Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
The focus of the Bedford Rotary Club’s luncheon on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving has been the Bedford – Concord Carlisle football game since 1981, the year Mike Rosenberg introduced the concept, modeled on a similar event in Lexington. The teams gather for some pre-game conviviality, and to hear an inspiring speaker — the typical format for a Rotary lunch.
As this year’s speaker, Rosenberg might say that his long career in Bedford (multiple terms on the School Committee and as a Selectman, along with serving as editor of the Bedford Minuteman and the Lowell Sun in their glory days) pales in comparison to his 45-year stint as the BHS press box announcer, a position he has held since 1973.
“Why me?” asked Rosenberg as he stood behind the podium. The answer immediately became clear.
Rosenberg’s career as a sportswriter began as a University of Vermont student with vision problems: Eschewing the role of equipment manager in favor of supporting the team in the press booth, he and another writer clacked out play-by-play lists on manual typewriters. In 1966 they used carbon paper to make enough copies for local sportswriters.
As Rosenberg described it, recording play-by-play action can be demanding, capturing sufficient detail in real time to be able to reconstruct reality after the fact. Then there are the colorful details that make a compelling story. Over his 50 years in the game, not much has changed, he noted. There may be new verbiage or innovative plays, but film of a game from 1966 or yesterday is equally understandable. And the carbon paper has been replaced by the magic of digital technology.
Sports as a metaphor for the best we can be as a society is not lost on Rosenberg. Games are played within a set of specific rules with clearly identified consequences, and boundaries that are sometimes forgotten off the field. He also appreciates the ongoing commitment that sports demand, as well as the inherent sense of respect that each team shows the other at the end of each game and off the field.
And, there were guests. Some faces in the crowd