By: Max Wolpoff
Sports are weird.
There is an old writing proverb that asks anyone stuck on what to write to “write one true sentence.” Staring at a blank screen for the last few days, that is the best I can come up with.
My apartment of the last two years is mostly packed away in cardboard boxes to be put on a moving truck for my future residence in Coral Gables, Florida. The final episode of Scarlet and White is recorded and to be posted shortly after I find the words to describe my four years at WTBU Sports. It took until after a long and boring graduation ceremony at Nickerson Field under pouring rain as we lined up and a baking sun as we waited for speakers to finish long-winded points, but I think I have the words I need.
If I thanked every broadcast partner I had, this would run on for too many words and I would get passive-aggressive texts from editors telling me to narrow the list. Instead, I want to take my final column as a way to celebrate four years of Boston University moments.
Young broadcasters often dream of working Madison Square Garden during their careers. I got to work that Manhattan dump within a month of starting at WTBU for Red Hot Hockey. The two other people who were supposed to broadcast the actual game did not show up in New York City and left me alone with the equipment for my first radio play-by-play job by default. No pressure or anything.
Of the players to score goals for BU in the 3-3 tie, two (Jordan Greenway and AJ Greer) have made it to the NHL. David Quinn is now the head coach of the New York Rangers. Charlie McAvoy is blossoming into a star for the Boston Bruins. Danny O’Regan made the NHL with the San Jose Sharks, then got traded to Buffalo and reunited with Jack Eichel. It is still odd for me to hear their names on television and think “hey, we went to the same school!”
The same goes for the Women’s hockey team. Working for the Boston/Worcester Blades, I got to see plenty of BU talent on display from years prior to my arrival and corresponding with my first few years. While strange, I did enjoy getting to catch up with Victoria Bach, Dakota Woodworth, Kayla Tutino, and Rebecca Leslie when they made their way back to Massachusetts as professionals. Alexis Crossley [record scratch] Alexis Miller (sorry, force of habit) came out of a previously-announced retirement to play for Worcester.
My time with the Women’s team is well-documented. Of my 98 broadcasts for WTBU Sports or BU’s television feed, the plurality came with that team taking the ice. I followed them as far North as Maine and as far South as Penn State, even going over the heads of station management to call a game in Connecticut. If I wanted a game, I took it.
No reminiscing on my career would be complete without discussing The Call. I was not assigned to call that game between BU and No. 2 Minnesota. In fact, just like at MSG, I got the game becuase the assigned person did not show up. I was in the booth above where That Goal was scored because Minnesota brought their own radio person. As usual, I got lucky.
Start to finish, that game was the best hockey game I watched that season in any league and for any team. The finish, however, is the only thing anyone wants me to talk about. It takes until the eleventh page of Google search results for “Natalie Flynn” to find my name tied to her goal – thanks to the game story I wrote for this site. Consequently, “Max Wolpoff” has four of the first page results devoted to the now-infamous narration. I will have a lot of explaining to do in job interviews the next few years.
I broadcasted at least one game for every school in the Patriot League and in Hockey East. The last of those teams in the cycle were Loyola Maryland and UMass-Lowell (in Softball and not hockey, but I count it). It was not a sure thing that I was on the Loyola game until the day before the contest, and then one Max Mahoney dive out-of-bounds took me right off the game.
A championship moment, however, never felt like it would come. Women’s hockey ran into undefeated Boston College in early 2016. American field hockey turtled after grabbing an early lead in the next academic year. I was out of town when Men’s hockey won the conference in 2018. I never had the time to work the Women’s Soccer victories. I had already moved out when Softball hosted the tournament in 2018. The closest I thought I would ever come to witnessing a BU title came when Sammy Davis lifted the puck into the net in overtime at Harvard in the pouring rain for the Beanpot.
Thanks to the rain, in part, BU Softball gifted me one last chance for that moment. On what was supposed to be the final day of the season, enough rain came through Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to cancel the decisive third game between BU and Bucknell, awarding BU hosting rights by virtue of a better in-conference record. On my last kick at the can, I called every game of the tournament.
On a 1-1 pitch grounded to third base, Alexa Ponce threw out Jen Stoll at first for the final out and a repeat championship. After four years of waiting and in the last possible chance to do so, I had my championship call for the right school.
I may not broadcast another game for a long time. While I want to get back into it later on, I made a promise to my grandfather that I would give law school an honest effort if I got in. This was my last promise to him – and I intend to keep it.
Good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight Boston University.