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December 18, 2008     Cheney Free Press
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December 18, 2008
 

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Thursday, December 18, 2008 Free Press Section 2 Page 1 ! Larry Weir's one of the best play.by.play men around, but the 18-year announcer isrf t as sharp when it comes to finding his way on the road .B riB By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter he question back on Nov. 22 was, will Larry Weir be able to catch a flight home from Ogden, Utah, intimeto broadcast the Eastern Washington University Eagles' home basket- ball game with Texas-Arlington? "If I could have I would have," Weir said when asked about doing two EWU sports broadcasts in one day. Weir, the voice of the Eastern sports for the past 18 years, had just concluded broadcasting the Eagles' upset win, 33-26, in the Big Sky Conference football finale against Weber State. "Same with the Illinois game, if I could have gotten back from Chi- cago I would have been there too," Weir said, referring to Eastern's final home game against Northern Arizona. But over the years, Weir has not missed a lot of assignments. According to his count, Weir has broadcast 204 football games, missing only one he said, the 2005 playoff loss at Northern Iowa when he was doing basketball in the Great Alaskan Shootout. And of Eastern's 482 basketball games on Weir's watch, he's missed 13 due to football, "so I'm a little under 470, to date," he said. Besides Eastern, Weir has handled play-by-play duties on the radio for the Spokane Shock AF2 football team for the past three seasons. Weir was born in Walla Walla and raised in nearby Waitsburg on a wheat and cattle farm, that's where the broadcasting kind of started, Weir said. "It was there, watching the Major League Baseball Game of the Week on Channel 6 with Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek and so forth," Weir said. "I turned down the sound and did the play-by-play." Weir was an only child, lived out on the farm and away from kids. "I had to entertain myself," he said. "So when I went outside, whether it was baseball or football, I would kind of do the play-by-play in my head. I kind of did the theater of the mind thing." Those two things are probably where the whole thing started with broadcasting, Weir said. He studied at the old Ron Bailie School of Broadcasting but got into broad- casting as a profession throughthe university of "who you know, " "I had to entertain myself (as a kid). So when I went outside, whether it was baseball or foot- ball, I would kind of do the play-by-play in my head." I went and I did it and he kept bringing me back." For three years Weir traveled back and forth betwen Walla Walla where he was attending community college, to Top- penish. Weir went on to attend Eastern but got a job offer in Yakima in the winter of 1983. "That was the end of the school- ing," he said. As is the nature of the broad- casting business, the gigs tend to bounce around from town to town and Weir ended up in Colfax where he met former Washington State University player and Weir's current color commentator, Paul Sorenson in 1986. "I had read in the newspa- per where his company, Impact Sports, had the rights to Eastern Washington University," Weir said. Weir was just a little late and the EWU job had been filled by Rich Waltz. But he was able to sign on to do Spokane high school fo-otball on television for Larry Weir the next three years, while covering Col- fax High and other Whitman County sports as well. In 1989, Waltz, currently the play-by-play guy for the Major League Baseball Florida Marlins, had moved on and Sorenson brought Weir in to replace Waltz as the voice of the Spokane.Indi- ans. When Bobby Brett took the he said. "l got a little bit lucky," Weir said. "My uncle lived across the street from the guy who owned the radio station in Toppenish." In the fall of 1980 Weir headed there to audition to do his first foot- ball broadcast. "He (the manager) said come do this football game and if we like what you do you get to come back," Weir said. "So See Weir page 2 4i~ Larry Weir has called the action in all but seasons, an amazing 204 contests. one Eastern Washington University football game EWU photo the past 18 ,GL AND' Wades bring teachings of AWANA to kids local a By LUELLA DOW company. In Cheney, they found Contributor another AWANA club. "There are While the leaves on the treesabout 100 kids in Cheney Awana. last fall were assuming their rich It's a very growing club," Marylu autumn colors, Ed and Marylu said. Marylu is a teacher by inclina- Wade were clocking 2,800 landtion and profession. miles and 5,160 