It’s hard for me to believe, but this is my eighth season with the NFL on Fox, and it is shaping up to be my favorite year yet covering the NFL. One of the reasons for that is my crew this year – which includes three-time Super Bowl champion, Mark Schlereth and my dear friend, Dick Stockton.
Yes, Dick is a man who’s been named one of the Top 50 Network Sportscasters of All Time and is a broadcast inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s called every major sporting event from the Olympics to the World Series, including the 1975 faceoff where Carlton Fisk made history with his victory-sealing Game 6 home run. Earlier this season, Mark and I had the privilege of working beside Dick as he called the 600th NFL game of his broadcast career.
For me, Dick is a father-type figure who has taught me about navigating both life and the business of live sports television. This season is the first I’ve worked with Dick in several years, and while we’ve stayed in touch, thanks to technology, I was blown away by how fantastic he looked when I saw him in person at the beginning of this season. Dick recently got married to a wonderful woman named Jamie, who inspired him to start working out in earnest for the first time ever. Now, after just turning 76, Dick says he’s in the best shape of his life, and I hope you find his fitness journey as inspiring as I do!
“It has been a night and day experience for me since engaging in an organized workout program,” Stockton says. “I feel much stronger and fit. It makes a difference as you get older. I see friends aging before my eyes. They get tired quicker in almost everything they do. I see it on the golf course, especially. I get stronger as we approach the finish and often play my best golf at that time.”
Stockton’s workouts are not marathons. The trainers he and his wife use have devised a rapid fashion, cardio-intensive regiment that lasts 30 minutes, twice a week. Their workouts include bicep curls (20-25 pounds, 15 reps, 2x), cable squat pulls, cable chest press, lat pull downs, slam ball exercises and 5 minutes on the rowing machine.
“Since I started working out, I’ve felt years younger than my actual age,” Stockton says. “When I was growing up, I read in ads how skinny kids had sand kicked in their faces at the beach by muscle-bound he-men. I was one of those kids. I felt that way until seven years ago, but now it’s different. While I’m not about to kick sand in anyone’s face, no one will kick sand in mine.”
Stockton has also noticed a significant improvement in his posture. Decades of standing in broadcast booths and leaning over to see the action on the field or court took a toll on Stockton’s body and stature. The new fitness regimen is paying dividends in his tall, upright stance.
Perhaps most impressive in this new fitness routine is Stockton’s prowess at planking. He can plank on his elbows for five consecutive minutes. “I never knew what a plank was,” Stockton says. “For some reason, I’ve been able to concentrate on executing it. I’ve done it for five minutes many times, although it’s hardly necessary to do it that long. If I do two-three minutes, that works for me. I was surprised I was able to do five minutes when I saw others struggling to do over a minute. But I realize some people are good at some exercises and not others.”
One thing about my friend – he doesn’t mince words. You always know where Dick stands and how he feels. At 76, one has certainly earned that right. However, Dick’s trainer seems to be the one person who has found a way to ignore Dick’s opinion. True to form, Dick doesn’t let that slow him down.
“I have favorite exercises: crunches on the machine, bicep curls, tricep pulldowns and all of the cable presses are acceptable,” Stockton says. “I also have a bunch of exercises I’m not thrilled to do: the ball toss where I twist and throw a 20-pound ball. I can do without that. Working on TRX is not high on my list. I’ve learned when I tell my trainer how much I enjoy an exercise and can do more reps, he can’t hear me. However, when I tell him that I can do without an exercise, he has perfect hearing and urges me to do more. So, using reverse psychology has worked for me, if you know what I mean.”
I’m just glad that my friend is taking such good care of himself, and I think that it’s a reminder for us all that it’s never too late to work on being the best version of yourself. It’s important to make time in our busy schedules for exercise, even if it’s 30 minutes, twice a week. Clearly, that commitment is paying off for Dick. He says he’s grateful because he feels better now than ever before at age 76. I’m grateful for that too and hope that by following his example, one day years from now, I’ll be calling my 600th NFL game too.