Over the past three weeks, I’ve had nonstop meetings and appointments followed by a trip to Las Vegas followed by an important meeting in Tucson followed by an exciting debut in Glendale (Arizona) followed by a trip to Chicago followed by more meetings and appointments, and now, finally, a deep breath.

I’ll back up a moment, because my relative peace and deep breath now is partially due to the clarity provided by a couple things from those hectic three weeks.  During the past three weeks, I had auditions for the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners public address announcer jobs.  I hesitated to say anything publicly about these auditions as I did not want to jinx myself, nor cause a commotion regarding my current similar duties for other organizations potentially without good reason.

I had a strong initial audition for the Arizona Coyotes, leading to being one of only two finalists called back for a second audition.  In the end, I was “1a” to the other announcer’s “1”, and was asked to be the backup announcer for the Coyotes–which I gladly accepted.  I was asked to announce one of the Coyotes rookie games last week against the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena (the Glendale Debut) to get things rolling.  It was an exciting experience–one I hope to repeat at least occasionally throughout the upcoming hockey season…and beyond.

The Coyotes audition also led to a strong recommendation to the Coyotes new top minor league affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, to be considered for their public address announcer position.  After wrapping up my attempt to relax in Las Vegas early last week, I drove from Vegas down to Tucson for an interview and audition with the Roadrunners.  The Tucson Convention Center Arena looked sharp as they prepared for the new season, and sounded fantastic as I took the mic for my audition.  Friday night I got the call–and became the Roadrunners first public address announcer.  Yes–Tucson is a roughly 100-mile drive from my Gilbert home, but well worth the time in the car to gain the experience of being the public address announcer for a professional hockey team.

With the dust settled on my public address announcer future, I was able to simplify my hockey time somewhat, bidding farewell to the other two organizations that I would have announced for this season, and even making the relatively difficult decision to significantly reduce my youth hockey scorekeeping to just the games I had all ready committed to for the current season.  No tournament games this season, no men’s league, no additional distractions from taking care of my family, focusing on my “day job” and tending to my Roadrunners duties.  I hope everyone that enjoys hearing me announce hockey games will make a couple trips (or more :)) down to Tucson to watch some exciting Roadrunners AHL hockey.

In addition to the closing the youth hockey scorekeeping spigot, I also stepped down from one of my youth team manager positions.  Just trying to free up more time to spend with Cynthia and Avi, just trying to rein in some sanity to my recently insane life.  I guess we’ll see if it works…

As I began to think about the weeks to come, the evenings where I can breathe and relax instead of rushing from point A to point B to point C to point D and then back to point A, the Rent soundtrack provided a somber break…

Will I lose my dignity?
Will someone care?
Will I wake tomorrow
From this nightmare?

Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?  The first person I wanted to tell about getting the Roadrunners position?  Micah.  No, getting closer to my dream job isn’t a nightmare in itself, but it’s part of the overall nightmare I’ve been living since January 15th.  If it wasn’t for Micah, I wouldn’t be involved with hockey.  If it wasn’t for Micah, I wouldn’t have started doing public address announcing again after 16 years.  Now, as I get closer to the big stage, I can’t share the moment with my muse–not in any tangible sense.  Sure, I talked to him about it in much the same way I say goodbye to him every morning when I leave for work.  Yes, I looked up towards the heavens and told him this was for him.  Naturally I’m trying to think of some way to have him there–tangibly–with me when I make my regular season debut…maybe a “37” pendant on my necklace?  A new notebook or tablet cover with a big 37 on it?  Maybe just his picture in the announcing booth with me.

I can’t believe he’s gone.  I can’t fathom why he’s not here enjoying the moment with me,  why he wasn’t waiting for me on Monday night to talk about the circus that was the first presidential debate, why I have to make an appointment in a couple weeks to design and have his headstone made…

His headstone.

To be placed above his grave.

His final resting place.

Another place where I can talk to my son, but he cannot answer…