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Finding my voice

How a shy, quiet child became a superloud fan.

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I was almost abnormally shy as a child, speaking only when I had to when anyone other than my parents, siblings, or closest friends were around. Oral reports at school were dreaded ordeals, which I rose to haltingly and all but inaudibly. In due course, I graduated from high school with top honors as "quietest" in my Monroe (N.Y.) High class of 310 students, receiving a cardboard megaphone from my peers to encourage a greater vocal presence.

It was not until I settled in Indiana that my potential in this regard flowered – as a complete surprise to me. I arrived in 1975, the season Indiana University's basketball team under coach Bob Knight went undefeated and ultimately captured the (1976) NCAA championship. I wasn't into sports then, refusing unbelievably gracious offers of tickets and ignoring the hype during IU's postseason run. The celebrations following that final triumph hardly registered. Yet something must have quietly clicked.

Still largely oblivious to sports, I became more confident with my own voice as a graduate journalism student, a reporter for the local paper and writer for the university's faculty research magazine. Face-to-face interviews became second nature, even enjoyable.

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