkin has a shot getting the full-time job?
Harry and Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw are long-time golfing buddies and I don't think Bradshaw would have the gonads to tell Harry to take a hike.
I hope I'm wrong for the 270K alumni who would like to have an opportunity to listen to Temple football again without throwing the radio out the window.
Those transitor radios can get pretty expensive to replace.