Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Celebrity in the Family

I'm currently in Massachusetts to attend the annual IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, being held this year in Boston, where I'll be giving a talk on online historical Jewish newspapers.  Since I don't make it out to Massachusetts very often, I decided to visit some cousins who live in Sharon, just outside of Boston.  My cousin Janis is also interested in genealogy and helps me with my work on this branch of my family.  (And I'm very excited that she'll be coming to hear my talk -- it will be the first time a family member has been able to do so!)  I call her son Yoni my "birthday cousin" because we share the same birthday, albeit 34 years apart.

Yoni has always been interested in sports, and when I met him several years ago he was already writing articles and practicing doing detailed sportscasts.  One of the first things Janis told me when I arrived was about an award Yoni had recently won.  The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Young Broadcasters of America partnered this year to create two new awards -- the Bob Ryan Sportswriter and Bob Costas Sportscaster awards -- to honor two high school students.  My cousin Yoni was the winner of the inaugural Bob Ryan Sportswriter Award!

Apparently Yoni has been very busy since I saw him last!  He has published three books about his high school's sports teams (football, baseball, and basketball) and produced documentaries with highlights of the football and baseball teams' recent seasons.  Three years ago he was chosen as one of thirteen U.S. students who wrote monthly blogs for the Sports Illustrated Kids Web site.  On the local community television station he has cohosted more than 60 discussion programs about professional sports, and he has worked for three years as a play-by-play announcer for several sports events in Sharon.  And now he will be majoring in journalism and business at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

I'm a big sports fan myself, so I think this is especially wonderful.  Now I'm looking forward to seeing Yoni become a big-time sportswriter in national newspapers, so I can say, "Hey, that's my cousin!"

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