Dante Alves, an eighth-grader at Gilbert Stuart Middle School, was able to live his dream of being a sportscaster at a URI basketball game last month.
Alves, a member of the Gilbert Stuart Gentlemen’s Association, told the group’s founder and a former teacher at the school, Rich Norris, about his dream. Norris, who attended URI and is a guidance counselor at Alvarez High School, reached out to Abu Bakr, who transferred from Duke to play at URI in the 1970s. Now an announcer for Cox Sports, Bakr helped Dante experience his goal firsthand. With prompts from the directors and commentators, Dante sat with the sportscasters and was able to share his thoughts on some of the game’s plays.
Following is Dante’s account of his special day:
I have a big interest in broadcasting for basketball. I’ve wanted to do this for about 3 or 4 years now.
My role model is Dick Vitale, who is a commentator for the ACC. I listened and really paid attention to what he was talking about during a Duke basketball game and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I study sports stats and I make it my business to know all about the different teams and players. I sometimes mute the volume during games and commentate for my friends and family. It’s not that easy to watch the game, talk about it, and make it funny and interesting.
On February 14, 2015, I was given the opportunity to commentate a basketball game. I was invited to the URI Rams vs. St. Louis Billikens game. That morning I had to come early to hear the plan for the game. I was amazed at how much work is done before the game starts. We started filming the post-game stuff for the second part of the day. This is when they talk about the game and give their opinion on what they think each team has to do to win.
What I never knew is that just about everything is scripted. They get their information from a card or look at a monitor. At “tip off” they began commentating play-by-play. The coolest part was halftime because they had a show that talked about the first half’s key players and shooting percentages, which are things I’m really interested in. After the second half, Mr. Abu Bakr, one of the people that made this experience possible asked if I still want to do this in the future, and I responded with a quick “yes”. I told him that this experience has made me want this even more.
By Dante Alves
Gilbert Stuart Middle School