Sports. Many young minds today base future careers on the dream of going major, whether it be in football, soccer, track, baseball, or other sports; the idea is always there, but being a player in the game is not the only way to the big leagues.
Craig Bolerjack, the voice of the Utah Jazz, did not always plan on having a job calling professional basketball games. In high school, he took part in various sports but set his sights on going pro in only one, football.
“A typical story, I got hurt. Tore my knee, so I had two knee operations, and I realized that was over at the age of 19,” Bolerjack said.
Realizing playing sports was no longer an option, Bolerjack looked into different education routes, briefly considering science and education but deciding that he still wanted a sports-based career. A friend recommended he take a Broadcast Journalism elective which, unbeknownst to him, started him on his path.
“You just never know what direction or what journey life will take you, and I’m glad it took me in this direction [be]cause it’s been an incredible experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Bolerjack said.
Bolerjack started his broadcasting career doing six and ten o’clock sports in Topeka, Kansas, through his newfound interest. Though he enjoyed what he did, it was not without difficulties, and as Bolerjack continued, this became more apparent.
“I think the creativity is where the challenge is every day because you want something fresh,” Bolerjack said.
Bolerjack continued to advance his career and find ways around the everyday challenges, but the most difficult part of it came two years ago in the form of something no one could have expected, COVID-19.
“When COVID hit for the second time, they pulled us off the road, and that’s been difficult, to try to keep the energy and to try to make sure the fans at home feel like they’re a part of the broadcast, and when you’re not there, it’s hard to do; it really is,” Bolerjack said.
Bolerjack has been calling the away games from an empty arena on a jumbotron for the past two years but has finally been able to attend road games in person again. Despite the challenges, Bolerjack continues to love what he does. Through his job, he has been able to broadcast the Olympics, NFL (National Football League) games, NBA (National Basketball Association) games, and college sports, and continues to make and experience history in the sports world.