Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology

Terry Gannon - Sports Broadcaster for NBC Sports & The Golf Channel

October 14, 2019 Terry Gannon Episode 2
Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology
Terry Gannon - Sports Broadcaster for NBC Sports & The Golf Channel
Chapters
Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology
Terry Gannon - Sports Broadcaster for NBC Sports & The Golf Channel
Oct 14, 2019 Episode 2
Terry Gannon

Terry Gannon knows how to make a broadcast entertaining, but he also knows how to close out a championship game as an all American. You'll recognize Terry as a voice from NBC Sports and the Golf Channel, but you'll probably have heard him call everything from NBA basketball to figure skating to horse racing, to motocross world cup soccer and even the closing ceremony of the Olympic games.

Terry knows a great deal about managing high pressure moments, both as a play-by-play announcer and also as a NCAA Champion athlete. Terry took an early interest in sport psychology and he also shares some of what he learned about the mental game under the great Jim Valvano. His experience speaks for itself and he has a lot of great things to share in this episode.

Follow on Twitter @drshepp   

Follow on Instagram @drshepp

Follow Terry Gannon on Twitter @TerryGannon83

Follow Terry Gannon on Instagram TerryGannon83

Learn more about Dr. Shepp  at SportandPerform.com

Podcast transcripts coming soon at: ManageTheMoment.net

YouTube Channel coming soon!

Music by Brad Buxer

Show Notes Transcript

Terry Gannon knows how to make a broadcast entertaining, but he also knows how to close out a championship game as an all American. You'll recognize Terry as a voice from NBC Sports and the Golf Channel, but you'll probably have heard him call everything from NBA basketball to figure skating to horse racing, to motocross world cup soccer and even the closing ceremony of the Olympic games.

Terry knows a great deal about managing high pressure moments, both as a play-by-play announcer and also as a NCAA Champion athlete. Terry took an early interest in sport psychology and he also shares some of what he learned about the mental game under the great Jim Valvano. His experience speaks for itself and he has a lot of great things to share in this episode.

Follow on Twitter @drshepp   

Follow on Instagram @drshepp

Follow Terry Gannon on Twitter @TerryGannon83

Follow Terry Gannon on Instagram TerryGannon83

Learn more about Dr. Shepp  at SportandPerform.com

Podcast transcripts coming soon at: ManageTheMoment.net

YouTube Channel coming soon!

Music by Brad Buxer

Dr. Shepp:

Thanks for tuning in to manage the moment conversations in performance psychology. I'm Dr. Sari Shepphird.

Terry Gannon:

I want to connect with the audience and and make this two hours of coverage on this basketball game I'm doing or whatever it is, as enjoyable as possible. And you do that by making them want to spend the time with you. And that's kind of the last thought I have before I go on the air, is make that person out there enjoy the next two hours. However, I can do that.

Dr. Shepp:

Terry Gannon knows how to make a broadcast entertaining, but he also knows how to close out a championship game as an all American. You'll recognize Terry as a voice from NBC Sports and The Golf Channel, but you'll probably have heard him call everything from NBA basketball to figure skating to horse racing, to Supercross world cup soccer and even the closing ceremony of the Olympic games. Terry Gannon knows a great deal about managing high pressure moments and he shares his experience with us on today's episode and I think you're really going to enjoy listening to what he has to say. Hi Terry. Thanks so much for joining me today for this conversation.

Terry Gannon:

Sari. I'm really looking forward to it. Good to be with you .

Dr. Shepp:

Thanks. I'm looking forward to it as well. I have a short list of broadcasters that I admire the most in terms of style and you're on the short list. Um, but also I, I absolutely, I also appreciate what you have to say because you talk a lot more about the mental game than perhaps most other broadcasters. Uh, and I wonder if that's because of your experience as an athlete.

Terry Gannon:

I think it probably is. Um, I, I'm fascinated by it. I mean, these are all, when you, when you cover, whether it's the women's British open or the , the the open championship or you're doing Simone Biles, you know, at the U S gymnastics championships or the NBA or college basketball teamin the greatest athletes in the world. What separates them? They're all great, you know, I mean , they've made it to the highest level and oftentimes what separates them is the mental part of the game. And having played basketball and , and been a part of a national championship team and played for a guy Jim Valvano who was just a master at motivating teams. Um, the mental side of it really is something that I think is as important or more important than anything. And I think it comes from being a player and having been through it and having had their prepare and believe in yourself and get to that point where you believe you can get it done as a player. And I kind of think that way as a broadcaster . Now when I watch these athletes.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, I want to talk to you a little bit about your experience, both as an athlete and as a broadcast or , but when we were preparing for the conversation today, you mentioned you had read a sports psychology book back in the day when applied sports psychology really came into its modern form , um, a book called psycho cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about what you remember from that book and why it stuck out to you.

Terry Gannon:

I was in high school and a basketball player, a baseball player. Eventually , um , went and played an NC state, but somebody recommended that book to me and I read it and it just totally, I connected with it. It was something that I went, Oh my gosh, this , this is something that I actually can help me. And as you know, I mean, I think it was written in 1960 so this was the , the 80s when I read it. Um, and I, I started to apply it , uh, the , the thought of visualization and trying to visualize in the most concrete way, really putting yourself in a position of what it's going to feel like on the court the next day. Um, the sounds, the smells every little bit. Not just trying to visualize yourself making jump shots , but literally down to the sensory aspect of it and getting as relaxed as you can , uh, before you go to sleep every night. I would do it every night in high school. And then in college, as an athlete, as I fell asleep, I try to visualize in the most relaxed state that I could because your , your mind on some level doesn't recognize the difference between a real and imagined experience when, for example, you wake up in a cold sweat, having had a nightmare. It feels so real and , and then made sense to me and I, so I started to practice it and I just did it throughout my career as an athlete and I still do it as a broadcaster.

Dr. Shepp:

I was going to ask you, do you imagine yourself in the different situations that you have when you're broadcasting?

