On Dec. 21, 2017 the sports world lost a Hall of Fame broadcaster and I lost my idol.
To me, there was no broadcaster more talented than Dick Enberg and no one I looked up to more. I grew up listening to him and when I was 13 years old, Enberg became the play-by-play voice for the San Diego Padres, my home team.
His voice proved to be a source of comfort for me over the years and whenever I would have a hard day, I would go home, turn on the television and listen to him as I watched the Padres play.
Enberg’s love for the game of baseball and love for broadcasting led me to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.
In the spring of 2017, I received a communications internship with the San Diego Padres. Although Enberg had retired from broadcasting at the end of the 2016 season, I knew he was still heavily involved with the Padres organization and that it was very likely that I would run into him at some point during my internship.
It turns out, his office would be right across from mine in the press box.
I have had a number of people tell me that you should never meet your idols, because you will only be disappointed at just how ordinary they are. They will never be able to live up to how you have imagined them to be.
However, when I finally met Dick Enberg, I found that he was simply extraordinary. He was everything I had imagined him to be and his voice was even more comforting in person. Enberg had a presence about him that I had never experienced before and even though I was just an intern, he would treat me as if we were colleagues.
Oftentimes Enberg would walk into my office and start talking to me about his latest project that he wasn’t supposed to be telling anyone about and asking my opinions on it because he really did care what I thought.
Dick Enberg had gone from my idol who I had only ever imagined meeting, to a friend and mentor.
Not only did he make a significant impact on my life, but he also had an impact on PLNU and the students who have graduated from here. Enberg had provided multiple PLNU students with internships over the years, most recently 2016 graduate Connor Larson, who served as Enberg’s assistant.
If there was one thing Enberg loved more than sports, it would be teaching.
Before he retired from broadcasting, he had spoken on air about wanting to return to teaching at a university once the 2016 baseball season was over.
Little did most know, Enberg was heavily considering teaching the Special Topics in Journalism course here at PLNU. Enberg had a love for San Diego and Point Loma that led him to want to teach at PLNU.
As I return to the Padres organization for a second internship this season, I am reluctant to return to my office because I know that when I look up from laptop, the office across from me will be empty.
It is still hard for me to come to terms with the fact that on Sunday mornings, Dick Enberg won’t walk into my office and tell me who he wants to interview next for his podcast.
To be honest, I thought I would have so much more time to converse and learn from him. However, when I look back on the time I got to spend with him I can only think, “Oh, my! How lucky I am.”
Touch ‘em all up in heaven, Professor.