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NSSA: Take a walk through sports history, literature

It was Wednesday afternoon, and Dave Goren was hard at work ahead of this weekend’s National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association awards banquet weekend. The task at hand: the banquet’s seating chart.

He has to put the right people together or somehow figure out how to fit 11 people at a 10-person table.

“Actually, it may be the most arduous task,” Goren joked.

The festivities surrounding leading up to Monday’s awards banquet and Hall of Fame inductions have a new twist. The NSSA and the Waterworks Visual Arts Center teamed up to hold the association’s fourth-annual book signing amidst historical sports photographs at the arts center in the “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” exhibit.

The NSSA will also have a few of its historical items on display in the exhibit as well.

It is the only event this weekend free of charge to the general public.

Goren said the exhibition/book signing came together when Anne Scott Clement, the executive director of Waterworks, floated the idea to him about showcasing both events.

“I said most definitely (the organization is interested) because we look to collaborate when it makes sense, and this one does,” he said.

Among the authors expected to attend areESPN contributor and former Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan, Cincinnati Reds beat writer Hal McCoy, Bethany Bradsher (who wrote “The Classic,” a book about the history of The Dixie Classic basketball tournament), and former Salisbury Post sports reporter Tim Peeler (who wrote “The Legends of N.C. State”).

On the schedule…

Saturday, 7:30-9:30 p.m.: Legacy Night, Hendrick Motorsports in Concord

There is a welcome dinner followed by a panel discussion honoring the late Roone Arledge and the late Stuart Scott.

“Roone Arledge and Stuart Scott each left a huge mark on our industry and the people around them,” Goren said in a release. “We owe it to them to keep their memories alive.”

Scott grew up in Winston-Salem and got his career started in Durham before moving to ESPN. He got his start on ESPN’s flagship show “SportsCenter” in the mid-1990s. From there, he delivered highlights in a distinct style, giving a new voice to the show. He also played a role in the network’s NFL and NBA coverage.

Scott passed away in January after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Arledge was the president of ABC Sports and ABC News. He created the “Wide World of Sports”  television show and left a lasting imprint on the technique to broadcasting the Olympic Games.

Arledge passed away in 2002 because of complications with cancer.

Sunday, 1:30-5 p.m.: Book Festival, Art Exhibit

Meet sportswriters from North Carolina and across the nation at the Waterworks Visual Arts Center. The center and the NSSA partnered for this event. It is free and open to the public.

Sunday, 5:45-10 p.m.: Barbeque dinner

Taking place at the Salisbury Station Train Depot. The Tennis Industry Association will hold its tennis media awards presentation. Meals will be prepared by barbeque master Alfred Anderson.

Monday, 6:30-10:30 p.m.: 56th annual NSSA Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction

The biggest event of the entire week. Sportscasters and sportswriters from around the country will be honored for their contribution to the profession.

Those going into the NSSA Hall of Fame are sports media legends Bill Raftery, Dick Schaap, Hal McCoy and Lesley Visser.

Mike “Doc” Emrick, an excellent play-by-play broadcaster for NBC in its hockey coverage, was named the National Sportscaster of the Year for the second year in a row. He is unable to attend Monday’s banquet for the second year in a row because of a scheduling conflict with the Stanley Cup Finals.

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci is winning the award for National Sportswriter of the Year for the first time.

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