Terry Gannon:

Yeah, I do. Um, you know, I can't say I do it as much now. Um , I'm getting up there. I've been around for a while . Um, but certainly early on in my career as a broadcaster, I , uh, I was off . I , I was , I had such good fortune to be in a situation where I was at at the time at ABC sports and they would come to me and say, Hey, we need you to go do figure skating next week in Tokyo. And I'd say, okay , I've never done figure skating. I know who Peggy Fleming is. And that's about the extent of my knowledge. Oh, you'll be fine. So that's , there's that brief moment where you go, Oh my God, I can't do this. This is going to be a disaster. Or you say, Hey, somebody's got to do it. And that, that attitude, I must say was instilled in me from Jim Valvano at NC state. He was just, he believed that somebody has to do with why not you. And it was that attitude, which allowed me to say yes, but then you had to figure out how to do it. And what I would do. And the same thing with college football. On a Tuesday , uh, the executive producer of ABC called me up and said, Hey, this Saturday I need you to do play by play on North Carolina and Georgia tech. And the network. And I said, well, it's not basketball season. No, no football. Um, Oh, okay. So in four days I need to figure out how to be a football play by play guy. And , and so it was, you do a lot of things to prepare, but then I would visualize and I, and I would , um, spend that time putting myself in that position. So I still do it today, maybe not as much, but I try to , um , capture what it's going to be like the next day on the air, what we're going to be covering. So that I've been through it in my mind already once when it actually takes place.

Dr. Shepp:

It's great that you recognize the benefit of that mental rehearsal. And now we know through technology over the decades since that book was written from FMRI studies, that the brain really does , um , recognize the stimulus of mental imagery in much the same way as, as live action. So, so what you experienced and what you felt was true has been, has been proven truth through science. Um , but when you think about preparing for sports that you have not called before you, you go online, you research the, the sport, you get a little bit about the terminology, but then yet there's still that sense of performance pressure I would imagine because you have to get it right.

Terry Gannon:

You're right. Uh , and that is exactly what you do. Um, when I started doing gymnastics , uh, the first thing you do is you go online and you watch tape , uh, of previous events and you figure out the , the, the, the wording, the nomenclature, how, how people cover it, the pacing of it. And you get that in your brain. Then you start to do your research on the current stars and athletes, the ones that came before the history of it. And you take all that in, but then you've got to put yourself in that position. And no matter what sport you're doing, you're covering. The one thing I try to remind myself, and this is something I do before I go on the air every time, is that what I want to do is I want to connect with the audience and and make this two hours of coverage on this basketball game I'm doing or whatever it is, as enjoyable as possible, and you do that by making them want to spend the time with you. In the end, you are still covering sports. It's entertainment, it's not life or death, and that's kind of the last thought I have before I go on the air is make that person out there enjoy the next two hours. However I can do that. And oftentimes that's by connecting to the broadcast partners that you're with and and making it conversational, engaging them, picking their brains. Because oftentimes it's, I look at it as like last weekend we're covering the gymnastics championships. It's nasty. Luke and Tim dad getting me, they are the experts. They know more than 95% of the audience or 99% of the audience and they've been there and done that. I want to engage as three people watching this event in a conversation as if we're just talking about it and we're excited about it. And because of their knowledge, the viewer is going to learn as well and enjoy it more. Um, and I think that's the same as for an athlete to when I was an athlete, the last thing I thought about was making this a celebration of basketball. I'm gonna go out there and have fun , um, and, and do what I've always done. Once you know, you can do it. Like once you get a certain level where, okay , I can, I can do this, then that last bit is just saying let's let it all happen. Let's not force anything, let it come to us.

Dr. Shepp:

And that's what stands out to me about you as a broadcaster is that you are more in the moment than many broadcasters that I watch or listen to. And I know that you prepare, you clearly do, but you also allow that preparation seemingly to give you more of a sense of freedom. Would you say that's true.

Terry Gannon:

I really thank you for saying that. I'm going and you picking up on that. I appreciate that means a lot to me because I tried it . That is exactly what I try to do. It is the last unscripted television. I mean, yes, reality shows, but let's be honest, they're scripted to some degree. Sports is not scripted. You do not know what's going to happen. Even in a sport like figure skating or gymnastics where you have a routine and there's a plan routine. But the athletes gotta adjust as well on the fly. If they, if they don't do this triple later on, they've got to add it. But maybe with a combination and they're constantly adjusting. And as a broadcaster, that's what I want to convey. The, the aspect of being in the moment. So like at the end of an event, when it comes down to the defining moment at the end of a game or a golf tournament, I don't ever prepare a line like that that, okay , I'm gonna say this as if this person wins the golf tournament. I'm gonna say this, I , I let it hit me when we're on the air. I'll give you an example. A couple of weeks ago, we had a Hanako Shaboo no , who was a young teenager playing in our first major championship in the women's British open. And they call her the smiling Cinderella , uh, in Japan. And she has , she's , she smiles and laughs her way around 72 holes for four days around the golf course. And she's waving like she's in the Rose parade the whole time left and right to all the, the crowd. And, and when she wanted it, she made this incredible putt to win it. And I said something to the effect of the , the glass slipper fit. Well, it just hit me because when we won the national championship in 1983, our radio announcer, cause we were the Cinderella story. That's what he said. But, but it hit me in the moment. Oh my God, it applies here. Boom. And , um , hopefully , uh , that it came across as real and in the moment and off the cuff does. It was, but I, I'd much rather , even if I don't come up with the greatest line, I'd much rather be in the moment than have scripted that .

Dr. Shepp:

And that makes for good broadcasting. I , and I think that that experience broadcasters try to allow that freedom to occur. For example, the , the line in the miracle on ice. I mean who , who can forget that? And that was an unscripted moment, but, but I think , um, you're living out the principles that you first read about way back in the 80s because Psycho-Cybernetics does talk about that. Um, maximum Walt says that you should just focus on doing one thing at a time and that , that , um , you should live in the present moment and release all thought about outcome of your creative activity. And it sounds like you really tried to do that.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah, I do. And , um, that is, I guess where I first kind of learned it and thought about it. Um, when I went from high school to the ACC, it was kind of a golden age in , in the ACC, in college basketball. I mean, all , all of a sudden you, you, you're on the floor and you find yourself guarding Michael Jordan and it occurs to you, I can't guard Michael Jordan and, and, and then you're playing against Sam Perkins and James worthy and Ralph Samson and the logical part of your brain says, you know, I'm good but I'm not as good as these guys, but what you, what you do or what I did at least is I said, look, just play basketball. And I realized it's, it's basketball, it's what I've done all my life. Just go play and do the things you, you know how to do. Um, and then you get to a point where you believe, Hey, I can do this. I, I can hang. Um, but it is about letting it happen and being in the moment too . Uh , because even the visualization the night before or the day of or what , whenever you're doing that , um, it's kind of, that's kind of unscripted to everything. You want to be positive, but you let that happen to you don't script it per se,

