Into a Prospective Broadcaster

by Eric Gilmore

Jealousy creates envy. I experienced a hint of both while reading the fact that some 18-year-old punk gets an interview with O.J. Simpson, one of the most controversial and aloof athletes on the planet. Graham Bensinger got the most prominent story on, one of the most widely read web sites. Okay, maybe the kid isn’t a punk. Maybe, I’m just jealous.

Graham Bensinger, the broadcast phenom, gets to hobnob with celebrities on his weekly radio show in St. Louis, which is carried by the ESPN affiliate, 1380 AM. This guy is pulling interviews with some of the business’s best just months departed from his high school graduation. His website boasts pictures of him posing with a Who’s Who of broadcasters, athletes and celebrities.

I look farther into his bio and Bensinger has climbed more than 25 mountains higher than 14,000 feet. He’s summitted Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Rainier. I was waiting for the next line to read that he walks on water.

If the radio show’s brilliance wasn’t enough, it was his perception during his interview with O.J. Simpson. The very Simpson, not who dominated the NFL and was a steady broadcaster and actor, but the guy who captivated an audience for much of 1994.  Bensinger’s flawless writing served as icing on the cake and punch in the gut at the same time.

Then, I reflected and asked myself why I was so angry. This University of Syracuse bound broadcaster has everything that I covet. He’s a natural. And what rubs salt in the wound is that he has it at 18.

I’m only 20 years old. I’m barely considered an embryo in this broadcast and sport reporter world where fossils like Bob Ryan and Dr. Jack Ramsey reside. I have youth on my side. Same as the Bensinger prodigy. Why can’t I be like him and interview Stuart Scott on my next show? Bensinger doesn’t have anything that I don’t have, right?

But that’s where the parallels between Bensinger and me stop. I don’t know how to eloquently dictate speech. I say “you know” and “umm” more than chickens hatch eggs. I can’t write a prize winning article based on two hours with O.J. Simpson.

I felt like Craig Ehlo being crossed up by Michael Jordan. Some chosen ones have the gift while others have to rely more on effort. Whether it’s natural athletic ability or the ability to ad-lib, some people are just naturals.

But what affirms my love for my job is East Carolina. Bensinger can have his natural recognition and fame. I’m perfectly happy covering a team that is continually fighting for respect. I love ECU for its awesome fan base. I love the Pirates because I’ve felt a part of this school long before I started attending it.

If Graham Bensinger knew what was good for him, he should be jealous of me. That’s right. He won’t get my type of experiences on his silly St. Louis radio show or at any Syracuse game. Maybe, his next mountain to climb can be the new one known as Pirate envy.

Eric Gilmore