A “Pro’s Pro.”

Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to be on the radio broadcast for the University of Illinois basketball team’s exhibition game. I worked alongside play-by-play announcer Brian Barnhart. While this is his 18th season as the “Voice of the Illini” for both football and men’s basketball, he also previously called games in the MLB.

As this was essentially a tune-up game, I thought Brian would just show up and do what he’s done hundreds of times before. I was wrong. I met Brian earlier that day at the game day shoot-around where he was already there intently watching the on-court action. He had compiled sheets of detailed, color-coordinated notes. Whatever the coaches emphasized, he jotted down and spoke to me of the potential it held as a talking point for the game. The magnitude of the game didn’t matter; Brian was prepared down to the detail. My appreciation for his expertise only increased as he seamlessly called the game, worked me (a rookie!) in, conducted interviews and voiced advertisements over the course of four hours. What’s more? The next day I turn on the radio to hear him calling the Illini football game, a sport with a completely different rhythm and significantly more players to know.

Brian’s a “pro’s pro.” Being a true professional enables an individual to not only have a good game but a consistent season…and not just one strong season, but a long and successful career. Anyone can have a moment, but a pro’s pros will consistently contend at the top. 

It’s simple; a pro’s pro does two things:

Over-Prepare:
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” – Muhammad Ali 
A pro’s pro doesn’t leave anything to chance. They’re attentive to minor details and consider the unexpected. A former teammate, David Anderson, is currently in his 20th season of professional basketball! He’s played all over the world, including the NBA and four Olympics. What stood out to me in our time? He never skipped steps. His pre-practice routine was specific and methodical. After games, we’d find him in the weight room. He’d even fly his trainer across the world for personalized coaching to ensure his body was in optimal condition. Prepare like a pro’s pro — it’s a prerequisite in doing anything to the best of your abilities.

Show up everyday:“Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”– Julius “Dr. J” Erving
I’ve heard a number of authors say if they only wrote when they feel like it, they would never complete a book. ‘Finishing strong’ is frequently emphasized, but I believe showing up every day is the tougher and more important task. It’s easier to finish a workout than to get out of bed and to the gym in the morning. Simply not taking days off creates opportunities.It’s guaranteed you won’t always feel like it, but those are the most important times to be resilient, show up and shoot your shot!

The preparation and attention to detail of a pro’s pro!
I was also on the call for one game last season @ Penn State. Brian’s prep and focus was at the same level for both an exhibition game as it was for a late season BigTen Conference road game.

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