Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 13, 2018 — Keith Jackson, 1928-2018

For most young people born at a certain time and living in a certain area of the country, there was only one voice of college football: Keith Jackson, who died last evening at the age of 89.

Jackson was full of folksy metaphors, such as: “This is going to be a barnburner that’s going to take the first eight rows of the cornfield with it.”

But if there’s one Jacksonism that has stuck with me in my writing, it’s been the phrase “a horse and a half.” Often, I find myself amplifying some aspect of a game that I’ve watched with the phrase “and a half.” A great lacrosse dodge is “a move and a half.” A good scorer in field hockey is “a finisher and a half.”

And that’s led the way to one of this site’s aphorisms. It states that a goal in the first or last five minutes of a half are worth a goal and a half psychologically to the team that has scored it.

As much as Jackson is synonymous with college football, he covered 11 World Series and 10 Olympics, plus he also formed a quirky partnership calling NASCAR races with the recently retired Formula One World Champion, Jackie Stewart. These two widely divergent-sounding voices called numerous motorsports events together including a number of Indy 500s, the International Race of Champions, and taped coverage of racing on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, ranging from Darlington to Monaco.

But as much as Jackson is known for the way he has delivered his words, he should also be known as how understated he was during some of the memorable events he called. For Reggie Jackson’s third home run in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, all you could hear him say was “High.” He let Howard Cosell and Tom Seaver do the rest as Jackson’s ball sailed into the “batter’s eye” seats in center field and the Yankee Stadium crowd went absolutely bonkers.

It was part of his mantra: “Amplify, clarify, punctuate. Don’t intrude.”

And it’s a lesson many of his contemporaries might want to learn.



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