Sportsathon Testimonial: Ben Goren

WNUR SportsVoice Producer Ben Goren explains how WNUR Sports has positively affected his Northwestern experience as part of WNUR’s Sportsathon. If you would like to contribute, click here, select “WNUR” under “Give to Other Northwestern Areas,” and thank you for your help.

Goren calls a women's basketball game against Minnesota

Goren calls a women’s basketball game against Minnesota

I’ve been watching Northwestern athletics for quite literally about as long as I have been alive.  Born into a family of two Northwestern parents and one Northwestern grandparent, the color purple at this point may be in my genetic code.  I know it’s on my front door.  Literally.  My family actually painted part of our house Northwestern purple.  It’s sick.

Before I had applied to Northwestern, I already knew the story behind the kickoff key jangling (which is a strange tradition given how expensive student parking is), the chants of days passed (when does the “that’s alright, that’s ok, you’re gonna work for us someday” chant come back?), and could for the most part mimic Bill Carmody’s sideline conniptions (too bad freshmen will just think I’m losing my mind when I do it now).  I’ve seen big highs, like Drake Dunsmore’s beastmode Outback Bowl TD, and big lows, like the rest of the Outback Bowl.  I can say with pretty high certainty that I am the only WNUR staffer who distinctly remembers watching Kunle Patrick tipping the ball to Sam Simmons off a Zak Kustok Hail Mary against Minnesota.  Yes I was there when Northwestern gave up two onside kick return touchdowns (by the same freaking guy) against UCLA, the infamous Stefan Demos bowl game performances (DON’T EVER PUNT TO JEREMY MACLIN), the Brett Basanez shootouts, and the first bowl game win since 1949.  I’ve seen virtually every football game of note over the last 10 years except the 2004 win against Ohio State, because, according to my parents, the game “would end past my bed time.”  Thanks for that one guys.

So when I stepped on campus as a student, I knew that I wanted to get even closer to Northwestern sports.  I had heard stories of a WNUR student sports radio station and had every intention of going to meet the sports directors at the activities fair, until I slept until 2 and missed it.  Whoops.  Fortunately I followed my roommate to the first meeting and have never looked back.

WNUR Sports has gotten me closer to not only Northwestern athletics, but the sports world in general, than I had ever thought possible.  In my first ever experience with WNUR, I was “Pregame host 2” and “Broadcast Coordinator/Stats” for the Nebraska football game last year.  I was tasked with snatching Mike Wilbon once he exited the ESPN booth and dragging him onto our show.  I was no more than 3 hours into student radio and I had already met Michael freaking Wilbon.  I’ve set up interviews with coaches, BTN staffers, even Teddy Greenstein.  Hell, I’ve even had celebratory, Karly-Roser-just-hit-a-game-winner ice cream with the women’s basketball team.  Seriously.  We went to Dairy Queen.  Best ice cream I’ve ever had.

WNUR Sports is without a doubt the highlight of my college experience.  The fact that a kid who isn’t even a journalism major could host pregame shows, do talk shows, and call softball and basketball games as a freshman has been an absolute trip.  I’ve already traveled to Crisler Center, Assembly Hall, and I’m going to Kinnick Stadium this week.  I know none of this would be possible without the generous donations of listeners through Sportsathon.  The people whom I’ve met through WNUR are some of my favorite people on campus and are a truly diverse, unique, awesome group of people.  We stretch from coast to coast and could tell you obscure stats on sports from the NFL to NASCAR.  Every day we work to get the most in-depth coverage of every Northwestern sport possible, and believe me, every penny counts.

So hopefully when Northwestern beats Ohio State next year I can not only be there, but be there with a headset on.  Go cats!

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