Tonight, while up in the announcer’s booth for the Bear River football game, I witnessed what is, as far as Box Elder County is concerned, history. Harry Gephart, long time play-by-play radio announcer for all Bear River High School sports, retired.
If you’re not from ’round these parts, you don’t understand. Harry Gephart is Bear River sports. He literally is the “Voice of the Bears”. There are very few people from our valley that can remember sports on the radio before Harry. Here is some perspective: I am 41. I’ve been married almost 20 years. We have five children. I’ve actually been the public announcer guy for enough years that no students remember me not doing it. With all of that said, Harry has been announcing since I was eleven years old! He started in 1983. I was just finishing elementary school. The current football team’s parents were just starting middle school.
Since our family moved into the valley, we’ve had many opportunities to listen on the radio to “our” boys or girls battling it our on the gridiron or court. Always, always, we pictured the games through Harry’s golden voice. Regardless of who won, Harry gave our team the benefit of the doubt. Always positive. Always gracious. Always kind to the opposition. In fact, when our family has been far from home on a Friday night, and “our team” was playing some sport somewhere, we felt connected to our little beautiful valley through Harry’s unique and familiar voice and style. We are not the only family to feel this way.
You don’t have the impact that Harry has had by being a short-term or inconsistent person. Harry has been so consistent for such a long time, that his impact is bigger than any one moment, game, sport, or season. There is a lesson in all of this.
The most significant impact comes from being consistent over a very long time. One or two weeks of good scripture study will make a difference. But 40 or 50 years of consistently solid, spirit-directed scripture study will change a person. A weekend of kindness will bless any marriage. But six decades of consistent sacrifice, thoughtfulness, and kindness will transform a marriage into a blessing that impacts multiple generations and becomes almost legendary in the hearts of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. You can’t qualify for these blessings in a month’s time.
Eight times in Jacob 5 you’ll find the phrase “long time” referring to the Lord of the vineyard and His efforts to save His olive trees. His efforts were so consistent and long-term. Christ is able to do things for a “long time”. That is part of why He has made a difference in the lives of the earth’s inhabitants (an understatement, I know). Christ is consistent in a way that is unfathomable to mere mortals. That consistency invites a power that most of us cannot approach. There really is power in long-term consistency.
I felt a little emotional as I listened to the radio on the way home from the game tonight. Harry, you’ve done more than keep us up on the scores. You’ve made a difference in the lives of many because you’ve been consistent for longer than most of us have been listening to Bear River sports on the radio. Thank you for your example.