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Sunday, 19 June 2016

TBC: Anchorboy

I decided to do some domestic work today as HBIC Headquarters needed some re-arranging and organizing. Yes, I know it's Father's Day, but some previous engagements have forced the family to push our celebration into next week. Thanks to the extra time, I was re-arranging a number of things to create some much needed room, and I came across a few books I should have reviewed a long time ago on here. Without further adieu, Teebz's Book Club is proud and honoured to review Anchorboy, written by Jay Onrait and published by Harper Collins. For those that aren't aware of who Jay Onrait is, he's a very successful sports news anchor on FOX Sports 1, formerly of SportsCentre fame on TSN. Anchorboy is an autobiographical look at Jay Onrait's life including how he got started in television and his moves between stations and provinces on his way to TV success.

Jay was grew up in Athabasca, Alberta where his appreciation for sports news broadcasting was developed watching veteran broadcasters John Wells, Chris Cuthbert, Darren Dutchyshen, and Perry Solkowski deliver their magic on TV. He attended Ryerson University where he graduated, and has worked for TSN on "The Row" before getting opportunities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles. A veteran of morning entertainment news shows and two Olympic Games broadcasts, Jay Onrait's name has become synonymous with entertaining sports news reporting. He and longtime anchor partner Dan O'Toole are often credited with changing Canadian sports broadcasting during their time on TSN's SportCentre. Jay and his wife now live in Los Angeles where he can seen nightly delivering sports news on FOX Sports 1.

Anchorboy is a hilarious retrospect at the career that Jay Onrait has made up to 2013 when this book was published. Jay includes everything in his autobiographical examination of his life, some of which includes the words "poop", "feces", and "vomit". Honestly, the chapter where he describes a Christmas dinner event had me laughing like a six year-old me. There's no denying that Onrait has an ability to entertain!

I found it interesting to see how Jay Onrait's career started and some the advice he took that, in the end, paid off in a big way for him. Anchorboy really shows that the power of networking, hard work, and creativity can take you to places that a resumé can't. That's not to say that Jay Onrait's body of work doesn't stand on its own, but his outgoing personality, creativity that bordered on insanity, and his ability to inject humour into situations have won over viewers and broadcasting colleagues throughout his career.

A lot of people wondered when Jay Onrait became the crazy and zany Jay Onrait we know from SportsCentre, and I maintain that he showed flashes of it while working for A-Channel's The Big Breakfest while in Winnipeg. However, there's a section in the book where Jay notes that he finally got his shot on SportsCentre with Jennifer Hedger where he decided to be the hilarious Jay Onrait that we know today. He writes,
"Now I was hosting with Jennifer every day and loving it. She and I were about the same age, we got along great, and we had the same sense of humour. I knew, however, that Jen was just starting to make a huge splash on the Canadian sports broadcasting scene and that if I was to work with her for several years, I was destined to be the 'guy next to the beautiful blonde on SportsCentre.' It was time to let my personality come out and do the show the way I had always wanted: with a mix of absurd humour and spontaneity, the same attributes I had admired in David Letterman all those years ago. I was going to change sportscasting, not necessarily for the better, and not overnight, but I was going to leave my mark."
Jay certainly did leave his mark. When Dan O'Toole joined the desk, TSN found a duo who enjoyed throwing pop culture and craziness into sportscasts. Along with Producer Tim who saved the pair's bacon more than a couple of times, the Pacific time zone/early morning broadcasts of SportsCentre became must-see-TV moments.
A lot of the moments you watched above are captured in Anchorboy with Jay explaining the meanings and where the ideas came from in detail. All that was missing was a traditional "BOBROVSKY!" in the clips, and we'd have Jay's career pinned down in about ten minutes! In short, Jay's brand of comedy made him a favorite in many Canadian households and, after his move to the United States, those that have FOX Sports 1 in the lower 48!

Anchorboy is a funny, entertaining autobiography from TV personality and sportscaster Jay Onrait that definitely deserves a read if you need a good summer yarn! Jay does use some language in his tales that would certainly rank it as a PG-rated book, but I'd say that the 264-page tome is suitable for teenagers and up. Be prepared to chuckle and/or giggle like an adolescent by, though, because Jay Onrait's life has a lot of stuff that would make them crack up! Because of the humour and entertaining self-deprecation shown by Jay Onrait, Anchorboy is absolutely deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Anchorboy at your local library or bookstore, and enjoy the wild ride that Jay Onrait takes you through his life!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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