Dr. Shepp:

and you're using mental imagery to help calm yourself as well. I would imagine just to try to reduce the fear and the worry and just execute the skill that you, you know, that you have when, when you were just speaking , um, just now it sounded like that's where you put your mind is on the skill that you know, you have and what you control about what you bring to the situation, rather things that you can't control.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah, I, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, you know, and , and what we're talking about has gotten so big in athletics, but I cover a lot of golf and it's, it's gotten huge in golf where everybody's got a sports psychiatrist or psychologist working with them , um, to do just that, to, to worry about the process. And we get, sometimes it gets trite and it sounds cliche when an athlete says that in an interview, well, I'm just taking it one step at a time and I'm going one shot by one shot. But it is psychologically at least about that because you, you can't control the outcome. You can control the process and being in that moment fully to pull off the best shot that you can pull off at that time or playing college basketball against Michael Jordan. If you think about the outcome while you're going to immediately go to, yeah, he's the greatest player of all time. This is not good. Um, you, you, you ha, you have to control what you can control and get open for that jump shot and , and take it just like you're taking it against anybody else or on the golf course. You know that that bunker shot , that fairway bunker shot from 180 yards over water. You can't think about the outcome. You gotta think about the process in order to pull that off. Um, and we've gotten you, you know, much more than I and I, I'd love to pick your brain about where we've come with that since the days of psycho cybernetics and Maxwell moles. But I do think watching the greatest athletes in the world, all of those principles still apply that were laid down back then.

Dr. Shepp:

Absolutely. And of course I would be somebody who would a hundred percent agree with you. Um, and , and we have really advanced the field quite a lot, especially with applied research and with the technology that we use. Um, but, but a lot of it still comes down to the same principles you just discussed, which is being in the moment , uh, executing what's in front of you, staying, staying there in that process. And , uh, it's more difficult to do sometimes than other times, but it's, it's never , um, it's, it's never lessened in its importance. You really have to focus your mind on the things that you can control and stay with that process. So building the process for each athlete is gonna look different. Um, but it's important across the board regardless of sport, regardless of whether it's a team sport, individual sport , um , the mental side of the game is so important

Terry Gannon:

and you know what the , there are also I played with and now I have covered athletes who just don't seem to get the situation they're in and how much pressure they should feel like it's, it's just a natural thing for some athletes. They have such both either belief in themself or a single minded focus where it doesn't even hit them that they're supposed to feel pressure in this moment. And if I Marvel at that and then there are other athletes who absolutely get every aspect of that and work hard, taking themself to a place where they're in the moment.

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah. And it is going to be different for every athlete because sometimes it's really hard work to stay in the moment and you really have to work the process hard and you have to trust the process and respected and embrace it. But you really have to work it hard. And for other athletes there they're able to narrow their attention and their focus to their skill and to that moment with the seeming ease. And so it does vary person to person. Um, I'm glad you point that out but, but, but I would say that seems like what you experience when you're broadcasting is you don't, you don't seem to, I'm not sure about your experience, but you don't seem to notice the pressure of the situation. I mean you've, you've called the Rose parade, motocross college basketball and football, world cup soccer, ski jumping, the Indy 500 rugby cycling, w NBA tour de France, Belmont stakes. You worked on the wide world of sports with Jim McKay. Of course, folks today know you as a regular with Judy Rankin calling the LPGA and then the PGA alongside certain [inaudible] often times, but you also called the closing ceremonies of the Olympic games. And to me you seemed no more nervous in that situation than in any other , um, and seemed to just rely on the , the preparation and the skill that you bring to any situation.

Terry Gannon:

Thank you for running down the bio too. I appreciate that I'm worn out. Now listen to go there . Um, yeah, you know, when I'm , when I'm nervous, service are , are the days leading up when it's something that I haven't done before. If it's the closing ceremony at the Olympics because it's such a different animal or back in the day you do the Indianapolis 500 for the first time and in the days leading up, you're , you're trying to learn as much as you can and, and get it all down. Well , I knock on wood, but in the moments before the broadcast, somehow a com comes over me and it's, it's like you switch into a mode that I've done this a million times, whatever sport it is or whatever I'm covering . I got this and I, I don't fully understand where that comes from. And it's also the time where I get most excited about going on the air. It's, I , I just get excited when the producer's counting down 10, nine, eight and until that red light goes on , um, I , I think it's a sense if I could put my finger on it. It's a sense of competition. I just love competition. People competing, especially at the highest level, but maybe even not at the highest level. I mean, if you're calling a a high school game that , that, that moment, yeah , before the game starts, the anticipation and I just, I just get excited. I don't get nervous. Um,

Dr. Shepp:

you thrive on that intensity.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah. And, and it's what really gets me going about my job no matter what it, it's what makes that ride to the airport or getting on the rental car bus, calling my bags all over the place were worth it is that moment when you actually [inaudible] I go on the air and you are , it's all about the enfold in front of you and you don't know how it's going to come out, what the outcome's going to be.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, but you trust yourself enough to be in the moment, right. Because it's , it's not that you've never made a mistake in your career, I would imagine, but you trust yourself enough to know that you'll be able to, to get through it or to recover or to , to tune back into what's happening in the moment so that you can stay with it,

Terry Gannon:

make a mistake at least every time out. Um , but that, the other aspect of that too I think is owning up to it and immediately just saying, Oh, sorry about that. Uh , this is the case or that's the case. Ms boat . Uh , people forgive you. People I think as, as a viewer, as I watch sports , um, first of all , um, I'm able to watch sports and not critique the announcers all the time, thank goodness because it would drive me crazy. I'd never watched . Um, but the ones that I really like are the ones who are just honest, like you're sitting on the couch next to them and if they make a mistake, they just own up to it and correct it right away. Um, and I think fans are very forgiving that way. I think when you try to cover it up or act like you didn't make mistake is when they're gonna actually hold it against you. Um, but Oh, go ahead. No, go ahead.

