The Fish Report website out of Russia (just north of Bloomer, not the foreign country) first got my attention early in its 16+ year existence. They ran links to articles that I found interesting and had not previously discovered. I also noticed and respected their efforts toward Russia area activities eventually including live audio/video streaming of sporting events. I found people relocated from here to all over the country and beyond were utilizing Fish Report to get a taste of home.
My friendship with founder Craig Fiessinger grew during this period. He treated his venture with respect that spawned professionalism which was important to me. Eventually the OHSAA was willing to grant media credentials to Fish Report for various tournaments and championships. They saw that the site was more than a sports fan’s hobby. I’m the senior member of the OHSAA Media Advisory Committee and was glad to endorse Fish Report to the OHSAA media division. When I did this I had no idea I was actually advocating on behalf of a family member.
About six months ago I got a note from Craig asking if I was related to the late Gordy Price, and I responded affirmatively about my dad’s sister’s son. Gordy and I worked together at Sidney’s WMVR radio during the 1980’s. While I was the voice of high school sports, he had an amazing school age following for his nightly music show. Craig (Fort Loramie class of 1989) was one of Gordy’s legion of followers who would both listen and call in to the “Rock of the Miami Valley.” Adopted at birth, Fiessinger was inquiring of me because he’d just confirmed through lengthy research that Gordy was the biological father he never got to meet.
Over the next few months, Craig and I swapped many notes and huddled in person twice. He learned many things and so did I. Some revelations were amazing. Craig said he’d felt a calling to broadcasting, then finds out that his dad was a broadcaster.
Now here’s the true “believe it or not” entry. Craig and his wife have a son whom they randomly named with favorite rather than family names. The result was Ross William Fiessinger, now on the Russia JV basketball team. Craig’s ancestral pursuits revealed a great grandfather named William Ross who is also my grandfather. Descending from William Ross are three more generations with the same name. They are my dad, brother, and nephew.
In late December I proposed that we broadcast a basketball game together. His immediate positive response pointed to the Russia at Fort Loramie boys varsity contest on Friday, Jan. 8 which was confirmed immediately. I reside just outside of Fort Loramie and was already planning to attend that game.
I told Craig that I wanted him to work with regular partner Ken Francis while incorporating me as a third voice. My role would be visible but not dominant. My first sports broadcast in almost 17 years was set, a family affair if you will.
It appeared that last Friday was very enjoyable for all parties including Ken. We meshed well and had an entertaining local event to describe. Many subjects were included during pregame, halftime, and postgame. We worked the game and localized the delivery, saying hello to a viewer in western Indiana and celebrating the birthday of a former Russia mayor. I was back in my element and loved it.
My family circle is small. I’m one of two children, as were my mom and dad. Though somewhat distant, this most recent expansion with a second cousin is very welcome especially since it has a professional tie with someone I already knew and respected.
Will we do it again? Yes, and arrangements are already made. Just over ten months from now our trio will work both genders of Russia at Fort Loramie early next season. Hopefully, I’ll then get invited to the 2021 Fish Report Christmas party.
My grandmother Eleanor Ross, also Craig’s great grandmother, would have been delighted with all of this and would have employed her signature saying. I can hear her now chiming in with her approval, “Isn’t this just grand!”
Yes, it is…..
Sports Extra appears each Friday. The author’s media career spans almost 46 years including three decades of radio and TV.