Norwich — Well-known docs in sports activities are nothing new —Dr. J, Dock Ellis, Doc Medich, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Doc Emrick and Doc Gooden amongst them — however we by no means actually had one right here in our nook of the world till the evolution of GameDay.
And now our foray into livestreaming highschool sports activities has produced the native superstar referred to as the Sports activities Physician, beloved coloration commentator Keith O’Brien, who has expanded his observe this summer time, transferring from the sales space to the sidelines.
O’Brien is teaching East Lyme within the native highschool summer time league, a presentation of NFA coach Dave Cornish, who cares sufficient to verify the children have an offseason outlet.
There was a biggie Wednesday night time within the league at Summit Health and Sports activities, the revival of The Rivalry between Waterford and East Lyme. And so whereas common coaches Jeff Bernardi and Invoice Bassett have been compelled to observe from the sidelines — a perform of the comatose CIAC and its refusal to undertake out-of-season teaching protocols — it was O’Brien and the Vikings in opposition to former four-time ECC championship coach Dan Spellman and the Lancers.
GameDay took the chance to affix a microphone to the Sports activities Physician for his musings in the course of the sport, the complete video of which could be seen on theday.com.
“Keith reached out to me and requested if we had a summer time league coach,” Bernardi mentioned. “I feel he misses it. Doing GameDay sort of gave him that bug somewhat bit. We’ve a great relationship and I feel he actually likes the East Lyme children.”
And the East Lyme children like him.
“He is a charismatic man,” East Lyme senior Riley Walsh mentioned. “Energetic, at all times attempting to get us overestimated. We recognize that. He is optimistic it doesn’t matter what.”
Full disclosure: Between your humble narrator and GameDay play-by-play voice Casey O’Neill, we just about heard each phrase the Physician mentioned in the course of the sport. Our purpose was to make as a lot enjoyable of him as attainable.
“It is all about you, Sports activities Physician,” Casey informed him earlier than the sport. “My purpose tonight is to make you cry.”
However the reality? O’Brien has this easy means of connecting with the children, evidenced by his sunny demeanor throughout a 40-35 win for the Vikings.
The Physician took a timeout three minutes into the scoreless sport and yelled over to Spellman, lamenting how they each ought to have guess the underneath. Spellman, too, had some enjoyable, not lengthy after Walsh made three straight threes for East Lyme. Spellman: “I believed you mentioned your workforce could not rating.”
The sport received extra attention-grabbing within the second half. Spellman hated what he was seeing from his workforce, elevating the decibel degree in protest. O’Brien wished a name and hollered to the officers, “no foul with all that bumping and grinding happening?”
As the sport received nearer, O’Brien playfully informed the refs Spellman was out of the coach’s field. With 10 seconds left and East Lyme up one, Rowan Mundell went to the free throw line for a one-and-one.
Bernardi, watching from the other sideline, started pacing. (A lot for the way it’s “solely” summer time league.) The Physician wheeled round and mentioned, “that is excessive drama!” Mundell made the photographs and the Vikings received. Nights like this make you understand once more how Waterford-East Lyme may draw a crowd for a chess match.
“I would wish to suppose we’re simply as aggressive in opposition to everybody else,” Walsh mentioned, “however it’s in all probability not true. They positively carry one thing out in me once we play them. I do know it is summer time league. However we have been fired up.”
To the delight of their summer time coach.
O’Brien had achieved some teaching at Bacon Academy and Tourtellotte in his earlier life. However that is when he was solely Keith O’Brien. Now he is the Sports activities Physician. From the sales space, asking questions of coaches, to the sidelines, asking questions of officers about all that bumping and grinding. Great.
“He takes it significantly,” Bernardi mentioned. “He likes to encourage the children, get them excited and coach them up somewhat bit. We’re not working set performs. He simply needs the children to compete.”
That is the opinion of Day sports activities columnist Mike DiMauro