Chuck Swirsky has been the radio play-by-play voice for the Chicago Bulls since 2008.
His broadcasting career spans 50 years and many sports, but basketball was always his first love and this is now his 25th season in his dream role as an NBA broadcaster.
A pioneer of Chicago sports talk radio, Swirsky has also covered many iconic moments in sports history – including L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
Below is an excerpt from his new book “Always a Pleasure.”
Welcome to the World of Sports
My first remembrance of anything to do with sports of any kind was at four or five years old. I vividly recall going to a baseball game with friends of the family and seeing lush green grass and spotless white uniforms with red caps and red jersey numbers and trim. It was not a professional game. I’m thinking it was either Little League ball or a level or two above. It didn’t matter. I watched in amazement, players running around a dirt infield touching what I thought at the time were “white pillows” that were actually bases. I saw players throw and catch a ball with a brown glove. I saw people clapping hands, shouting encouragement to players, and eating popcorn. I took it all in. One simple game opened a new world for me, one that I would never let go.
After that experience I wanted to return to the park and watch more games. I talked about sports all the time. Even at the age of five I knew that talking sports or playing sports was going to be my destiny. My identity, so to speak. My father was not a sports fan. He loved to tinker with our car, a 1955 Packard Clipper. He was a master handyman. He could fix anything. It didn’t matter if it was a broken pipe under the sink, an issue with the house, or an electrical switch, my dad could get it done. He loved train sets, Lionel Trains to be specific.
His love of putting things together and taking them apart did not carry over to me. For Christmas, I would receive Erector set kits consisting of pieces of steel along with nuts and bolts to build things. My attempts were futile because my brain just couldn’t function along those lines, nor did I have any interest. I could sense even at a young age my father was disappointed I didn’t share his passion or similar interests.
My dad was a decorated U.S. Naval officer, and I loved going to the base with him and going aboard his ship, the USS Sierra. I loved everything about the Navy. He was a man of faith, character, and integrity. He was also a disciplinarian, and there was no grey area with his personality. You either got the job done correctly or you didn’t. Every day after he returned from the Naval base, one of my chores was to polish his shoes. If there was one smudge or one place I missed, I had to do it again and get it right. Some may look at this as harsh, but honestly it was one of the best life lessons I ever received. Attention to details was everything to my dad. I attempt to apply that same mentality in every phase of my life. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Don’t go through the motions. Don’t mail it in. No excuses.
Excerpt from "Always a Pleasure" by Chuck Swirsky. Courtesy of Eckhartz Press.