Darwin Zook

On Air Talent: SiriusXM Radio, CBS Sports Radio, ESPN+, Podcast Host

Check out my podcasts

Host of "Piece of Mind" Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1415731


Co host of "Sons of Bellhorn" Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/6pJ2snS1XCeX1wtqPlqgEw

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A-10 Network Fordham vs. URI halftime Analysis

Darwin Zook & Andrew Bogusch

Jim Rome gets in my corner.. on air update at the end

Good times on air with Rome

DZ on ESPN+ play by play Fordham vs. Manhattan part 2

"Battle of the Bronx" Second half ending on ESPN+

DZ on ESPN+ Fordham vs. Manhattan play by play part 1

"Battle of the Bronx" Second quarter on ESPN +

Darwin Voice Over of Home Run Derby

Judge wins it!

Darwin Zook on Color Commentary and Mike Watts play by play ESPN+

Fordham vs. St. Bonaventure

Fishing? Why not! Yours truly with the appearance at 1:30 mark

Some banter with Kyle Brandt from Jim Rome Show

My article titled "Athletes need to prioritize caring and support for our endangered Home," was featured in the latest: https://www.wearthcallinghome.com

      I leaped over couches, circling my first-floor childhood home like a merry-go-round, as I celebrated a Michael Jordan jump-shot in the ‘92 NBA finals. I’ve pumped my fists and exchanged video text messages with my friends in anticipation of another memorable Tom Brady playoff game. I rooted fiercely for the comeback story of Tiger Woods in 2019, because I admired his competitiveness as an athlete. Through my own sports playing days from high school in Massachusetts, to Division 3 basketball at UC Santa Cruz and semi-pro football in the New England Football League, I have tried to emulate the pro athletes whom I have greatly valued.

        Like countless others, I have admired these athletes and tried to take their best qualities into my sports play or even into just everyday life. Many of these athletes have also been key voices in the growing social justice movement, especially in combating hate and racism. Examples include former NFL quarterback Colin Kaeparnick taking a knee during the national anthem, Celtics star Jaylen Brown leading protests in Atlanta, and Lebron James helping with the “get out the vote” effort that was so crucial in the recent Presidential election. However, I say now to all my heroes over the years -- from the hardwood, to the ice, on the diamond, on the football field -- It is not enough.

        For example, when thinking of "home", some of us live in a little apartment in Jersey City (raising hand), some of us live in "nice" suburban homes, some of us live in high-rise buildings in the middle of a major city, some of us live in mansions with huge yards and pools and so on.... These widely varying living quarters reflects the broad inequitable caste-like culture built in to our system of economics. We know there is a materials/money-wealth gap in our country as well as in other nations. But there is one reality that we all do share above all others: Our true, ultimate Home -- Earth or more specifically the part of the earth where there is life, the biosphere. We do not and will not have a second planet on which to evolve or de-evolve. Yet our behaviors and decisions mirror the erroneous thinking that we have unlimited resources to consume and use up, before we move to a new sector of the Universe! Hey, even if the sci fi world of Elon Musk or someone else is able to help create a new planet to occupy, we will still need to do what we are not doing very well here -- preserving and respecting our main provider, Nature. We would still need to face reality and obey Nature's rules such that we actually support a healthy biosphere, one that promotes fresh air, clean water, chemical-free soils, expanding forests, plastic-free seas, biodiversity and a greater commitment of how best to live within the "rules" of the planet, as opposed to competing with or ignoring it.

