Sept. 18, 2013 — GRAYSON — Tim Carper nearly veered off course.
Kickoff of East Carter’s football opener at Raceland was just hours away, and Go-Radio’s play-by-play announcer had to call an audible on his typical route.
“I drove down Main Street and started to turn down Landsdowne Avenue to get Tom,” Carper said. “I really did.”
Tom is Tom Gemeinhart, an 81-year-old train aficionado, former minister and former history professor at then Kentucky Christian College. To Carper and many others, Gemeinhart is also a spot-on statistician, a press-box perfectionist.
After 43 years covering Carter County sports alongside Carper and Francis Nash, Gemeinhart retired the headset. He was on the air before the inception of East Carter and West Carter in 1971-72. Prior to that, it was Prichard and Olive Hill.
Gemeinhart’s retirement was officially announced on Aug. 19.
“My hearing has gotten so bad, especially when I’m around a lot of noise,” said Gemeinhart, who hoped to make it to 45 years. “I listen to either KJ (Nash’s radio alias) or Tim, and I couldn’t always pick them out among the noise.”
Gemeinhart took stats seriously, but he also made a game out of it. The possible outcomes determining success resembled that of the peg board game one might play at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
“If I can even out the shots with rebounds, I know I’m doing good,” Gemeinhart said. “If I miss it by one, it’s a fine game. If I miss it by two, it’s a good game. If I miss it by three, it’s an OK game. If I miss it by four, I should’ve stayed home. I was having trouble (missing it by fewer than four).”
With a slew of stat sheets and a plethora of pencils scattered in an order that made sense only to him, Gemeinhart was “almost superhuman,” according to longtime radio partner Nash, when it came to keeping statistics.