Yo. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who had posted about the call on the stream. It's been an (unexpected) overwhelmingly positive response.
tl;dr Thanks to everyone for the kind words. Hopefully I get to do it again!
Like many things in my life, I learn by doing and being in the moment. Taking in the tournament experience reduced my anxiety about not having any competitive history or background with the game outside of the ~250 pages of prep material I brought with me, and by taking part in the broadcasting end of things for the first time, I now also have a million ways to be better the next time I do something like this. Part of my role was to describe the action, and the role of the various others that came on the broadcast was to dive in to the details of why a player made a certain call, or specific match-ups that viewers (or even 'casuals' like me) may not be aware of.
My biggest fear was coming across as someone who was an expert on the game and the competition, despite having never competed, and sounding completely out of my element. That's why I leaned on the other broadcasters for their expertise. My part in all of this was to fill time during lulls (which you could argue is my day job as a sports broadcaster) and describe the action. I'm really grateful for the dozens of people who jumped in or helped me out leading up to and on the day of the event. I learned quite a bit. In broadcasting there are roles. I was doing the play-by-play. Everyone else was the color analyst. We played to our strengths. I even managed a smile out of some of the guys coming up to call the games, which is my biggest challenge on any broadcast, because I'm kind of an idiot.
I had written a piece for my employer on the event as well, mostly a "through the eyes of..." type piece. What was it like to take my career skills and apply it to something fun and awesome? I thought that by pulling back the curtain a bit, it would show a little of what all goes into going about something new like this. I literally didn't have to lift a finger at the event--the hard work was done for me. Setting up and tearing down equipment is arguably my best ability in broadcasting: I don't travel with producers or engineers who do the work for me. I much prefer to do it myself. Probably comes from years (decades) of following my dad's band around and taking down lights and speakers. I was told to take a hike on that front. So, I spent all of my down time observing and chatting, and even snuck in a poorly-played game upstairs in the middle of the down time.
I didn't intend the piece as a way out for what I personally feel wasn't my best performance--the prep time leading up was exciting and I intentionally waited until the week or two before the event to deep dive into the details of the game. I did that because I wanted everything to be fresh on game day, for one, but it was a matter of practical sense too: I was still preparing for and calling several basketball and hockey games a week into March. I also didn't note my flu-like symptoms on the day of as a cop-out for possibly sounding terrible on the stream. I was trying to underline how excited I was to do this event and no amount of fever, stomach issues, nausea, fatigue, or whatever else was going on was going to prevent me from covering it. I mean sure, if I sounded terrible, it's probably a factor? But I was really annoying about how pumped I was to do this (ask a co-worker, or my wife). I won't lie, it was actually brutal to sit around and do nothing for a bit--it was in the second half of a stretch of where I literally ate no food for four days, and was trying very hard to not throw up or worse upstairs (I had changes of clothes and a small trash can with me just in case). Once I got on the air though, I sort of forgot how miserable I felt. That's how broadcasting works. Once you're doing the job, none of that other stuff matters.
I think the 15 minutes leading up to the first stream were longer than the eight hours that followed actually streaming. I forgot I was sick for a long time, and I only remembered before the final because I was impressed at how long I was able to ignore it. That's the kind of night I was having--it was a great feeling. The best I had felt in a few days. Also the reason I do what I do outside of video games.
Thanks to everyone for the kind words about the work on the broadcast, of which I literally provided only a voice; almost all of my work was done for me, from setup to prep to analysis. Those are the people you really should be thanking. I go to plenty of conventions, events, and tournaments, and this was as pleasant and organized as any I've been a part of. If I could do more of this, I definitely would. I'd want to contribute more, naturally. I suck at watching other people work. Everyone there made it more fun than I could have hoped it would be when I signed up to do it (and wow, did they have to twist my arm to get me to do it. Oh Jim, there's video games, beer, and you get to call it. So tough). Thanks to everyone who watched/listened and stopped by to chat. Hopefully, it went as well as you say it did. I honestly don't remember much of the day except for the last hour or so at this point. As mentioned, did not feel well that weekend.