     The broad reach of climate change: Many athletes on the highest sports stage are doing essential social justice advocacy, but despite the fact that many have children and certainly want them to have a viable future, the ongoing "umbrella" issue of Mother Earth as a Home-in-peril is overlooked. The continuing human-caused Climate change reality impacts everything from social injustice, to the growing gap between rich and poor and most of all to our future generations' health and well-being. Without a healthy, sustainable biosphere, all the very important societal issues will become moot. The problems are real and deep and in a very clear box. But the box is sitting in a larger Home, very much under-appreciated and mistreated. Athletes here and globally at the professional level across all sports often have great influence in their words and actions. They also have mind-boggling amounts of money. The term "embarrassment of riches" is thrown around as a cliché, albeit it is a fitting term for many of these professional athletes. There's no question that a future with some reasonable harmony with the biosphere depends on courageous new government and corporate policies, as well as significant life style and values changes by all citizens. But, given where we live, in the United States and its current economic system, even with all its faults, monetary support on a grand scale can be used in very positive ways to help drive the mandatory nature protection and reduce climate change intensity.

       Amazon's indigenous peoples a key to a healthy future:    It is clear that a teacher making $60,000/year is not 100 times less valuable to society or the earth, than an athlete making $6,000,000 year. There are ways for our current economic system to be more compatible with and work for the planet. There is a way for pro athletes to once again be leaders and put monies and their voices toward helping ensure less trauma and hardship from human-caused climate change and related misdeeds for the sake of their children and future generations. For example, athletes can help lead the charge on preserving the essential Amazon rainforest in South America. The billions of trees and other plants there are crucial to helping combat climate change, for its nearly 20% oxygen contribution, and for medicinal discoveries. The main protectors of the Amazon are indigenous peoples who are currently being besieged by outsiders seeking to mine, extract oil, and remove forests for cattle grazing or monoculture farming. Moreover, these unlawful entries into indigenous regions have contributed to the spread of the covid-19 virus. The continued harm to indigenous peoples and the wild land they know so well from hundreds of years of ancestral experience are a severe threat to our children and the future. After all, one of the main ways climate change can be controlled is by keeping as many trees alive and healthy as possible and even greatly expanding tree-numbers, for plants take in massive amounts of carbon dioxide through their leaves for photosynthesis. Despite the awareness of switching to electric cars and renewable energy growth worldwide, there is still drilling-for-oil within some of the most biodiverse regions in the world, such as in eastern Ecuador rainforests of the northwest Amazon and other vulnerable nature areas globally. Athletes can help lead the way to forever end our dependence on fossil fuels which are severely affecting 70% of the planet, our oceans. Due to our excess burning of carbon, temperatures of not only the air, but of the seas have risen. This has led to coral reefs around the globe being put in real danger. These reefs, which have been for millions of years a key habitat for thousands of species, are dying. Moreover, wide varieties of fish come to coral reefs to lay their eggs. Coral reef demise means fish demise, and this is a major problem, for much of the world’s human population depends on these fish as a key protein source.

        Earth-care has to matter at least as much as sports: We need athletes to give their voices and funds to selected, meaningful grassroots environmental organizations and indigenous communities who work to promote practices that build healthy soils, expand and protect forests and biodiversity, protect wildlife through increasing anti-poaching patrols, and even help purchase natural areas for protection/conservation. Recently, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the NBA and NHL set up a bubble-type format that completely cut out air travel. Planes zig-zagging across the country and world are a huge problem with fossil fuel emissions. In this new season, NBA teams are playing more “mini-series” greatly cutting down on travel. It is being done because of the pandemic but this and other sports leagues and their player unions must develop similar plans post-pandemic as a necessary permanent action to reduce greenhouse gases. Darwincu.jpg Two summers ago, over 3 billion dollars was paid out in contracts to NBA players during the “free agency period,” where players are free to sign with any team. The number continues to go up each year. There is no reason that portions of contracts, with these athletes' consent or by the athletes themselves, who make tens and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars, can’t go to varying environmental specific causes with a proven track record. For example, the NBA's Charlotte Hornets' forward Gordon Hayward got his second career long term deal this offseason, both worth over 100 million dollars. Yes, half or more goes to taxes. However, that doesn’t change anything in terms of that phrase “embarrassment of riches.” It is still a huge amount of money.

