The Fanatic


Posted by SwampyMeadows, Features Contributor,
Monday, March 21 2005



BEVERLY HILLS (MI) -- As the 2004-2005 Flyer hoops season fades into the background and the Red Sox defense of their World Championship begins to unfold, my thoughts drifted to perhaps the greatest sports fanatic that I have ever encountered. I love UD and had "waited until next year" with the Sox for as long as I can remember, but this guy (with whom I shared the Boston/Dayton connection) made me feel like a novice sports fan in his presence, he was just so damned knowledgeable.

His name was Steve Weisberg.

I first met Steve when I worked at WVUD in the mid '70s. He roomed with fellow 'VUDers Kevin Carroll and John "Blump" Murray and ended up working for "The Radio Station" himself doing sports, production and the occasional airshift.

Some things I remember vividly about Weisberg:

-- His red hair and the permanent grin on his face -- the dude was always smiling.

-- I never, ever once beat Weisberg at table hockey -- and not for lack of trying. I considered it a moral victory if I even scored on him.

-- Steve always played a flawless SS for the WVUD Burnouts softball team.

-- Weisberg was really into Patriots football when most New Englanders (myself included) paid the team absolutely no heed. The Pats were then a distant fourth behind the Sox, the Celts and Bobby Orr's Bruins in garnering attention in the Hub sports galaxy. This was back when the Pats featured "Mini Mack" Herron and "Sam Bam" Cunningham -- decent teams, but hardly the juggernaut that they are nowadays.

-- Steve loved Monday Night Football, which had just started airing on ABC and did a dandy imitation of Don Meredith's laugh.

-- He did a Coaches Show on 'VUD with then UD Football Coach and perpetual optimist Ron Marciniak who, to be kind, was not the sharpest tool in the shed. (I 'Googled' Ron's name and he is currently a scout for the Baltimore Ravens.)

-- Weisberg was wild about the Motown sound, but he absolutely loved the Allman Brothers Band. To this day, whenever I hear a tune by them (especially the instrumental classic "Jessica") I always think of Steve Weisberg and smile.

-- Like a lot of Jewish kids, Weisberg went to camp every summer when he was growing up. Steve went back to the camp in New Hampshire and worked as a counselor during summers at UD -- my wife and I went up there to visit him one time when we were home seeing my folks.

-- I was the Sales Manager at 'VUD at the time and Weisberg constantly begged and pleaded with George Biersack and me for us to hire him as an AE when he graduated, but we didn't have any openings. Finally, Don Kidwell the GM at our cross-town rival WTUE hired Weisberg. Steve eventually moved back to Boston and got a good sales job with the TV station that carried the Bruins.

-- Steve grew up in Randolph, MA, a suburb on the South Shore of Boston, just off Route 1. I had lived in a big brown house on Highland Avenue in Randolph until I was 4 ½ years old and then my dad took the job as Chief of Surgery in Leominster, 55 miles to the west. About the only things that I remembered about Randolph were that house; Buster, the German shepherd next door and the little girl who lived down the street. Her name was Kathy Keilly and she was a cutie -- we had pictures of the two of us together. I recall mentioning to Steve that I used to live in his hometown when I was little. He asked what street our house was on and if I still knew anybody there. When I told him the name of my 4-year-old crush, his jaw dropped and he said "You knew Kathy Keilly???" Turns out she became the Class President, head cheerleader and All-American girl at Randolph High. Who knew?

-- When Weisberg finally met the love of his life, he faced a dilemma: his fiancée was a Catholic girl from NY. The two of them came up with a nuptial resolution worthy of King Solomon: on one weekend they had a Catholic wedding in front of a priest on Long Island and the next weekend, it was off to Randolph and a ceremony in the temple before a rabbi. Voila, everybody's happy!

-- A year or two later, I was back home in MA and called Weisberg to see if we could get together. Steve wasn't home; it turned out he was in the hospital, sicker than his family let on. A few months later, Steve Weisberg was dead, way too young. He was the first person I knew that was my age that had died and it touched me deeply and permanently.

When Larry Bird and the Celts ruled the NBA in the '80s, the Patriots won their 3 Super Bowls in the new millennium and most certainly when the Sox finally ended 86 years of frustration last year, I know that Steve enjoyed it as much as the rest of us did down here. And I am positive that Weisberg is loving BG's Boys and the promise that the young Flyers hold for the future. I'm sure that anybody that ever knew Steve Weisberg -- especially his friends Kevin, Blump, "Dolby" Joe Reiling, Rudy Wehner and Mark Giangreco -- would agree with me.

That's it "From the Swamp"





Jim Swampy Meadows is Features Contributor of UDPride.com.
He can be reached at swampy@udpride.com.

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