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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Charles Brady will cover 300th Cubs football game on Friday for The Times

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Charles Brady on the sidelines. [Melissa Leech photo]
Anyone who's attended a Monett Cubs football game over the past three decades has most likely seen Monett Times sports editor Charles Brady prowling the sidelines, wearing a purple Cubs baseball cap, carrying a notebook and pen and writing down each play of exciting gridiron action.

Brady's play-by-play retelling of Friday night football games is legendary among Monett Times readers, and this Friday night, Brady will cover his 300th consecutive Cubs football game.

Brady is proud of the fact that he has never missed a football game, home or away, since he began covering the Cubs during the 1980 season. There's no cozy press box for Brady. Every one of the games has been covered from the sidelines.

"The milestone also involves a little luck in that I have been able to maintain my health," said Brady. "There have been some game nights when I have had a cold but nothing serious enough for me to miss a game."

The achievement Brady will mark Friday night is even more significant considering that his father, Dick Brady, covered 259 consecutive Monett football games for 26 years before Charles took over sports reporting duties at The Monett Times.

"I dare say there is no other father-son combination that has covered as many consecutive games for over a half century as my dad and I have," said Brady.

The system Brady uses to keep up with plays and record the statistics of each game was learned from his father.

"I walked the sidelines with dad during the 1979 season, learned his approach to covering a football game and then took over for him with the first game of the 1980 season," said Brady.

The Brady system of football reporting relies on accuracy and the ability to keep track of every minute of football action. Brady's precise note-taking skills give him the tools he needs to recount the game for newspaper readers in a way that makes them feel as if they were on the sidelines with him, and during at least one game, his notes provided officials with an instant replay of sorts.

"There was one game when the officials lost track of downs. They didn't know if it was the third or fourth down, and finally the Monett coach told the referee to check with me, saying 'Brady has written down every play; ask him." The ref did, and I was able to set them straight," Brady said.

In all the years of walking the sidelines, Charles has only been hit once. The incident occurred during a game against Seneca and involved a husky fullback named Cheyenne Cummings.

"On one play Cummins was knocked out of bounds," said Brady. "I could see it coming and tried to back away, but the rest of the Monett team was behind me and limited my mobility. Cummings hit me straight on, and I was proud of the fact that Cummings, wearing a helmet and pads, went to the ground and I stayed on my feet."

Asking Brady to remember high points from past seasons is like replaying a Cubs football highlight reel. Brady's greatest memories include the eight different times Monett has made the play-offs over the past 29 years and last year when Monett won 11 straight games for the first time in 37 years.

"As for the games I remember the best, there was the homecoming game against East Newton in 1996," said Brady. "Monett trailed at the half, 14-7, and then came a horrific thunderstorm with lightning crackling all around. The second half was delayed for 45 minutes. When the second half started, it was like a different Monett team. The Cubs scored 27 unanswered points to win 34-14."

Brady's dedication to Monett football has allowed him to record the football feats of several generations of Cubs players.

"I take pride in the fact that I have been able to chronicle Monett young people's accomplishments on the football field over a long period of time," said Brady. "In recent years, I have covered games that have had sons playing for the Cubs whose fathers I covered 25 years ago or so.

"It is gratifying to see the young men who played football for the Cubs graduate from high school and then return to Monett as a vital part of the community, either as businessmen or teachers or lawyers or whatever profession," Brady added.

Covering football games from the sidelines or shooting basketball pictures from courtside are all aspects of Brady's job as Monett Times sports editor that he enjoys.

"The best part of my job is being at the games, where the action is, whether it be football or any sport," said Brady. "I enjoy seeing the kids play, watching their reactions during the games and seeing them learn how to win and how to lose."

Brady's love of sports was a gift given to him by his dad, and it has guided him during his lengthy career that now includes the 300th football game milestone.

"My dad instilled in me a love of sports when I was very young," said Brady. "When I was 11, I had rheumatic fever, and after that, I could not participate in sports.

"Being a sports reporter is the next best thing."

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