Even just one per cent... If every athlete that got a contract like Hayward regularly gave just 1 percent of their yearly salary to preserve rainforests that are crucial in the fight against climate change, that would be a legacy and influence that is beyond calculation. I admire these athletes and have looked up to them throughout my life. Still do. But they now need to become active, giving advocates and spokespersons for caring for Home. Nothing is more urgent than protecting the planet upon which we live. And, much of the science-based grassroots leadership around the world caring for and protecting the environment are peoples of color. This athlete commitment would serve as an expanding powerful bridge between essential racial/cultural diversity and crucial biodiversity, between justice for maltreated citizens and communities and action to stop the continued assaults on nature, and between connecting our community home to the Home that gives us our lifeblood, mother earth. I will continue to scream “lets go!” as Marcus Smart knocks down a clutch 3 point shot for the Celtics in an NBA playoff game or give a pump fist as Brooks Koepka drains a clutch 20 foot birdie putt in the Masters golf tournament. But now, I’m really ready to celebrate and be inspired when my favorite athletes give more of their time, voice and yes money to reverse the human-caused environmental damage that will otherwise severely and negatively impact the future of their and everyone’s children and other innocent life, including in generations to come. Bottom line - It's time for an organized, energized, and ongoing Athletes Committed to Earth-care (ACE)!

The Fan

No, this isn't a review of the amusingly bad 90's film starring Robert de Niro and Wesley Snipes, titled "The Fan." This is focused on the evolution of the everyman sports fan that has undergone a shift in the last decade. Being a Boston sports fanatic has been a natural fit for me since 4 years old. Naturally, there were times as a kid I rooted for other teams just to stay entertained in the playoffs. People under 30 years old forget that the Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox were pretty bad for most of the 90's. If my team was knocked out or didn't make the postseason, (which was often), then it would be fun to follow and root for another team. But my first loyalty always was with my teams... from where I was from, my friends were from, my family was from: Boston. I rooted for my Boston every game no matter how bad they were and I still formed an attachment to players on those teams. Dee Brown, a lesser known guard from the 90's may still be my favorite Celtic. Who? Exactly.

       Fast forward to today and I find myself asking where my true loyalties as a fan are now, espeicallty with the Patriots. New England prodigal son Tom Brady is gone. Other star players have been traded and released over the years. I remember hearing the news on the radio when I was a student at UC Santa Cruz in 2002, that my favorite player at the time, Lawyer Milloy had been released. I was pissed as a fan, as the dashboard in my '86 Honda CRX could testify. I didn't like his replacement Rodney Harrison at first. Harrison was always an excellent safety and belongs in the hall of fame, but he wasn't a true Patriot...yet. He wasn't Lawyer Milloy, who helped bring the first title to New England in 15 years. Harrison was replacing my favorite player. Harrison it turned out was just as good as Milloy and helped bring two more titles to New England. It still doesn't change how I felt at the time. It takes moments, not just wins to build an attachment to a player and team. Back to present day, I hear local Boston sports radio now, criticizing the "pink hat" or "fair weather" Patriots fans who aren't as charged up about the team anymore, that may not even root for them as hard next season because Brady is gone. I can say at this moment I am not as big a Patriots fan as I was at this time last year. It is absolutely not because the team may suffer in the wins column moving forward. Why do I feel this way then? It comes back to the idea of the fan. What teams/who are we rooting for and why? For a large number of sports fans now, the fandom evolution now is about whatever team is boosting your draftkings balance, thru betting or fantasy. This scenario has become increasingly prevalent over the last few years: I sit at a bar on Sunday afternoon, watching my Patriots play and Brady carve up another defense. I take a sip of Coors lite, watch another button hook route to Edelman drilled into his chest in double coverage. First down Patriots! I hear a scream in front of a different TV, just a few seats down. I lean back in my bartstool, trying to see around the flat brim sticker caps and one person seems particularly excited. The Packers have taken a 31-7 second half lead on the Bears. Aaron Rodgers another TD toss. He must be a Green Bay fan, who apparently loves blowouts. Nope. He was wearing a Giants hat. I noticed the stylish hat just as he burst out with "That's 4 TD's for Rodgers... I'm up 35 now!" This was followed by beer spilling and spitting laughter. This isn't meant as some indcitment on young fantasy man who won his fantasy football week evidently. Maybe he even got a nice payday from it. But it is an example of how the true raw emotions of being a fan of changed. Would he have been as excited if the GIants had gotten their second win of the season later that day if it didn't help his fantasy team? Probably not. 