Dr. Shepp:

I was just gonna say you've also hit on, another key of the mental side of things is that you don't judge yourself. When you spend time judging yourself, criticizing yourself, you, you lose focus in , in the moment of, of what you're paying attention to. And , and you stay on that mistake a little bit longer. Your turnaround time, so to speak, is, is longer. So you're not able to get right back in it. So the fact that you don't judge yourself for making a mistake, instead you just own up to it and move on.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah . And if your performance, yeah, and you tell me, I mean, I think a big part of that is having been an athlete too, because that's exactly what you have to do when you're on the court or you're on the field. I mean, you don't have time to dwell on it. Or if you do , um, you're going to compound the mistake. And , and the toughest sports to me are the ones with S. so Gulf for example, there's so little time actually in the activity of playing golf. This swing, the pot, most of the time you spend in that four and a half hours and unfortunately it's like five hours plus now the way rounds are taking, but it almost the entire time it's in between the activity. And that's the biggest challenge I think in like for golfers to let go of that last shot that lasts bad shot or that last bogey on the previous hole. Um, but it's, it's maybe the biggest thing in terms of success on the golf course, but I think it applies to all sports and I , and having played, you know, you , you turn the ball over leading to a dunk for another team. I mean you've got to snap right back in and forget about that. And the athletes with the, the least amount of memory are the most successful ones that I've encountered.

Dr. Shepp:

Right. Absolutely. And I think one of the reasons why people say that golf is such a mental game is because there is more time in between shots. When you're on the basketball court, you don't have time. You have , you have to turn around, run the other way. Um , but in golf you have a number of minutes between shots that take somewhere between 30 to 45 seconds to, you know, to execute in total .

Terry Gannon:

Absolutely. And , and yeah, basketball's a reactive sport. Most of the time you're out there reacting in golf. You're not doing that. You're, you're literally thinking about either your last shot or your next shot and hopefully it's mostly your next shot. Um, and one of the great advances we've had in TV, I think our , the, the microphones to be able to pick up conversations between caddies and players or between two players as they're walking up to their next shot. And some fans say, Oh , it's kind of boring. What? I want to listen to a catty . I think it's fascinating because it, yeah, it totally takes you into, it's not only coach player in that conversation, it takes you into the mindset of that player. And are they thinking about that last shot or are they thinking about this next putter? How are they thinking about this next spot? And I often think that the most successful players are the ones who, when you pick up that conversation , um, they're , they're probably there . They're talking about things other than the next shot until they get up to the ball and are taking a look at now you click in to your situation and what you're going to do. And then you click in to your pre-shot routine, which again, that's part of the whole in basketball as a free throw shooter for example. Um, it, I learned this early on, you, you have a routine and as soon as you're handed the ball, you're not thinking about anything except what you do every single time you go to the free throw line, boom, boom, boom, boom, four bounces, look bend shoe, whatever your is. And it's the same in , in golf. And I think that the best, most successful golfers are the ones who are taking their mind away from what's going on and then they click in when they get there.

Dr. Shepp:

You're doing such a great job of describing sports psychology. Really. You are , um, a lot of the key principles that you mentioned are , are just so true and unchanging depending on the sport or the generation or whatever it might be. It's these, these principles don't change. But in golf, when you have a four or five hour round and then it's played over maybe four days, three or four days, depending by the, by the time you get to the back nine on the last round, your mind is going to be exhausted. If you're thinking about golf the entire time, yeah, you're going to lose your ability just to make the best course decisions or feel like you're still there, you know, in the tournament because you're just going to be exhausted. So you're right. I think players that when they're walking in between holes, they put their mind on something else. Uh , and then when it comes time, when you actually get up to the ball and you, you see where it lie and you address the ball and get ready to take your, what your best swing on it , um, and then you switched to having your mind back in the game. I think that makes for a good combination.

Terry Gannon:

I think I also over the course of days too , because if you play a four day event, yeah . Um, you better, once you leave the golf course that night or afternoon, you better get away from it and not really think about it until that next day. Uh, now if you get to out something and you , you gotta head to the range and work out a little something in your swing that you're not feeling fine, go do that, but then leave it and go out to dinner or go out and do whatever with your buddies or , or, and , and it goes back as, as a basketball player. And if , if people know about Jim Valvano and maybe watched our 30 for 30 , uh , survive in advance , uh, but 1983 in our run to a championship, he was a coach that wanted you, we went to the final four, he wanted us to take in everything about the final four , take a go to practice with 10,000 people there and , and don't be shielded off. We're not going to go practice in some little gym with no one there because he wanted us to take all that in and experience it . He wanted us to go out at night. He, I mean, his joke was yeah, we had bed check last night. We checked at 10 o'clock. All the beds were there

Dr. Shepp:

for their , I remember that.

Terry Gannon:

Right. And, and, and for me, I mean I think that was a reason we pulled off a great upset then because , um, we got away from it. You weren't sitting there and thinking about there are some coaches who, you know, you've got film session and then you go and you have a closed practice and they want you to go right back to your rooms. And, and , uh, not be out and about. And I think that makes it harder. I think that puts more pressure on you as an athlete than the opposite.

Dr. Shepp:

