TROY — Jason McCabe has a way with words.
Mainly because of the positive effect he has on those who hear him.
When the Miami County Magic basketball team played at halftime of Troy Christian’s girls and boys varsity basketball games on Monday and Tuesday, McCabe served as the PA announcer — and the action on the court, combined with McCabe’s enthusiasm on the mic, drew a continuous standing ovation from the crowd.
McCabe, a production worker at RT Industries and resident of Piqua, is served by Riverside Developmental Disabilities, and the Miami County Magic plays its games through Riverside’s Special Olympics program.
“It feels kind of great to be out here doing this. It’s been my dream,” McCabe said. “I’m pretty good at it.”
In addition to announcing for the Magic games, McCabe has also been a DJ for various events.
“The first time I DJed, I went to the Troy Fish and Game on my 40th birthday,” McCabe said. “And when I went to Riverside, they gave me a nickname — DJ Jazzy Jason McCabe. I DJ dances like the spring formal, play everything from the past to new stuff, but country music is my favorite. I’m a big country music buff.”
But sports just came naturally to him.
“I’d always watched a lot of sports like basketball, watching the broadcasters talk during the games,” McCabe said. “And I knew that was what I wanted to do.
“Besides,” he added with a smile, “I used to be an athlete myself. But I’m not getting any younger, and I wanted to stay close to sports.”
“He is a natural on the microphone,” Riverside Community Relations Director Melissa Nichols said. “And as Riverside staff work to find integrated opportunities for the people we serve, we are exploring new and exciting options for Jason to use his gift with the community.
“This opportunity is a perfect example of our Community First Initiative at Riverside. We have a team of dedicated staff members who work to identify and create community-based opportunities for the people we serve. When businesses, organizations and schools — like Troy Christian — partner with us for events like this, it helps us work toward achieving our vision of building a community that supports and values people of all abilities.”
Recently, though, McCabe not only got a new kind of opportunity to put his talents to work, but he also got a chance to give something back to Riverside, too.
During the most recent election cycle, Riverside had a renewal levy on the ballot, a five-year, 2.5-mill one that generates more than two-thirds — 39.08 percent — of its operating budget. And with Riverside serving more than 900 residents in Miami County, that renewal was important to a lot of local families.
Riverside needed a spokesperson, so McCabe was tasked with recording radio commercials that aired on Troy Community Radio.
“This was something that no staff member was able to convey with such sincerity. With his voice, he’s able to speak for a lot of the people we serve who don’t have his gifts,” Nichols said. “He just has that natural ability, and coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of those services, it struck a chord with voters.”
The renewal levy passed with extreme amounts of support, with 22,263 voters — or nearly 70 percent — voting in favor of it, according to Riverside’s most recent issue of ABLE Magazine.
Meanwhile, the Magic still has 22 dates remaining in this basketball season, beginning with a game at Clark County on Jan. 5. Twelve of those dates are home games at Riverside Gym, with the finale on March 8 with Spirit Night. They will also play at two more Miami County high schools — at Miami East on Feb. 12 and Tippecanoe on Feb. 13.
Which gives McCabe plenty more chances to enjoy the roar of the crowd as he calls the action.
“It’s been my dream. It makes me feel good to know they’re behind me all the way,” McCabe said. “I’m representing Riverside, and my friends and family are behind me, and I have a lot of support. This way, I know Miami County is behind me all the way.”
With his way with words, it’s easy to see why.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.