|Reggie Leach, aka "The Rifle"|
I can remember the circumstances vividly: I was in my bedroom on the second floor of our old red-brick house in Perkasie, Pa. (the northern Philly suburbs), sitting cross-legged on the linoleum-covered floor, watching the game on a tiny black-and-white TV with rabbit ear antenna. My older brother (Steve) had a “Compact Cassette” tape recorder from Radio Shack, with an external mic attached. I would borrow it and watch the game and, as soon as anything interesting occurred—a goal, a fight—I would immediately hit record and start announcing.
Somehow this one example that I posted on Youtube survived, though I was never sure of the exact date of the game. After I posted it, however, a Facebook friend named Brain Miles did a little detective work and discovered that the date of the game in question was January 23, 1977—a Sunday night. Reggie Leach scored at 3:27 of the second period in Chicago. I was in the fifth grade.
It’s been more than 37 years since I recorded my voice announcing this goal on an analogue cassette tape. This recording is more precious to me than a photograph. The sound of this ten-year-old boy, his voice trembling with excitement as Reggie Leach shoots a puck that “overwent" Esposito’s “glove-hand shoulder,” is more valuable to me than any other artifact of my youth. I’m just grateful that my mom and dad (God rest their souls) let me stay up late on a school night to watch the game.