Jay Onrait doesn’t know it, but he holds a special place in my heart. It was February 2010 and the Olympics were taking place in Vancouver. On the other side of the country, my 6 month old son had decided that 5 am was an appropriate time to wake up and I, being the night owl that I am, wasn’t too happy about it. So after getting him settled, I would make coffee and find my spot on the couch, blurry eyed and not impressed.
But at 5 am, the only thing on television for people who don’t have cable was Olympic coverage from a city where it was hours earlier. So basically it was a bunch of highlights of stuff I had already watched and some second-rate newscaster trying to fill the time. And that second-rate newscaster was Jay Onrait. For two weeks, he kept me entertained and had me laughing and took my mind off the fact that the sun wasn’t going to rise for another few hours. In other words, he kept me sane.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if Jay was actually funny or if I found him funny because I was just so tired. But now that I have read Jay's book Anchorboy: True Tales from the World of Sportscasting, I can say for certain that it wasn’t the sleep deprivation. He is actually a very funny guy (I’m sure loyal viewers of SportsCentre will be asking where I’ve been the past few years, but again, no cable.)
Anchorboy is a hilarious look at Jay’s life thus far, from growing up in small-town Alberta to making his way into the television industry, and then onto TSN where he started as an intern and worked his way up to co-hosting SportsCentre. Along the way he was beaten up by an MMA fighter on tv, was sexually harassed by a senior citizen every day for ten years, and ran around London in a full-body unitard, among many other crazy and hilarious escapades.
This is an easy to read book that will have you laughing out loud and sharing all the really hilarious bits with the people around you. Jay writes all of his stories with honesty even when they don’t paint him in the best light. But I think he makes up for those when he shares the work he put into building his career and the respect and appreciation he has for the people who have helped him get to where he is. You don’t have to be a regular viewer of SportsCentre or even a sports fan to enjoy this book.
This was one of my favourite books of 2013 because of the laughs from start to finish. It’s Canadian humour at its best. Which is why I’m willing to overlook the fact that he’s left us for the United States. I’m just sad I won’t be able to spend any more Olympics with Jay.