It does. Absolutely. And let, but let's switch a little bit to your career as a, as a collegiate basketball player because depending on the generation of the listeners , some may not know that you are part of something that some consider one of the greatest sports seasons, one of the greatest sports moments in fact in college basketball history. And you played for and later worked as an assistant coach for the great Jim Valvano and I'm sure that it's hard to encapsulate what you learned about the mental game from him. Um, but maybe you can recall some of the things that he discussed on the mental side of the, of the game.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah. He, he was just the, the most impressive person I've ever been around. And I miss him every day and I miss being able to call him up and say, Hey, did you see my broadcasts yesterday? What'd you think? And picking his brain. He was one of those people who just first of all had an enthusiasm for life, was excited, every S and I was close to him. I not only worked for him as an assistant coach, but that was very close to him , uh , until he passed and still close with his family. And we spend a lot of time with him. And he would , he was excited about every minute that he was alive and he was into everything. He was a hiss , um, English major in college. And in halftime talk , she would quote great poets and authors and he was into business. He had a number of side businesses. He was into sculpture and in art. And he started a business in that way. And , um, he was the kind of guy who made you believe you could do anything and not with a rah rah Newt Rockne talk, but because he believed in you, he got that across and you didn't want to let him down and he made you feel like you could, you could accomplish anything and, and , um, and take on any task. I mean really the entire reason that I kept saying yes, every time an opportunity came my way and broadcasting to do something that I had never thought about was because he instilled the idea of, of why not and why not me . Um, and he did that in the locker room before the championship game. We were taking on Houston who had two future hall of fame players and he came Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and we were a major underdog. I think my dad even laid the points and took Houston that night. We weren't supposed to even stay with them. And, and he came in the locker room and I, we tell this story count into 30 for 30, sorry if people saw it in him , boring them. But we had , you know, you have the entire scattering report up on the board and everything that you're going to do against this defense and that defense and here's how we're going to guard them. And they're , and , and he, and he took an eraser and he erased entire thing and he threw it away. And he said, if you think we're going to hold the ball and slow it down in front of 50 million people, you're crazy. We're going to go out there and kick their ass. And everybody just jumped up. And that was the entire pregame speech. And it was perfect because what we needed to hear from him was that he believed in us and he believed we were going to win. And we were gonna find a way to do it somehow get us to two minutes left with a chance to win the game and we're going to find a way again, being in that moment and letting it happen. And um, he, he, he slept about four hours a night. He was on all the time. If you're in the same room with him, you had to bring your a game conversation-wise or, or he would just take you down. Um, he was just to be around. He was, he motivated you every single second. And , and I always left after spending time with him, more excited and motivated about life. And it's led to me accepting opportunities that I would've never accepted.

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah. You mentioned that he would say to you, don't limit yourself, keep your mind and your eyes wide open for any opportunity and it, and it seems like that's exactly what you've done.

Terry Gannon:

That's how we lived. And, and , um, you know, I , I, I would have never believed in myself to the extent that I, I have without having had a coach like him. And he was said , you talked about the , uh, psychological aspect of sports and the mindset of athletes. He wasn't , um, educated that way. He, he just knew what button to push and that buttons different for everyone on the team. That's the other thing. He didn't treat us all the same. He treated us based on our personalities and needs as players and people. And he had a different relationship with every player. Um, and I think that's important for coaches to when they, they, they coach at the highest level with athletes, not the treat. Everybody the same. Different players need different motivation. I mean, I know I played with players who needed to be motivated to work hard and I play with players who just needed to be told they were good enough. Um, and he believed that they could get this done or that done. And you , it's not all the same. And I think even when you're an accomplished athlete at the highest level, your professional athlete , um, I think that's true as well.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, he did bring out the best in you considering you led that , uh, led the nation in three point shooting that bet year three point shooting percentage. So some things certainly worked in terms of him being able to bring out the best in you. But one thing about your relationship with Jim Valvano is , um , in contrast to your role as a broadcast or where you seem to always have something really fitting to say , um, about coach Jimmy Valvano, you said that you don't talk a lot about him because you don't feel like you have the words to really do him justice and you don't know exactly how to describe everything that he was.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah. I don't know if you've ever known a person like that. Um, hopefully you have. And, and I, if I try to get across to you even right now, what he was like, I'll for a fall short, I , I mean, I, I'm , I do my best to, because I think I'd like people to know , um, how extraordinary it was. And you know, he was, I mean, I went to see him a few times when he was in the hospital at Duke battling cancer at his worst. And , um, he , you know, he'd have to hit the button for painkillers and fall asleep and he wouldn't want to, but he would wake up. And every moment he's telling me, all right , here's what we need to do. He was setting up the V foundation for cancer research, literally as he's laying in the bed dying and saying, Frank's going to do this and, and Bobby's gonna do this, and here's what I want you to do. And he set up Ian , he, he envisioned and literally set up the entire V foundation as he was dying of cancer. And it's now, you know, over $200 million, they built wings on hospice . They've saved lives . It's, it's really one of those places saved one of his daughter's life who , who has had cancer. So it's , um, he , he was just one of those guys who you can't fully capture when you talk about a couple of weeks ago, but, right . Well about a month ago I played , uh, in the SPS golf tournament with a friend who was a very good friend of Jim Valvano's and we spent the entire day talking about him because he understood them and knew him . And I did. And you can talk about that. If I spent the entire day trying to tell people about him, I don't think I can. I think I'd always fall short of capturing him .

Speaker 4:

[inaudible]

Dr. Shepp:

I think not having the words to describe somebody in and of itself is, is an amazing Testament to who somebody means and what they mean to you. I mean, and who they were in your life. Um, one of the things you seem not to do is give in to pressure to say something when nothing needs to be said, which is not always easy. But I , I noticed that in your approach to your work is if there's an intense moment, you let the moment speak for itself and I think you're letting a coach fees , career and personality and , and impact speak for itself as well. But , um , I'm drawing parallels just in your approach to your work that sometimes you know that not saying something is the right thing to do.

Terry Gannon:

Thank you. I appreciate that. Well, here's the thing. Um, it's when, when there's a great moment and the crowd goes nuts and everybody, what am I going to say to add to that, to make it better, right? I mean, yeah. Later the temptation is later on to have that piece of tape where you call, you have this great call over a great shot or a great moment, but in the moment, just take the people there . Let, let the people watching on TV be there at the golf course in that moment or in the arena at that moment and experience what it's like to be in the crowd there in person watching it. And there's so many times when you do just, you should I think, let it happen and, and, and, and just let the moment take over. So hopefully, hopefully I do that for the most part. And I appreciate you saying that.

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah , absolutely. But it really does stand out there at some broadcasters when I'm listening to certain sports that I'll actually turn down the sound and I won't, I won't mention names of course.

Terry Gannon:

Well, I'm glad I'm not one of them. Thank you.

Dr. Shepp:

No, when, when I tune into something you're calling, I know that I'm going to enjoy it more and that's the, that's really my, my true feeling about it.

