Friday Night Lights How an attorney’s brotherly bonding brought a football team back to the radio. THE FIELD IS GLOWING. THE CROWD IS ROARING. And in the announcer’s box, Austin attorney Tom Nesbitt is narrating the play-by-play, teaming up with brothers Joe and Bill to broadcast high school football on 104.9 FM out of Waco. “I get a kind of rush out of calling the games and describing what is happening right now,” said Nesbitt. With an audience now in the hundreds, it is hard to believe that just two years ago a lack of advertisers was keeping Waco High School football off the airwaves. That is, until Nesbitt and his brothers intervened. When they realized that their high school alma mater’s football games were no longer on the radio, the three took action, approaching the school about locating sponsors for the broadcast and asking if they could announce the games. To their pleasant surprise, the school district approved the plan. So each Friday during the season, Nesbitt meets his brothers in the town where Waco High is playing, preps for the game over barbecue, and heads to the field to bring football to fans. “Half the people I tell think I’m crazy,” said Nesbitt with a laugh. “But it’s so fun.” Though Nesbitt is the first to admit he is not a trained commentator, he and his brothers are no strangers to the game. For them, announcing is a childhood dream come true. Growing up listening to Baylor games called by Frank Fallon, the three had always wanted to give announcing a try. “For several years we had talked about how fun it would be to find some small Texas high school team that was not on the radio and volunteer to broadcast their games on Friday nights,” said Nesbitt, who practices labor and employment law at DeShazo & Nesbitt, L.L.P. Now that they have the opportunity, they are passionate about their role, devoting every fall weekend to the team. Nesbitt appreciates the chance to spend time with his brothers, and, despite initial concerns, says he has yet to grow tired of the car rides and late nights. “One thing I most enjoy doing is hanging out with those guys. We’re getting to do something that we like to do—call the games.” To ensure that fans get the best game coverage, the brothers split up the workload; Tom and Joe keep the commentary flowing, while Bill hits the sidelines and stands for opinions from coaches and fans. In addition to colorful announcing during play, broadcasts consist of pre-game interviews, as well as the “DeShazo & Nesbitt, L.L.P., Halftime Show,” which has included talks with Kansas City Chiefs IN RECESS all-pro linebacker—and Waco High alum—Derrick Johnson; Dave Campbell, the founder of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine; and Robert Griffin III’s father. Most important, they bring the game to those who aren’t in the crowd. “A lot of these kids, their parents can’t make the road trips. Some of them can’t make the home games. We have parents and grandparents listening. One of our goals is a professional sounding product for them,” said Nesbitt, quickly adding, “Even though we’re a bunch of amateurs.” Nesbitt, who played football for the Waco Lions while in high school, also believes that broadcasting the games is a way to acknowledge player efforts. “We want them to feel a sense of recognition for the work that they put in. It’s a commitment for them. We think this is just a small way of letting them feel like they’re being recognized for their hard work.” Nesbitt says that the most exciting Waco High game he has announced took place the day after Thanksgiving last year, when the team secured a second-round playoff win against Lake Dallas in the final seconds of play. “It was thrilling,” said Nesbitt. “When the ball sailed through the uprights, the clock was at zero. They stormed the field and won the game.” The Lions finished the 2012 season 9-4 and are midway through 2013 play. Listeners can hear broadcasts of Waco High football at centraltexasbeat.com each Friday through the end of the season. The show also has corresponding Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Good Will Hunting How a Lubbock judge uses patience and devotion to harness his dogs’ natural instincts to go after birds. AS A CHILD, JOHN “TREY” J. McCLENDON III ENJOYED BIRD HUNTING WITH HIS FATHER IN THE FIELDS OF LUBBOCK. Today, his continued love of the sport, and an opportunity to unwind from his day-to-day role as judge of the 137th District Court, keeps him coming back. Of course, having hunting dogs Boone and Hattie to keep him company doesn’t hurt either. Initially inspired by world-class pointers he spotted during a hunting trip to Kansas, McClendon has dedicated many hours to working with his dogs, helping them become ideal field companions when he goes after upland game. “I’m out with them at least once or twice a week working,” McClendon said. “You want to continue to work so they stay up to speed on what they’ve been taught.” McClendon notes that many hunters choose dogs based on a breed’s reputation for either pointing or retrieving, but he believes he has found the best of both worlds in Boone, a Pudelpointer, and Hattie, a Braque du Bourbonnais. To get them to an optimal skill level, McClendon connected with trainers in Oklahoma, as well as a friend in Lubbock, who helped walk him through the process. “Great trainers have the ability to read and understand a dog to such a degree that training comes very naturally,” said McClendon. “I hope to be that good someday, but am not there yet.” Training a hunting dog can be a lengthy process. McClendon says that essential steps include teaching a dog to stay on point, to hunt in front, and to retrieve a bird if the hunter decides to shoot it. Patience is also required to get the dogs used to the noises that come with the sport. “If you rush the process, a dog can become gunshy, and if that happens, you could have a real mess on your hands.” Although he says regional droughts have affected the quality of Lubbock-area pheasant and quail hunting in recent years, McClendon has found ways to stay involved in the sport, taking time to “jump in the car and go someplace” whenever he can. Field trials have taken McClendon and his dogs around West Texas, while training seminars have landed them as far as Starkville, Miss. McClendon also enjoys traveling for actual hunts— he’s joining family for a trip to Georgia in November. An additional perk has been the opportunity to bond with his nephew, Ben, who has gained an interest in training and hunting with his own dog, Mac, and to continue the family tradition. McClendon maintains hope that Texas season outlooks will improve by opening day. Until then, you’ll find them out practicing. TEXAS PEOPLE Linda Wilkins Wilkins Finston Law Group, L.L.P., Dallas Elected to serve on the national board of directors of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Ben F. Vaughan III Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, Austin Received the Walter W. Fondren III Conservation Leadership Award from the Coastal Conservation Association National Board of Directors for his years of marine conservation work. A. Martin “Marty” Wickliff Jr. Cozen O’Connor, Houston Selected for the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Neutrals to provide employment alternative dispute resolution services as an arbitrator. Michael A. McConnell Kelly Hart & Hallman, L.L.P., Fort Worth Received the A. Sherman Christensen Award from the American Inns of Court for providing distinguished, exceptional, and significant leadership.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
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