Posted on October 25, 2019
Derek Hamburg is a self-professed “people person” and unrivalled lover of sports. He has been progressively sharpening his public speaking skills ever since high school with a dream of becoming a sportscaster. This fall he was recruited by Carroll County’s Francis Scott Key (FSK) High School in Union Bridge, Md., to announce the home games of the school’s boys’ varsity soccer team.
“I’m a huge sports fan,” said Derek. “I follow the Ravens, the Orioles, the Capitals, McDaniel College sports, and state, college, and high school teams. You name it!”
Derek lives in Westminster, Md., with his mom Pam and dog Stewie. Adopted from Russia when he was three-years old, and diagnosed with an intellectual disability, he has been receiving Supported Employment and Personal Supports for the past six years from Change, Inc., a division of Penn-Mar Human Services.
Derek’s love of sports began very early. His father Kurt Hamburg, who passed away when Derek was in sixth grade, had season tickets to the Ravens, and that, said Derek, is when he really started following the team and sports in general.
“Derek has an incredible love of sports and an amazing memory for sports stats and plays,” said Change, Inc. Quality Coordinator (QC) Stacy Latchaw, who has been working closely with Derek for the past year honing his business communication and leadership skills.
It was while Derek was attending Winters Mill High School that he began to parlay his passion for sports into announcing school games. “Not everyone can speak in public,” Derek said. “I first started speaking at school assemblies and have gotten better at it over the years.”
For the past six years, Derek has been active in public speaking through Aktion Club, sponsored by Kiwanis International, and has spoken in front of 1200 people at a Kiwanis Key Club conference. He is a member of Voices of Change and advocates for people with disabilities, regularly speaking at fundraising events, and conferences. Earlier this year he became a member of Toastmasters Carroll County and is presently the club’s Sergeant of Arms.
A Sporting Chance
Last spring, during a regularly scheduled meeting of Change’s Quality Coordinators, Stacy brought up Derek’s interest in exploring one of his dreams of becoming a sportscaster.
Stacy’s colleague and Change QC Libby McGarry suggested Derek contact Troy Warehime, a family friend and former Athletic Director of North Carroll High School, her alma mater. Troy was now Athletic Director and Facility Coordinator at Francis Scott Key.
Derek spruced up his resume and emailed it along with a cover letter to Troy, dropping Libby’s name in for good measure.
“When I received Derek’s email, I immediately thought he would be a great fit,” said Troy. “I saw Derek joining our team as symbiotic, where we can help him get some experience at a low-stress level, and he in turn can provide us with the help we need.”
This past season, Derek has announced every home game of the boys’ varsity soccer team. He starts by reading the Sportsmanship Public Address then announces the full rosters for each team and introduces the national anthem. During the game, he calls the goals and all substitutions and knows all the team players’ names by heart.
Currently, Derek’s employed at Buffalo Wild Wings in Westminster, Md., maintaining the cleanliness of the establishment and assisting with food prep. His goal is to combine his great love of sports and his experience working in the food service industry, ideally scoring a part-time job in a sports-themed restaurant while working as an announcer.
“If I can figure out a way of being a sportscaster and working in a sports restaurant, I would do both!” he said. “I love being around people and talking sports.”