Terry Gannon:

That's the biggest compliment you could pay me. So I appreciate that. And that really is my goal every time out.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, I'm , I'm happy to pay you a compliment that , um, that is meaningful. Um, one of the lines that I wrote down, actually I a few years back , um, when you were calling the , uh, the free dance at the U S Olympics, you were watching the champions perform in there . Um, I think it was a short program. And w you said there their brilliance doesn't bring you out of your seat. It makes you sit back and contemplate it. And I wish of course I had said that more fluidly, but , um, when you said that line , um, I thought it was true. It was 100% true. There's some sports that you watch and you just want to jump out of your seat. You can't sit still. You have to pace the room if you're someone like me. Um, and there's other times where you watch and you're simply in awe and you have to just think about what you just saw. And I think that , uh, Simone Biles triple double at the 2019 USA gymnastics championships is one of those moments where you just have to sit and take stock of what just happened. There's nothing else you can do, but just be in awe.

Terry Gannon:

I was totally in awe in the moment the other night when she did that, even though I knew she was going to attempt that. Um, yeah, I, I think she is one of those at one of those rare athletes that doesn't just impress you or make you cheer. She, she literally makes your jaw just drop , um, because you can't believe what she's doing. And I actually posted something on Twitter just because it hit me. Uh , having played in college with Spud Webb, excuse me, who is five, six, maybe five, seven and eventually won the slam dunk contest in the NBA in 1986. He , he was the kind of athlete and after practice, every day he would just put on a dunking show. Just, I mean, he would do things and he would sit there. Everybody on the team would just sit there along the sideline and watch him, excuse me, and just be in awe . And it's the closest thing to what I saw the other night happened with Simone Biles. You , you, I , I want to keep watching her. I don't want her to leave the mat. I want her to be on floor the entire time or I'm being the entire time. And no disrespect to anybody else competing, but she is that kind of once in a lifetime athlete who does things that you don't think should be humanly possible. Um, and you just kind of take that in and hopefully we're in enough replays for people to , uh, to appreciate it. But he got, I know he got enough play because I came home the next day , uh, and every , I mean, I, my mail man was talking about it. My dentist was talking about it. Everybody was talking about what she had done the night before

Dr. Shepp:

and she's four foot eight powerhouse.

Terry Gannon:

I know. Right? Incredible.

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah. And also Spud Webb. I , I , um , I remember him too . I was young at the time, but I remember just what a powerhouse he was in the show that he would put on my husband as a matter of fact was in the pit. Um, really that you won that . Yeah. The day that you won the national championship. Um, and, and so it, it's funny now just looking back when I was watching the , um, the 30 for 30, the survive and advanced that you, they mentioned earlier, that's an ESPN film, by the way, those of you who aren't familiar with 30 for 30, I really recommend you look it up and watch it. It's, it's , um , a great piece. Uh , but when, when you mentioned what year it was and where, where the, the final four took place, I had forgotten that. And so I asked my husband, is that the year that you were at the final four? And certainly it was pretty funny.

Terry Gannon:

That is really cool. I mean, I mean, yeah, about a hundred million people claim to have been there that night now. But I will, but I believe them. I believe I do have Google.

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah .

Terry Gannon:

It's funny that the 30 for 30 actually has been a great thing. I, you know, we did that. Um, and we went back to Raleigh and we went to a place that we used to hang out and they just turned on the cameras and the microphones and there was, they didn't say anything like, we want you to talk about this or that or whatever. And we just talked as teammates for four hours and uh, they took it all in and made a grid a special out of it. But it was, we , we get together as a team every couple of years and within five seconds it's, it's like, it was back in the early eighties where, you know, same guys getting made fun of for the same things and same , same guys who were leaders back then. Our leaders still now. And , uh , I think one of the reasons and wherever I go cover and thing that people stop me and tell me that they love that 30 for 30 is , um, it's a bunch of guys who just were very close and , and we're able to pull off something extraordinary.

Dr. Shepp:

What an amazing experience you had. Um , and an amazing career you continue to have. And I, I could talk to you all day, but I don't wanna keep you much longer. I do have some questions that I ask everyone. Um, so if it's okay , I'm going to shift to those and, and get your answers.

Terry Gannon:

Sure. This has been great by the way. I've really enjoyed it.

Dr. Shepp:

Oh, I'm glad Terri . Um, so Terry , what in life are you still curious about?

Terry Gannon:

I'm still curious about where life's gonna take me. I feel like I'm just starting and I don't, I don't know what my next journey is. Um, and I'm open to wherever it takes me.

Dr. Shepp:

So you're still heating , um, coach fees words then? Apparently.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah. And people ask me what, so how long are you going to do this? I'm like, I haven't even thought about not doing this. I want to know what's next, what's on the docket, next one.

Dr. Shepp:

That's great. What is more distracting to you as a , as a broadcast or the praise that you get or the criticism?

Terry Gannon:

Ah, well, I'm going to be really honest and I'd love to say the criticism doesn't bother me, but we're all human. It , you can have 25 good comments and then there's one who said, why did you see this when this happened? Would it ? And then you rethink it a million times. So , uh, anybody who says that doesn't bother them, I don't know if I believe him .

Dr. Shepp:

And so then I'll just follow up with that really quickly. How do you get yourself over it?

Terry Gannon:

You get on your horse again the next time and you go do it. Um, I think that comes from being an athlete that what we talked about. I think it's, you forget about your last swing or your last shot that didn't go in or your last comment that wasn't on the Mark. And thankfully you have another opportunity the next week to go back out and prove yourself.

Dr. Shepp:

Okay. As a performer, you obviously prepare for every broadcast , um , yet the unexpected can happen. What is something unexpected that happened to you as a broadcaster?

Terry Gannon:

Oh wow. Well, the unexpected happens every show. I mean that's the, that's the beauty of sports. You don't know what to expect. Um, ah, I'd have to give that some real thought. Um , I don't know . I'll get back to you on, I mean, literally, literally a few weeks ago at the women's British open, this, this rookie who's never been in a major championship, everybody just assumed, okay, over the weekend she's going to fall back up in the final round. She can't hang with the pressure. And then when, when she, she makes a birdie pot from like 20 feet on the green at 18 to win it at the end. I mean, I think he can kinda hear it in my voice how unexpected it was that she actually pulled this off. So that's , that's the beauty of what I do for a living

Dr. Shepp:

and talk about poise under pressure. She was amazing. She just smiled, had fun, seem to not take it so seriously, which is often a key to success in , in high pressure situations .