       Again, the question what teams and what players are we rooting for and why? My fandom evolution has changed, but in much different ways then Rodgers fantasy fanboy at the bar. While the region of Boston still means a great deal to me and is at the root of my sports passion and rooting interest, I no longer can just root for laundry. I can't just root for the color of a jersey becasue I am supposed to. I need to feel that passion, that journey with the players in the uniform as a fan. My favorite Patriots Super Bowl win was the Seahawks victory in 2014. It had been ten years since the team led by Brady had won a Super Bowl. Yeah yeah, I get it. Some franchises have had it much worse and haven't won in decades. But that's not the point here. That particular Super Bowl meant more as a fan because I watched every moment that hadn't always turned out favorably over the previous ten years. From spygate scandals to Brady taking a safety on the first possesion in the Superbowl, to Wes Welker's Super Bowl drop, to the infamous helmet Giants catch, to bad draft picks, to missed extra points in big games. All of these things add up to a crescendo of wanting to win even more, to being apart of this journey as a fan. Of course, players come and go every year but you become attached to some over that journey as a fan. The losing, the dissapointments make the winning so much sweeter. It is the same for when I played division 3 hoops or semi pro football. All the losing made any win much sweeter. While some may call me a fair weather for losing my fight and passion in the Patriots now with Brady gone, I see it completely the opposite.

       The true "pink hat," fair weather fans are people that blindly follow the team and root for the jersey color just because they're supposed to. I will still root for the Patriots with Jarrett Stidham as quarterback but he frankly hasn't earned my fandom yet. Just like when Brady suddenly took over the injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001, I wasn't sold on the San Mateo boy yet. Just like I wasn't sold on Harrison over Milloy. I loved when Bledsoe came in for an injured Brady in the AFC Championship game and led the team to victory. I wasn't rooting for Brady to get hurt or for the team to lose when Brady was the quarterback. But I was loyal to Bledsoe. I watched him as a rookie help turn around the franchise along with Bill Parcells in the late 90's Drew was my guy. Brady was just some new kid, who somehow led the team to an improbable Super Bowl win that season. I loved the next two Super Bowls too in 2003 and 2004 with Brady leading the way. But nothing compared to 10 years later. As a fan, I was down in the muck, catching the tears, polishing off the empty beer glasses of brutal playoff losses. Brady's determination and the team's to get back to that pinnacle made my fandom grow even more. The Patriots radio analyst these days is former Bledsoe backup Scott Zolak from the late 90's. Zolak came in 1996 and led the team to one of their two victories that season, in typical Zolak blustering style, doing his own version of the Jordan shrug when throwing the winning touchdown. The team went 2-14. Two wins. Fourteen losses. I watched every play. I certainly was never a fairweather fan and I won't be with Jarrett Stidham, the quarterback taking over for Brady. Maybe, one day I will grow to love Stidham. I'll see him get sacked, stand up, get hit again and then deliver a strike into double coverage on 3rd and 5. I'll watch him lose a playoff game, then come back better the next year. Maybe he will grow on me like Brady did. But I won't just accept him cause he puts on that blue uniform and charges out the Gillette stadium tunnel in week 1. He has to earn it. I think that makes me more of a fan, certainly not fair weather. The players as Bill Belichick reminds us win the games, make the big plays, win the Super Bowls. The attachment as fans that we form with those players is where the loyalty and rooting comes from. Otherwise, we are just blindly following a jersey color, in a way like fantasy guy in the bar.