However with the group taking part in its dwelling video games this season with out followers due to the pandemic, it’s simply Johnson and his normal broadcast companion, former United participant Devon McTavish, offering the stay soundtrack to D.C.’s matches on WJLA-24/7 Information (previously NewsChannel 8). To Johnson — finest recognized for his signature “It’s in the net!” objective name — commentating a sport with out his 20,000-person backup band has been an adjustment.
“It’s like singing with electric guitars all these years, and all of a sudden you’ve got to sing a cappella,” says Johnson, 56. “Sometimes when you’re calling a home game for the Wizards or D.C. United, you get the feeling of what it must be like to be the lead singer of AC/DC because the crowd is into it, and as you’re calling it you feel the rhythm of the game. Now it’s, ‘Wait a minute — who unplugged the guitars?’ ”
Johnson, the senior sports activities director at WTOP, is also arising on a quarter-century because the station’s play-by-play voice for the Washington Wizards. On his perfect day within the D.C. space, the Annapolis native fast-forwards to a time when spectators can once more flood stadiums and arenas to allow them to accompany him for a soccer-basketball doubleheader within the District.
After I think about a dream day, I take into consideration the place I’m in my life and likewise what has at all times introduced me pleasure, and I take into consideration an image I take a look at typically — it’s me with my mom at a Baltimore Orioles baseball sport after I was a child. She had a number of sclerosis and, sadly, she handed away in 1979. I now have a number of sclerosis, and my journey has sort of turn out to be what her journey was. It definitely makes me very reflective of life, however it additionally makes you understand what has given you pleasure. As a child, I beloved going to any sort of sport as a result of, for these three hours, it wasn’t concerning the well being considerations or no matter else. It was only a cocoon of pleasure.
Provided that, what could be my excellent day? It might be a method to join with folks. And it’s not as a result of I’m essentially lonely — it’s that I really like being in these environments the place I see folks coming collectively.
I get up every single day at 2:30 a.m. for WTOP, so getting up at 6 for a Premier League soccer match could be sleeping in for me. I’d go to Eire’s 4 Courts in Arlington or Throughout the Pond in D.C. and get with the folks. And never that you just order 12 beers, however it’s enjoyable to order one beer at 7 within the morning and be a bit of bit loopy. That may carry me pleasure as a result of, once more, you’re part of a group.
For lunch, there’s a spot close to Annapolis referred to as the Level, and it’s fabulous as a result of the whole lot is outside seating. I’d get the Chesapeake wings with the Outdated Bay on them.
Then an ideal day clearly could be all lined up — and this has occurred earlier than in my profession — the place you could have a D.C. United sport within the afternoon and the Wizards at evening. At Audi Area, I’d be broadcasting the sport or, even higher, hanging out with the followers and having fun with that complete expertise.
For dinner, I’d go to the Grilled Oyster Co. in Potomac with [co-owners] Rick and Valerie Dugan. Not solely does the place have nice meals and nice folks, however after I stroll in they’ve at all times stated my title — that’s like my “Cheers.” Individuals know you, and that’s at all times a very good feeling. And there’s a salmon Caesar salad there that’s simply terrific.
Then I’d go to Capital One Area for the Wizards sport and, once more, join with folks, for a scarcity of a greater approach of claiming it. There’s no larger pleasure than being with the folks, speaking about how [well] the seasons are going, how unhealthy the seasons are going. So if I may dream one thing proper now, it will be hanging out with followers. I don’t do what I do as a result of I wish to hear my voice — it has simply given me an amazing excuse to be in arenas and stadiums with folks, and I’ve beloved that dynamic since I used to be a child.