Terry Gannon:

I know. And somehow was able to keep doing that. Uh , yeah . Did back to your big , uh , big picture part of your question though. So much of my career as a broadcaster is unexpected to me. I didn't, first of all expect to be a broadcaster. I was going to be a coach. Oh, that's right. Your dad was a coach. My dad was a coach. That's what I always wanted to do. I was an assistant coach for Jim Valvano and the opportunity presented itself, excuse me , um, to go into broadcasting and I kinda went in and talked to him. Long story short , uh, he was like, yeah, I'll hire you back. Go take a shot, see what you can do. And it was, that was his attitude. And um, that's how I got into broadcasting. And then every step of the way, and I know there's merit to mapping out your future and having goals, but with me, it was more of a dream than a goal. Like I didn't say one day I want to be sitting court side calling the NBA playoffs or the final four or something. I said, this is a great journey. Let me see where it takes me. And I was open to accepting opportunities because of that in areas that I never would have, except if I mapped it out, I would've never said yes, I'll go do that figure skating show next week. Yes, I'll do play by play this weekend on college football. Yes. I'll go do mountain biking for wide will the sport. Yes, I'll do ski flying in Slovenia next week. And so however that was instilled and I think a big part of it was Jim Valvano. Um , I feel fortunate for that and the whole thing is unexpected and that's why I kind of say, and I'm being truthful, I don't know where the journey takes me next.

Dr. Shepp:

That's cool. And even your championship of course was unexpected. It was unexpected by everyone who was watching, including all the broadcasters who were calling the the tournament back then. Um, but, but each time you advance, your team got a little bit more confident than if you could just be in the game with three minutes left, you'd find a way to win. But when you started off, I imagine just the fact that you are advancing along that journey was something you, you didn't really exist .

Terry Gannon:

No way. I mean, yeah , it , we , we had to, in our minds, we had an injured player, Derek Whittenburg , one of our players through the middle of the season. He unexpectedly came back, was able to play coming back from a broken foot right at the end of the season. But in our minds, we had to win the ACC tournament just to even get into the NCAA tournament, which included beating North Carolina with Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins on Saturday. And then Ralph Sampson , who at the time was even more of a powerhouse than Michael Jordan and college basketball. We had to beat Virginia on Sunday and we did it. And what happened along the way, we won these games in such dramatic fashion coming from behind that we would get in the locker room after the game and kind of look at each other and raise an eyebrow and smile and go, how did we do that? And, and you, what happened along the way is this belief that I don't know what, who do we have to play next? The Celtics. Okay, we'll find a way to win. We don't know how, but if we're close to the end , we're going to find a way to win. It's just a belief that grew because we did come back and win every game.

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah, he came from behind and um, yeah, absolutely. But, but how much did that just reinforce the, your confidence that you could do it if you could perform as a team, if you could , um, communicate with each other effectively and put all the things that you had practiced into play when it mattered. I'm , I'm sure your confidence just built on, on that experience.

Terry Gannon:

Look, I'm not saying, I mean it could have ended very differently and we could have been blown out by Houston and the championship game and that was a very real possibility. But in our minds, once Jim Valvano said, you're going to win, this is how you're going to do it. And we're going to go out there and we're going to be national champions in front of 50 million people. In our minds it was a done deal. We were going to win. We didn't know how we , we will figure it out, but we're going to win this game. And that's, I, I, you know, you , whether you're any gets back to what we've been talking about the whole time, but it's not necessarily tricking your mind into thinking something. But, but it is finding a way to put that belief in your head and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy or it's got more of a chance to do that.

Dr. Shepp:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And even if it comes down to a law of in a dunk in the last know a few seconds of a game , um, you've done everything you can to, to prepare for the unexpected and , um, you just trust yourself to , to put that into play. And , and then , um, show up in the moment.

Terry Gannon:

And I love how you call it a lob in a dunk. You're buying Derek Whittenburg story all these years that it wasn't a shot and an air ball . But yeah, I mean and , and who , how I'd want it if people do know the story because Houston was famous for their dunks. There were five slamma Jamma that's the high flying dunks and we won the national championship on the final play against them on what? On a dunk. Amazing irony.

Dr. Shepp:

That's how I know my husband was really there cause he's not even a basketball fan, but he described the last year .

Terry Gannon:

All right , that's true .

Dr. Shepp:

So back to these , uh, these questions. What is one tweet or comment regardless of the means with, with, with which it came to you, what does one tweet or comment that stands out to you because of its impact? Good, bad, or for whatever reason?

Terry Gannon:

These are hard. These , I know, these are really hard. Um, I don't know. I tend to think of great calls. I don't think in terms of tweets or comments, you know, I mean, so like Jack Buck, his call with the , with Kirk Gibson's home run stands out. I don't believe what I just saw. And is that poetry is that like if you scripted and you wouldn't make it as simple as that, but it's brilliant because it's so simple and in the moment and it describes what everyone at home is thinking. Okay .

Dr. Shepp:

Yeah. Like Jack Nicholas on , um, what was it, 16 at the 1986 masters? Yes, sir.

Terry Gannon:

Yes. Verne Lundquist . Yes, sir. Uh, or tigers chip in your life. Have you ever seen anything like that? Um, it describes exactly what everybody's thinking and that's what you're hopefully going for as a broadcaster.

Dr. Shepp:

Terry, how do you move on from failure? Um, and I'm not just talking about a mistake that you make, you know, and , and cause we've already discussed that, but if you, if you feel like you've ever had an experience, you walk away from that registers as a failure. How do you move on from that?

Terry Gannon:

Isn't that the great question of competition or of success? And it is all about that. I try, it's not easy no matter how many years you've been doing what you're doing. But I try to own up to it. Um, I try to analyze it, I try to face it and thankfully have another shot and I try to view everything in, in light of what sports kind of teaches you, which for me, the biggest thing it teaches you is just that is there's always another day. Get back at it, learn from what you just did or failed to do and come back stronger the next time. Sounds trite, sounds old fashioned, but I think it does all come down to that. And, you know, it's what gets me when I would go to my , my kids are now college age, but would go to their games. Um, parents who don't quite seem to get that, that, that their kid's not going to be a center fielder for the Dodgers. I mean, if it happens, beautiful, lovely. And it's a , you know, one in a million shot and guess what? It's going to happen because of the kid, not the parent most of the times. Yeah. Um, but those, those lessons, even as a kid that these, that they're learning. And for me that's the biggest one. Make a mistake, get back out and do it better next time.

