THE WASHINGTON POST – Lots of kids like to talk about sports, but Joseph D’Avirro gets to talk about sports like a professional commentator.
The nine-year-old from Newington, Connecticut, is the co-host of a podcast called Sliders & Curveballs. Joseph has been broadcasting the show – which is about baseball, basketball and other sports – with his dad, Mike D’Avirro, since September 2019.
They started the podcast after two of Mike’s former college roommates died.
Those sad events made Mike realise he wanted to spend more time with his son.
After a tour of an ESPN studio, the idea came to him.
Joseph is a natural at sports talk, partly because he’s a big fan. Ask him who his favourite teams are, and a flood of answers comes back: “the University of Connecticut basketball teams, Dallas Cowboys, Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics.”
The fourth-grader’s list of favourite athletes is even longer.
The D’Avirros have done about 50 podcasts.
Among Joseph’s favourites are when the father-and-son team interviewed Jim Calhoun, the hall-of-fame basketball coach who led the Connecticut Huskies to three National Collegiate Athletic Association titles.
Another favourite was when they hosted a show surrounded by the championship banners at the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics.
The D’Avirros have also interviewed sports notables such as Mirin Fader, author of a biography of Giannis Antetokounmpo (one of Joseph’s favourite players), New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner and college basketball announcer John Fanta.
The father and son prepare for the 30- to 40-minute podcasts by deciding on the questions they want to ask the guest.
Joseph asks half of the questions, and Mike handles the other half.
Joseph reads his questions again and again to “get them in my brain well.” It is a lot of work, but Joseph said it is “way more fun than homework.”
Joseph has learned to speak up and speak clearly (a good habit for any kid). He said he also has to listen and “to go with the flow” of the conversation. For example, he said, if the guest “is talking about sports in the 1990s, you have to think about sports in the 1990s.”
They make about one podcast each month. When I asked Joseph how long he and his dad will continue doing the podcast, he told me, with a laugh, “until my dad starts growing gray hairs”.
Of course, Joseph has other ambitions when he grows up. He would like to be a “sports player [Joseph plays basketball and baseball], a sports broadcaster or own an NBA team”.
Those are big dreams, but Joseph is already living a dream: talking sports and spending time with his dad.