Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Top 5 Moments - Greg Rakestraw

See original post here.

Greg Rakestraw

  1. 1994 World Cup, US vs. Brazil - I pick this moment simply because this is where my soccer fandom began. I was just graduating high school and getting ready to head off to college. You could play youth soccer in the next town over, but there was no such thing as high school soccer for any of the schools in my home county growing up. I watched that match, with 90K+ fans in the Rose Bowl, then ended up rooming with a soccer player my first year at UIndy. The rest is history :)
  2. 1997 Public Address Announcer for the Indiana Blast and Blaze - This isn't a particular moment per se, but a first notch in the soccer resume. I think what made me most attractive to the team was what I charged the team for doing the work...nothing. There would be Friday and Saturday night crowds at Kuntz Stadium where the team played in front of 2-3k people, and you were like, hey, we're onto something. And there would be Sunday afternoon games where I could have stood in the stands, done my PA work without a microphone, and everyone would have heard me just fine. BTW, old man moment the other day, I called a Marian soccer match on ISC where the goalkeeper for Marian is Brandon Weiger. His uncle Steve played on that Blast team. I'm now officially an old man in soccer, too.
    Editor's Note: I found some Indiana Blast games on YouTube (there are even some Indiana Twisters clips in there too). If you're interested in watching the 2nd half of an Indiana Blaze match from May of 1997, YouTube has it.
  3. 2009 IHSAA Boys' soccer state finals, Zionsville vs. Homestead - This is the first soccer match I ever broadcast. Nice to start on a small stage with a state final, right? Little did I know that the match would feature Dylan Mares and AJ Corrado, who would also feature in another moment or two further on down the list. I'm sure there were things I misspoke about, or terminology I got wrong. At the time, I knew broadcasting much better than I knew soccer. I think (I hope) I've got a pretty good grasp on both these days. 
    Editor's Note: Mares and Corrado won that state championship game with a scoreline of 3-1, with Mares getting the Eagle's first goal of the game, his 24th of the year, tying Corrado for the team high for the season. If you would like to see the game and listen to Greg's entry into soccer broadcasting, you can watch the game on YouTube (in nine parts, each 9 minute long... 123456789 ... remember the day when you had a limit to the file size for YouTube?) FYI - Mare's goal happens around the 3:10 mark of Part 3.
  4. 2014 Opening Night for the Indy Eleven - I almost got the play-by-play job by default. There were conversations with other play-by-play guys about the Indy Eleven gig, but I think I was the only local guy up for the job. Because I had approached the team about the concept of Soccer Saturday on the Fan in the fall of 2013 after the Chelsea/Inter Milan match at Lucas Oil, I think that made me the natural lead choice for the job. The excitement, the atmosphere, and the social media response I got during and after that broadcast were absolutely amazing. Plus, it introduced me to Brad Hauter, who I had never met until two weeks before the season started at the team's picture day/media session at WISH-TV. Brad and I are truly friends away from the broadcast booth, and I think that comes across on the telecasts.
  5. 2016 The Miracle at the Mike - June 11th 2016, is one of the best non-marriage, non-birth of child days of my life. I broadcast two softball state finals that day. My alma mater in Lanesville won their baseball semi-state that day to get to the state finals the next week, and I knew I would be on the broadcast the following Saturday. So then we get to the Mike and it's unlikely that the team wins the spring season title, but there's a chance. One of the things that I remember most from that night is the lack of reaction to Carolina's lone goal that night. Because the Indy Eleven were thinking about getting to 4, and not worried about allowing the 1, it was just like, 'Oh well, the other team scored a goal. Moving on.' And Brad Ring wasn't the only person to chug a beer on camera that night. Ok, Hauter and I didn't chug a beer, but we did enjoy a Silver Bullet together on camera in the post-game show. It was all legal that night.
  6. Two World Cup moments stand out for me, so I'll cheat and claim two here.
    2006 World Cup Final between Italy and France - It wasn't so much the play of that match, although the Zidane head butt is impossible to forget, but rather it was getting there at least 4 hours before kickoff to stake out the best seat in a small house to watch the match, and realizing that the investment of my time was totally worth it. Ah, the things you could do before you had kids...
    Now, let's fast-forward to 2010. USA-Algeria - Howard outlet, Landon scores, Western Hemisphere goes ape (bleep). I'm watching this match at home. Just me. I'm like running up and down the street to see if anyone else is home, watching the match, looking for someone, anyone, to hug, kiss, cry with, etc. Lesson learned, always watch big matches in a crowd so you've got someone to embrace, or punch, or kick if necessary.

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