I'm going to miss Dick Vitale. Vitale, who underwent surgery on his vocal cords Tuesday, won't return to ESPN and college basketball until February, maybe later.
Vitale can get on your nerves. He gets on mine. He deifies coaches. If North Carolina's Butch Davis coached basketball, Vitale probably would have lobbied the Tar Heels to give him an even bigger raise. He won four games, baby!
But Vitale is real, and his love for the sport more than offsets his cheerleading. There are so many people who complain incessantly about bosses and co-workers. The man and a woman at the table next to mine in the S. Tryon Street coffee shop last week talked non-stop for 30 minutes about the company for which they worked, and every sentence was invested with put-upon anger.
Vitale's respect for his sport and for his job pervades everything he does. He is excited enough for him and for viewers, and you can't help but get caught up in his enthusiasm.
Also, he doesn't think he's a big deal. So many broadcasters (and even a few newspaper reporters) assume since the sport they cover is important they are, too.
Vitale doesn't. The man you see on TV is the same man you see at courtside, in the press room and in hotel lobbies. He's gracious, he's humble and he truly enjoys his fans.
College basketball won't be the same without him.
Will you miss Vitale while he's out? Why or why not? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.