Nets Broadcaster Is A Mentor With A Mission

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, @njhoopshaven          Published 5:02 a.m. ET May 18, 2017 | Updated 4:20 p.m. ET May 20, 2017

As the new co-director of a highly successful sports broadcasting camp for teens, Marlboro’s Chris Carrino draws on experiences beyond the basketball court.

A few years back, New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank said something that struck a chord with Chris Carrino, the team’s radio play-by-play voice.

“If you’re the dribbler,” Frank said, “you have to participate in your own rescue.”

He was talking about breaking a pressure defense, but his advice applies to any of life’s challenges. It has infused Carrino’s quest to cure FSHD, a form of muscular dystrophy he was diagnosed with two decades ago.

In 2011 the Marlboro resident founded the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD, which has funded nearly $400,000 in research grants.

“We have to go and do it — raise the money and get research projects going and blow our own horn,” the 46-year-old Carrino said. “I make my living with my voice, and I’m going to use my voice to help fight this disease.”

He’s using his voice for an additional purpose this summer — mentoring teenagers as co-director of the Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw Sports Broadcasting Camp. This will be the 16th edition of the camp, which previously was directed by Bruce Beck and Ian Eagle.

Carrino moves into a lead role after serving as a regular guest speaker at the camp, which is held at the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University.

“Chris is just so good with the kids,” camp founder and general manager David Siroty said. “Working with young people, you have to want to see them succeed. He has a passion for that, and he’s inspirational — he’s exactly what we want.”

Camp success stories

The week-long camp has helped numerous aspiring broadcasters. One of them is Mia O’Brien, a 24-year-old graduate of Freehold Township High School ,who is a reporter and anchor for the CBS affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (KGAN).

“Going to the camp was a great first step,” O’Brien said. “More than anything, it teaches you those life lessons that help you get ahead: Always follow-up with a thank-you card or email, and always keep everyone’s number.”

O’Brien covers college and high school sports, plus local human-interest stories. She’s reported on Iowa’s 12-0 football team, Northern Iowa’s buzzer-beating win in the NCAA Tournament and a local guy running crazy distances for a good cause. And she’s done most of it on her own, without a crew.

“It’s a lot of one-man-band stuff, but you get to delve head-first into a story and mold it on your own,” she said. “I feel like I’ve grown so much in the two years I’ve been here.”

Marlboro native Steven Goldberg has grown, too, since the two summers he attended the camp. At age 23, he’s the play-by-play radio voice for the Mobile (Ala.) BayBears, a Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.

“It was really valuable to be 15, 16 years old and ask questions and get instant feedback from guys who have been working in the industry for years,” Goldberg said. “As early as possible, you have to find ways to get yourself experience.”

Goldberg began calling high school football games for while he was still attending Communications High School in Wall. His quest led him to play-by-play gigs in Charleson, S.C., Texas and Australia. So what’s life on the road like in baseball’s outposts?

“It’s more of a coach’s life,” he said. “I’ve developed a good relationship with the players, but it’s business. You sit in the front of the bus.”

A mission, a mentor

Carrino knows the deal. He’s worked his way up the ranks since graduating Fordham University, where he gleaned a thing or two from radio legend Marty Glickman.

“‘Consider the listener’ was always Marty’s mantra,” Carrino said. “How does this sound to them? Are you giving them everything they need to know?”

Information is empowering. That’s the way Carrino built his foundation, too. He told his story. At age 23, basketballs started feeling heavy in his hands. That was the first sign. FSHD causes progressive deterioration of certain muscles, so over the years it’s become harder to negotiate stairs and even rise out of a seat.

“The more people know about something, the easier it is to get people to care about the cause,” Carrino said. “When we started in 2011, I don’t think there were any pharmaceutical companies doing work with FSHD. Now there are 22 pharmaceuticals companies involved in developing an FSHD drug.”

He’s participating in his own rescue, and his sports broadcasting campers will get a similar message about breaking into the ever-changing media industry. Yes, layoffs at ESPN and other outlets have shaken the landscape, but the online world presents hungry students with all kinds of opportunities.

“There’s more stuff being broadcast now than ever,” Carrino said. “Video blogging, podcasting, these are things we’re going to touch on that we haven’t in past years.”

There will be life lessons, too, from a guy who knows.

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