Cumberland Times-News

Mike Mathews - Sports

June 17, 2008

A timeout with T.O. was always on the priority list

Monday mornings have never been high on my list of favorites.

Some people look forward to the start of a new week. I do, too. I'd just prefer to start it a little later in the day. Weekends have a way of doing that.

But yesterday it was impossible to look forward. It was a time to look back.

I found myself taking extended Time Outs, thinking of Tom O'Rourke who, over a sportscasting career of three decades, became a household name in the Cumberland area.

News of his death made this particular Monday morning hurt, and much more than that of a punch in the gut. A punch to the belly can wear off quickly. This one won't. It's a dull ache. The only thing that can help mask it is remembering the good times, what Tom did and said, and how he meant so much to so many people. That forces us to smile, and reminds us of how we were fortunate to have known him.

You may have never personally met Tom. But you knew him. You knew him through his bold, welcoming, warm voice not only through his many years of work at WCBC radio but also as a public address announcer for Allegany College and Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament basketball games, and as a host or toastmaster of many events.

He was identifiable first by his voice. His love and knowledge of sports and interest in everyone involved in those sports was unbeatable.

Athletes and teams set many goals. As teenagers, one that a number of us hoped to realize one day was to have our names appear in a J. Suter Kegg sports article or column in the newspaper. Another was to have our names mentioned by Tom O'Rourke on the radio.

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Mike Mathews - Sports
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