It’s almost like I would imagine it being for a high school girl, with her heart set on going to the prom, time running out, and still no invitation from a boy; any boy. Or a hopeful pro sports draft choice, who watches each and every pick go by without hearing his name called. Sitting in anxious anticipation, waiting to hear that, yes you too can participate. That’s what it has been like in the Smith household for the last several weeks. Waiting to hear from the casting company in charge of filling spots in the movie, “42” which will be filmed in Chattanooga this summer. The movie stars Harrison Ford and chronicles the signing of Jackie Robinson as baseball’s first black player in 1947.
This all started about six weeks ago when my old umpiring buddy Al Slater sent me an email, saying the casting folks were looking for some older, white umpires to play bit parts in the movie. Al sent in an application so I figured I should too. I did receive a couple of follow up emails from the company saying I could be hearing from them any day. Since that time, I discovered that some of my good friends had been chosen for parts. Channel 12s Webb Wright will play a sportswriter, while my buddy Mathew Ware will have a part, as will UTC football stand-out Gunter Miller. Red Bank teacher and head baseball coach, Trey Hicks is in and he may even have a few lines. Ware received his call yesterday to play the part of an extra. “I wore a seersucker jacket to the casting call, and everybody seemed to love it. They took some pictures, and I didn’t hear anything until yesterday.” Ware added with a smile, “It’ll be a real hoot. I’d much rather be there on the set, than at my office. Plus, I now know what I’m getting my family for Christmas; an autographed copy of my movie.”
For Trey Hicks, being in “42” beats any other type of summer job. “They told me to be in Birmingham Monday morning at 8:00, so I guess I’ll just show up and see what happens.” Hicks, who played college baseball at Lee University, will play a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team that signed Jackie Robinson. In addition to being in Birmingham, Hicks will also be on the set in Macon and Chattanooga. Of course, Coach Hicks will also have to coach his Red Bank Lions in the high school regional tournament next week. The Lions host Polk County Monday in an opening round game. The Lions are peaking at the right time; after closing the regular season on a thirteen game losing streak, they upset 4th ranked East Hamilton and Central to win their third straight district title.
So, while Webb, Mathew, Gunter and Trey are all excited about being in the movie this summer, I am still sitting and waiting for the call. Of course my wife Shelia, ever the optimist, tells me, “I hope you can hear your cell phone ring. If they did call you, you would never hear it. I don’t know why you even have a cell phone.” As I look at my Samsung phone from Verizon Wireless, I realize that my battery is dead. If the casting company tries to call me today, I’m out of luck. Shelia is right; I don’t know why I even have a cell phone.
Contact Randy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 42 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer, author and is also a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. He is currently teaching an "Intro To Sportscasting" class at Red Bank, the only class of its type in Tennessee. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 10 years. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry Davey and Alison Smith). They also have one grandchild (Coleman).