Eddie Doucette--overdue honor, and belated thanks
As a kid, your room is your space, the walls a place to express your likes and leanings, your idols and your beliefs.
I was no different as a junior high schooler in the late 60's and 70's, but I'm guessing my bedroom was the only one that sported this photo.
The voice of the Bucks was my nightly companion as I tackled my pile of homework. We lived and died with the fortunes of Lew Alcindor, Greg Smith, Lucius Allen and the rest of the green and red as they fought for NBA greatness. We got spoiled when the Bucks won the title just three years into their existence in 1971. That didn't take long, we thought, and more championships are certainly part of our future.
We're still waiting.
Eddie was our eyes and ears in those early days when radio brought us every dribble and dunk, when TV games were rare occasions. Even then, Doucette was at the mike.
He had his own dictionary--the toaster, the land of the giants, the sky hook are all his creation. The former top 40 DJ took to pro hoop like it was in his DNA and there was no one I wanted to be more when I grew up. The first incarnation of the team in '69 was a motley crew but Eddie SOLD IT. You hoped for victory but settled for the fact that, though the Bucks had lost again, they'd played above expectations before finally succumbing.
And, Eddie told us, there was always tomorrow night. We would be there, too.
The arrival of Alcindor and Oscar Robertson put the team on a playoff flight path that would continue, with few interruptions, well into the 80's. Eddie would bolt after 16 years for Portland and other green pastures, but he would leave behind the MACC fund, created with former Buck and broadcast partner Jon McGlocklin. It continues to thrive today under the watchful eyes of Johnny Mac and director John Cary.
It was at a MACC Fund golf outing that I met Eddie years ago, and I was a babbling fool. I hemmed and hawed, stuttered and stammered. I think I said a lot of thank-you's, as in thank you for all of the fun and for getting me interested in hoops and broadcasting and for being the generous community guy you are even though you no longer live here. I'm sure I left him wondering just how in hell an inarticulate mope like me ever got into radio.
So it is only right that Doucette receives the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award for Electronic Media--the only surprise is that it took this long for him to be so recognized. What a talent. For a guy who never launched a single "rainbow jumper" or "dribbled through the cyclops", few have done more for the Milwaukee Bucks. As a guy who merely held a mike but captured a state's interest, few have left behind a legacy like the MACC Fund. I hope the Bucks have the good sense to give Eddie a night sometime soon, to bring him back to bask in the afterglow of this week's award, to take a bow and to hear the applause he so richly deserves for planting the first seeds that allowed the team to grow sturdy NBA roots, to remember what it was like when hoop was the only pro game in town And selfishly, for this long-time fan another chance to say thanks not with words but by standing, clapping and remembering all those nights when my algebra book was open but my attention was glued to a hardwood court far, far away, when the only thing that mattered was the outcome of a game that Eddie was calling.