Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

One never knows where or when inspiration will strike and when it does it's sometimes difficult to sustain or duplicate.  But if you keep your eyes, ears, mind, and heart open as you slog through every day life, you may just find inspiration in the most unusual of places.

I am a musician and teacher, not necessarily a 'sports guy' (though the woman in my life might argue that point). For years I was an avid talk-radio listener but I found myself so anxious and uneasy during one contentious election cycle that I simply turned the dial.  By chance I stopped at sports radio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas, TX

The shtick and stats were just the kind of mindless drivel my topsy-turvy stomach needed and I welcomed the break.  But what got me 'hooked' on the Ticket was the fervor that almost all of the hosts displayed about a wide array of topics, not just sports.  In particular, the passionate musings of one Norman "Norm"  Hitzges continue to be both entertaining and inspiring upon every listen.

Norm is known for his unbridled enthusiasm, knowledge of sports, sports trivia, and all the minutia that drives most non-sports fans (or girl-friends) completely crazy. But listen for more than a few minutes and you'll learn that Norm has many interests and can speak knowledgeably about a wide array of topics. 

Norm loves to travel and often shares stories about the exotic locales, interesting vistas, harrowing outings, and wonderful food he has experienced as a veteran globe-trotter.  His bio page at the Ticket website includes an amazing slide show with pictures of some of the incredible places he has visited. It's worth a look.  The tales he tells of his travels are expressed so eloquently that he might easily earn a spot on any National Geographic special.

His interviews, though mostly sports related, are often sprinkled with cultural topics and he is equally adept at discussing baseball as he is breeds of dogs, fine wine, art, the Guinness Book of World Records, and even music. He is an amazing linguist and has a terrific vocabulary. His colleagues have deemed him the 'poet laureate of Valley Ranch' for the weekly verse he writes about the woes of yet another failed Dallas Cowboy season.  One of my favorite 'Norm-bits' is his recap of interesting and unusual names of players coming through the annual NFL Draft - it's pure genius.

What I find most inspiring about Norm is that he has seemingly reached a level of symbioses between his personal life and his professional career.  He has been a long-time supporter of the Texans Can! Academy, an organization that provides at-risk youths with education and training. And each year he hosts the 'Norm-A-Thon' that raises funds to support the Austin Street Centre for the homeless.  It's an incredible 18 hour marathon broadcast filled with a wide variety of topics, interviews, and of course, 'shtick'.  In my humble opinion, for entertainment purposes alone, it frankly puts the Jerry Lewis telethon to shame. 

I've never met Mr. Hitzges, but if I ever get the chance, I will be sure to tell him that his daily example is like inspirational fuel for me.  I can only hope to achieve the same level of expertise, comfort, and humility in my life and chosen profession.

Thanks for showing us that it can be done Norm, and keep up the great work!

Norm Hitzges is also an author and member of the Radio Hall of Fame. He writes a sports blog and can be heard weekdays on the Ticket from 10 AM to Noon.

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