Know What I Mean, Verne?
You know how I know you're gay? Your name's John Amaechi. You know how I know you're happy? Your name's Verne Lundquist. Lundquist, who was Dallas' and WFAA-Channel 8's Dale Hansen before Dale Hansen, was earlier this week named to the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame. He'll be inducted in an April 30 ceremony in Salisbury, North Carolina. The news not only fills me with happy-happy-joy-joy, it also makes me feel friggin' old.
Because before the end of the nightly 6 o'clock news meant Vanna turning letters, it meant Verne hosting Bowling for Dollars. It was one of the most low-tech, low-budget shows in the history of television, but my family never missed Verne spinning the hopper, drawing out a lucky contestant and then, in hushed, reverent tones, describing the action as some dude from DeSoto hurled consecutive gutter balls. Riveting.
"That darn show's destined to stick with me. It'll probably find its way onto my tombstone," Verne told a gaggle of us reporters once upon a time. "And that's an image that makes cremation not seem so bad after all."
The show actually aired only from 1975-'76, clouding an otherwise stellar career during which Lundquist was the play-by-play voice (alongside a color analyst by the name of Brad Sham) of the Dallas Cowboys from '72 to '84, sports anchor at Channel 8 for 16 years and has covered 20 sports for CBS Sports.
You remember a couple of his classics:
On Jackie Smith's dropped touchdown in Super Bowl XIII: "Bless his heart, he's got to be the sickest man in the world."
On Tiger Woods' incredible, improbable chip-in at the 16th hole of the 2005 Masters: "In...your...life...have...you...ever??!"
Still, we'll never forgive Verne for being Terry Bradshaw's presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1989. Will we? --Richie Whitt