10 things you didn't know about Mark Ockerbloom

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BOSTON - 1. Where did you grow up??

I grew up in Winchester, Mass. Not far from here, it’s about a 35-minute ride from Dedham. To see the folks it’s about 45 minutes. But, yeah, Winchester, Mass., great town to grow up in. D'agostino's Deli, famous, grew up playing sports there. Great place to grow up, lotta’ fun, lotta’ good friends from there still that I go back and see, and my family, as well.

2. Where is the coolest place you have ever been?

I visited my daughter in Barcelona, Spain last semester, and it was interesting because it’s so old. I mean, that’s Europe, man. I’ve been to Germany, I’ve been to Austria, but that was a long time ago. But last year when I went back to visit my daughter in Spain, I was just awestruck by all of the architecture and the history of the place and how old everything is. We’re a pretty young country when you get right down to it.

3. What is the coolest story you’ve ever covered?

Well, it depends, they’re very different. Going to Vancouver and covering the Bruins, who I grew up idolizing, Bobby Orr was my sports idol, to see the Bruins win the Cup in Vancouver and then try to escape Vancouver because, you remember, they rioted afterwards, how can you forget that? But, and I knew they were gonna win that game, by the way. I knew they were going to game 7, I had absolutely no doubt. Red sox, you’re biting your nails, Patriots you’re not sure, Bruins, had it all the way… But, closer to today, would certainly be this past fall, covering the pope in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia, that was outstanding. To see the pope – and I’m a Catholic, so growing up going to a Catholic church, to a Catholic high school, Catholic college, and see the pope right in front of my very eyes, maybe 15 feet from me, that was pretty cool.

4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Superpower, wow. I guess it would be reading people’s minds. How’s that? ESP!

5. If you could dine with anybody throughout the course of history, alive or dead, who would it be?

Easy one. My brother, who I lost to cancer 10 years ago. If I could have a dinner with my brother, it would be awesome.

6. If you could travel to any time period throughout history, what would it be?

I could go back to, maybe, growing up during that time of the greatest generation, maybe the ‘50s. I grew up a big fan of Happy Days, the music of that era, the ‘50s – the ‘60s I was a part of, very young though, very small – but I think the ‘50s are pretty cool. Big cars, leather jackets, it would be a lot of fun.

7. If you were not a journalist, what would you be?

I was in sales for a brief time. I sold sports that I actually was the broadcaster for at a radio station, then I would go out and sell all day, and that wasn’t a bad career, but I had to make a decision: was I gonna be on the business side of this, or was I gonna be on-air? And I ultimately went with the on-air, and I think that was the right move… So, I’ve always thought a career in sales was a good place to be. But also I think, maybe just someone who could speak for someone, in terms of rallying the troops and so forth, and that would be something like going and working at my alma mater, Providence College, I always thought it would be kind of a cool thing to be a fundraiser for them. It was a school I had a great time at, it’s a school I believe strongly in, what they do to educate students, and if at some point in my career I decided to help them out, I do you know, when time allows, but to do that on a more full-time basis down the road, I think that might be something I might consider.

8. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?       

Spend time with family, absolutely. Going to my kids’ games is another great thing about having three daughters, and two of them play hockey, another one plays hockey, lacrosse, and soccer, another one runs cross country, so, you know, the chance to see them in action – I could do that all the time. It’s fantastic. I also love to garden, get dirty, get in the yard, whether it’s mowing the lawn, whether it’s just hanging out, barbecuing, cookout. Barbecue comes from my brief time in Oklahoma… I was a sportscaster there. Sportscaster for almost 20 years before I moved over to the news side, and the thing I like about that is you have something new every day, every moment of every day, no two days are the same, really no moments are the same, either. It’s been very rewarding to have a career both in sports and news, and at times they mesh here, if you can get that Super Bowl team together once again… Always next year.

9. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on television?          

It happened when I worked in New Hampshire years ago, and we had tapes back then, so I had six sets of highlights, and I had a great show ready to go, and the tape guy put the wrong order in of tapes. So basically, I would say the Red Sox, and the Bruins would pop up, and I’d say, alright, let’s try the Patriots, and the Celtics would pop up, and I’d say, alright, let’s try the Celtics, and the Bruins would pop up, that kind of thing. So finally, I just said to the guy, hold on. You play the tape, I’ll follow you. We got to the end of it, my two co-anchors are dying laughing, almost falling off the set, bent over, and I went to a golf tournament the next day as it turned out… and I had so many people come up and say, ‘That was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.’ It was an absolute flop, but I had a great time. You can survive that. In sports, you can get away with that.

10. What is your favorite thing about Boston?                                                                              

Favorite thing about Boston I guess is, it’s a town where you get to know people, and then get to know people through those people. In other words, I can go to a Red Sox game, see somebody I know, and if I don’t know them, I probably know somebody who does, by simply factoring it out. It’s kind of like that Kevin Bacon thing, you know, six degrees of separation. We all seem to be related somehow, or at least, know friend groups that are related. So, if I say, ‘Hey, do you know Jimmy Sullivan?’ You might say ‘No, I don’t know Jimmy.’ ‘Well, Jimmy’s from Charlestown.’ ‘Oh really, what street?’ So, boom, boom, boom. And next thing you know, you know somebody in common. 

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