Dr. Shepp:

It's the difference between a successful career and a stalled career often.

Terry Gannon:

Yeah. Cause I think you can, you can create that. Again, it's a, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. And what's in your mind oftentimes either tends to happen or at least you allow there to be a chance for success. You know, the , the old thing , uh , belief, hard work, enthusiasm, it doesn't guarantee success. It doesn't guarantee you're gonna win that. But if you don't have those things, I can guarantee you , you won't,

Dr. Shepp:

it kinda comes down to getting out of your own way. So

Terry Gannon:

yeah. Abs . Absolutely. Um, that's, and that's one of the hardest things to do,

Dr. Shepp:

right? Absolutely. Um, this is the last hard one. Um, so have you ever had what you would say was a transformative moment in your work and if so, what was it?

Terry Gannon:

Yeah , um, I mean there, there have been many, cause they've had really opportunities to work with the greatest and Jim McKay you mentioned, but I remember mayor Brent Musburger [inaudible] was hosting, we worked with Brent and, and he was the overall host of the, the world figure skating championships. And I was the play by play along with Peggy Fleming and Dick button. And there are these names , uh , Yulaina bears , Naya , Anton secret leads say , all right, who were Russian pair , who eventually won the Olympic gold medal? But it's hard to say it , especially if you're not used to calling figure skating. And , and in the rehearsals, you know, he, he was, he was getting there, but he wasn't quite, and , and our producer kept saying, Brent, you've got to get these, these names right. Uh , when we go on the air, because figure skating fans know them. Don't worry about a kid. I got it. And so eventually we go on the air and they show the standings and Brent says there they are at the top, the Russians in second place, Smith and Johnson from the United States. And it hit me. That's really it . You go with what you know and you stay away from what you don't. And, and really, I mean, I , it's uh , it's funny, but I learned from that. I was like, Oh, that's brilliant. I love that.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, it avoids the , the alternative, which is fans yelling at the TV or sending out tweets about how a broadcast or butchered somebodies name of player that they love. So , um, but, but you pronounced the Ty golf players last names pretty well, I must say. So to

Terry Gannon:

dump us, we'll want to pour practice, say a quickly with conviction. I do. I do remember I did the little league world series and uh , one time it was Taiwan who was , um, in the championship game and you know, you have to go around and set the lineup and , and I did Pam bam, bam, bam with all the names and this and that. And after the broadcast, I would always talk to my dad when, when he was alive and eats it . Boy, you are so good with those names. You see, I mean, you knew everything. I said, dad, how would you know if I made a mistake? Seriously? And Eddie said, well, that's true. I really wouldn't . I really wouldn't know. But you set them quickly with conviction. I said, yeah, that's all I was trying to do.

Speaker 5:

Perfect.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, in 30 seconds or less, just to sum up, Terry, what have you learned about yourself from your work as a broadcaster?

Terry Gannon:

You are really getting inside my mind now. You're really trending . Um, I've learned that I can accept different challenges and be willing to do the work to try to convey the competition as best I can, no matter what sport it is. I , I, I, I've learned through the years, and this was something Jim [inaudible] used to say, no matter what sport it is, and he used to do wide world of sports where they go do log rolling, you know, and , and it's not exactly , um, a mainstream sport. Um, and he'd say, you know, what we're calling today is the world championships. It's the world series to these athletes who are out there competing at this. And he was right. It stuck with me. And so I , I've, I've learned that I get excited no matter what the competition is, no matter what the sport is, to watch great athletes compete. Um, and that, you know, also there's some perspective having, having done it for awhile, that , um, you celebrate the competition and the athletes, even when it may be , is not the greatest competition. I , I try to be honest with the viewer when it's not a great day of golf, they're not playing well or it's not a great , uh, basketball game or whatever it is. And I try to be honest and convey that, but it's still a celebration of what they're doing. And, and I've learned that I, I appreciate that as much today is when I started in this business or when I played college sports and , uh, and it gets me excited and I , I don't know how many years I'll do this, but I'm going to do it for a while cause I still, every time that game starts, I'm excited.

Dr. Shepp:

Well, I'm very excited to have talked to you today and maybe this was a bit of a celebration of , of your career. It's, it's been 30 plus years so far in broadcasting. I hope it continues as long as you want it to because regardless of sport , um, you always, at least for me , um , put me right there on the sidelines and make me feel like I'm, I'm watching it from, from a closeup view. Um, and it's always entertaining. It's always interesting. I learned from your broadcasts , which is for someone like me , um, a , a real , um, uh , part of what really draws me to listen to the broadcast that you cover because I love learning. Um, and so I I enjoy the fact that I can learn from you and I've learned from you today as well. So thank you so much Terry for joining me.

Terry Gannon:

Thanks for the kind of things you've said. I really appreciate it and for the time and allowing me to pick your brain a little bit and uh , hopefully we can talk along the way and when I ever have a question in terms of this I can, I can pick up the phone and call you so I hope you'll feel free to.

Dr. Shepp:

Thanks. Thanks sir. Thanks Terry.

Speaker 6:

[inaudible]

Dr. Shepp:

this has been managed the moment with dr Shep .

Speaker 6:

[inaudible]

Dr. Shepp:

life is a collection of moments. It's how you manage the moments that make the difference. My thanks again to Terry Gannon for joining me on today's episode and thank you for listening. You can find more information about the manage the moment podcast in the episode notes for this broadcast and you can subscribe to manage the moment podcast wherever you choose to listen to podcasts. You can find us also on social media and you can find me on Twitter at dr Shep. Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to these moments with us. Until next time,

Speaker 6:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

on our next episode, we will be chatting with Michi Brusco , X games, gold medalist. Those moments, those two, I think stick out to me a lot. And it's funny because neither of those are external. It's funny, like I realized that it's just like decisions that I made that, I mean, I guess unless it's a traumatic experience, that's going to be what transformations kind of are. Yeah. And I'm sure you're gonna really enjoy what he has to say. Until next time.