miles altogether in She said, "The local person saw a roundabout way, from Cheneyme working with the Cubbies and to Mississippi, and home again, asked me to teach leaders to work Their journey actually began with the Cubbies. I started in 1989 in Southern Idaho where they and developed eight different lived 26 years ago. Marylu said, workshops. One of them was the "The neighbors took our kids to ability to work with dysfunctional an AWANA club." What a strange families." sounding name for a club. The All over America, AWANA acronym stands for "Approved holds fall leadership training con- Workmen Are Not Ashamed." ferences. Marylu taught at her first Marylu said, "The kids loved conference in a Spokane gathering it. AWANA started in 1950 for in- in 1989. The next year she taught as ner-city children in Chicago and is well in the Tri Cities. For the past based on Titus 2:11 in the Bible." 12 years Marylu has expanded her The Wades soonlearned there teaching at corlferences to Boise are many levels for children in and Bend, Ore., Redding, Calif., Awana. Puggles are the children and, this year to Reno, Nev., and 2- and 3-years-old. Cubbies are Hattiesburg, Miss. 3- and 4-year-olds. Five-, 6-, and Marylu said, "Ed and I work 7-year-olds are known as Sparks. as a team. Ed is a behind-the- TnT signifies Truth and Training scenes person. He sets up class- for those who are 8-11. Twelve-14 rooms, gathers chairs, etc. Events year-olds are titled Trek. Those go smoothly, items appear when who are 15-18 belong in the Jour- needed because Ed has made sure ney group, Marylu said. they are available." Soon after their introduction At the conferences, Marylu to AWANA, the Wades were teaches three workshops during transferred to Cheney where Ed the day. Her topics this year were: Wade worked for the telephoneThe five love languages of children, Ed and Marylu wade of Cheney adults can memorize too, "and understanding and defusing a child's anger. She said, "There are 70 AWA- NA clubs in Spokane, 10,000 in the U.S., and many AWANA clubs scattered throughout 100 countries. We share the Bible with the children. Awana is Constant Change: A poem by Harold Meili How beautiful yesteryearFew remember the "good old when God's earth was pure and days." Homesteaders by horse and clean, sleigh, hand-dug wells, chickens Now we can only recollect in the yard, sod houses built the with vision through our dreams, irksome way. I dreamt there was no one inEvery year we face constant sight, sunlit by day, moonlit by change. night. Nothing will ever stay the When I took a breath, the same, except a greeting in our air was sweet and honeysuckle windowpane. tangled my feet. The night sky was still a deep blue, filled with countless stars. Harold Meili is a published I awoke to people in a race, poet, and longtime resident of searching the Internet for Mars. Cheney and national non-denominational and totally focused on scripture." Will the Wades make the jour- ney again? Yes, they said, we'll probably help next year. Readers may browse the website: AWANA. org for more information. Luella Dow is a local author and can be reached at lotsaplots@aol.com Photo courtesy of Christmas Clip Art Plus Cheney, Medical Lake & EWU NS S Community Dec. 31 - 9 p.m., 11 p.m. Three local actors from StageWest Community Theater will perform two shows of the short comedy, 'The Temp," at the New Year's event, First Night Spokane at the downtown Spokane Library. For more information about this show, please contact Mark at 235-4575. Jan. 27 - 7 p.m. Friends of the Cheney Community Library's Book Discussion Group will meet for discussion on Gregg Mortenson's book, "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time." Bonnie AIvy will lead the discussion. Call 235-4490 for more information, or email joan.trc @ g mail.com. Eastern Washington University Jan. 6 - Stage Door to the Future at Eastern Washington Uni- versity for winter quarter 2009 begins Jan. 6 at 4 p.m., and will continue same time every Tuesday for 10 weeks. Students ages 8-17 will explore acting, music, dance, improvisation, painting, lighting, makeup and more! Class is from 4-6 p.m. and costs $95 per quarter. Showcase presentation on March 10. Registration information will be distributed at the first meeting at the EWU Theatre Building Studio, located on the building's second floor. Call 359-2459 for further information. Medical Lake School District Dec. 18 - 6:30 p.m. Medical Lake Middle School band and choir concert at the middle school. Call 565-3300 for more information, or visit www.mlsd.org. Disclaimer: The Cheney Free Press Arts and Entertainment Calendar is solely for the use of non-profit organizations to assist them in promoting their events.