Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Miracles Foreword
By Dave Bontempo - One of the most versatile announcers in the television industry, Dave Bontempo has called some of the biggest fights in boxing history, either as a blow-by-blow commentator or color analyst. Since 1984, the New Jersey native has broadcast in prime time on every major network including HBO, Fox, Showtime, ESPN, and Comcast, as well as several regional networks.
I am delighted to write the foreword for Kerry Daigle’s hot-off-the-press production, Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Miracles. It’s partly because, as a regular boxing commentator for HBO, Pay-Per- View, ESPN, and varied regional networks, I’ve enjoyed his company. And it’s partly because I like Kerry’s win-win approach, his role of kingmaker, and his quest to unearth the best in human nature. But that’s not all.
It’s also because this book mirrors qualities anyone would respect: modest roots, tenacity, and dreaming big but retaining perspective. I believe that holding on to one’s friendly qualities, as Kerry has, is important. Congeniality in a dog-eat-dog world is a badge of class.
Having his own high-profile company, I suspect Kerry derives satisfaction from achieving affluence despite growing up with no running water, no air-conditioning, and second-hand clothes. Casino presidents have told me similar anecdotes about walking around with holes in their shoes and standing in line for food as youngsters. Their humility shines through their ascent to multimillionaire status. Having faced sink-or-swim mandates at early ages, they swam.
Kerry reminds me of their perspective and indomitable spirit. I believe that Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw Daigle, among his other mentors, taught him to find an alternative to “no.” Kerry speaks of surrounding yourself with winners, working for something you’ll own, and compiling nuggets of information from successful people.
Is that in itself new? No. What is novel is that these truths, though contained in a book, did not come from one. They originated from real people whose impacts multiplied through their stature in his life. Those people supplied pieces of a puzzle, unaware of how he would put them together.
Kerry demonstrates that how a person connects strands of information and inspiration will often determine how far he rises. His mantra of being a student and having a mentor propelled him to business ventures he might otherwise have considered unreachable.
Once success is achieved, the process can be honored by passing the lessons along, and Kerry has done that too. He’ll provide someone with half of the treasure map if that person will work to achieve the other half. In all cases, Kerry presents opportunity.
When I view his achievements, his success is not measured by how many books he’s published, how well his Juice Plus+® products have performed, or the fact that for the past decade he hasn’t been forced to work. Kerry’s success, to me, stems from who he is.
My first regular contact with him came in the natural relationship between fight managers and media people. We expect managers and promoters to speak kindly, put their best foot forward, and bring out every positive element of their fighter, whether the topic is a special new regimen, a change to the team, or a distraction that may have affected a recent fight. Much of this discussion is designed to portray the fighter in the most marketable terms possible. Commentators who translate a positive item gleaned from pre-fight production meetings into the telecast lift fighters immeasurably.
It was not surprising; therefore, that Kerry was unfailingly kind, smiling, upbeat, and well-versed on the big picture connecting networks and fighters when we first worked together. He was, as I saw it then, doing his job. As time went on, however, a subtle reality emerged: Kerry was always this way.
Darned if I could find a more unflappable, optimistic personality, with natural deal-making instincts. Kerry describes himself as a kingmaker, someone willing to help other people realize dreams. First, he helps people see them.
When Kingfish Boxing unfurled a series a decade ago, Kerry approached me one evening in Lafayette, Louisiana. He told me I should be writing about my commentating journey—from ESPN to Pay-Per-View and HBO, from countless road trips, from five-dollar to five-star hotels. This now 28-year run includes calling fights on the Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Miracles world’s highest stage, he said. The ledger includes Tyson-Lewis, Bowe-Holyfield, and most fights involving Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, and Roy Jones Jr. Throw in the documentaries, the Gatti-Ward trilogy, distinctions like the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Sam Taub Award, and your induction into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, he said.
Kerry noted I’d partnered with every conceivable high-level broadcaster, from Al Bernstein and Bob Papa to Gus Johnson and Teddy Atlas. “You’ve got that light surrounding you which gives off so much good energy,” he told me.
People see it and they want it.” Kerry suggested developing a public speaking program wrapped around the book I should write. It was a startling piece of insight from someone not in the media business. And he convinced me…but circumstances intervened.
Long story short, I launched six chapters, and then the boxing series, which would have been the book’s distribution arm, abruptly stopped. One month later, my Mother suffered a heart attack, and I spent the next two years helping her meet a dignified passing. The book fell to the side, while my broadcast and writing gigs remained strong, and Mother’s passing inspired a community-minded route: for seven years, I’ve contacted elderly people every Monday in their homes for United Way’s Contact Cape-Atlantic, a ritual that’s Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Miracles produced deep-seated bonds of friendship. Now I write two stories a month for their newsletter too.
These things help me live with my “unfinished literary symphony.” But I never forgot that Kerry was right to suggest I do a book. His wisdom resurfaces whenever other commentators publish the type of product I’d like to have finished, about living the dream. My buddy Al Bernstein just finished his and equated the experience with giving birth. (Maybe it was a Caesarian.)
I would have called my book You Don’t Need a Rich Uncle, referring to succeeding in life without contacts. Though autobiographical, the message was bound to make people feel even better about themselves. There’s a way to enlist the help of secretaries, production assistants, and top executives to prevent important doors from slamming in your face. I know it, I’ve done it, and I still do. (I can extend this message to any organization in a public-speaking format; simply contact me at daveybontheair@comcast.)
In the meantime, enjoy Kerry’s book. He has an excellent grip on human nature, an empathy one can’t manufacture, and a solid list of intangibles. Gravitate toward his type of energy and think win-win.
Then you can experience some fairy tales too. Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Miracles