Tuesday, 21 June 2016

TBC: Number Two

It's rare that I have two books from the same author in any given week on HBIC, but you're forgiven if you mistakenly thought it was "Jay Onrait Week" like I was some sports version of the Discovery Channel. I did say I wanted to clear out some of the books that I had read but hadn't reviewed, so let's keep rolling with another book from the sportscaster. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Number Two, written by Jay Onrait and published by Harper Collins. As we previously saw in Anchorboy, Jay's sense of humour and storytelling ability made for some hilarious moments in his life to that point. With the sequel in Number Two, we get even more stories from Jay about his life and his experiences in his not-yet-complete journey!

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.

Where Jay's previous tome left off, Number Two picks rigt up with the craziness that has defined both Jay's career and life. In getting to read more about Jay, it's not that he's a wild child by any means. Instead, he just appreciates a good laugh and goes about finding those moments of hilarity in very unconventional means. There are dozens of examples of Jay's pursuit of finding those hilarious moments in Number Two, and you won't be disappointed with this set of stories.

In Number Two, we learn of how Jay and Dan got to the Sochi Olympics despite Fox Sports not having any Olympic rights to broadcast the Games. The experiences that Jay and his cohorts go through in Sochi are quite unique, and Jay waves a few tales of some of the funnier moments in Russia that he encountered. Jay also tells a story of a meeting with Jay-Z, getting a medical marijuana card in California, almost getting banned from the former Northlands Coliseum in the early 1990s, and, of course, more crazy stories about his rather delicate stomach. Number Two might be the most appropriate title with the amount of poop stories I've read from Jay Onrait!

There was a story told by Jay that involves a little bit of a legend in the television business in Canada. Toronto's MuchMusic developed an interesting concept called "Speakers' Corner" where patrons could deposit a dollar into the video booth for charity, and would be allowed to rant about any topic they liked for about 30 seconds. There was always this myth about Speakers' Corner that the camera actually was on all the time - it didn't matter if you made a donation, it recorded everything. Jay Onrait, as it turns out, can confirm that this was true!
"The projector turned on and a title graphic appeared on the screen that said "The Best of Speakers' Corner: City/Much Christmas Party Edition." This could be fun, I thought. I was ready to hear clip after clip of hilarious would-be comedians going off about issues in their life using language too obscene for television. Turns out I was selling the whole operation a bit short. There weren't really any rants to be seen, other than the occasional homeless person who had decided to sleep in the booth for the night and wasn't happy about the smell in the tiny confined space. For the most part "The Best of Speakers' Corner" featured a plethora of unspeakable sex acts in a tiny, confined, and rather filthy booth."
For those kids who grew up in the 1990s and always wanted to visit Speakers' Corner in Toronto, there's the seedy underbelly of what was a TV phenomenon for the better part of a decade. I won't reveal the details of what Jay saw - that's why you should pick up Number Two! - but to say that Speakers' Corner was a place you'd want to sit and rant about your life is entirely something to reconsider.

Number Two continues with Jay's excellent writing and hilarious stories of a man who has found a niche in the sportscasting world. He has seen and done enough in his 40-some years on this planet to probably have a made-for-TV movie about his life, but he's written two incredible books about these experiences for us to enjoy. Again, like Anchorboy, Number Two has some PG-rated stories so it's probably best for teenagers and up to read these stories. However, I found myself laughing at Jay's crazy antics like a six year-old again, and this is definitely his bread and butter with these books. Because of the funny stories and general craziness found on the 256 pages of the book, Number Two absolutely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Find Number Two at all major bookstores and possibly at your local library. For a kid from Athabasca who wanted to run the family pharmacy, Jay Onrait is doing alright in the world of broadcasting!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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