Perk Really at Play |  Lake Minnetonka

Perk Really at Play | Lake Minnetonka

The schoolyard can be a microclimate for all sorts of quarrels, melee and levels of social hierarchy at the most ridiculous levels, but who knew the break could lay the groundwork for a future in TV sports reporting.

“I grew up in [San Fernando] Valley out in Los Angeles, ”says Eric Perkins, formerly of KARE 11-TV. “I certainly got fed up with almost every game on the playground and even invented my share, but one thing I always remember was grabbing the heads of magnolia flowers and pretending they were microphones, and then playing-for- play with other children who played. games – strange, but a sign of things to come. ”

The mental image of little Perkins honing his thriving (pun intended) broadcast skills around the playground while the rest of the class worked during recess is not entirely surprising given what his father lived off. Jack Perkins had a remarkable television career, including serving as a correspondent for NBC Nightly News and The show today and especially hosting A&Es Biography. He died in 2019, leaving a legacy of insight. “He gave countless lumps of wisdom over the years,” Perkins says. “I would send him rolls of my work, and we would review every story and broadcast and just separate them. He would encourage me to be my own toughest critic.”

Perk Really at Play |  Lake Minnetonka

Perkins, 56, left his position last August as KARE 11’s longtime sports broadcaster, offering his take on local and national sports and occasionally throwing himself into the mix with his Perk at Play segments, which could be equally silly, informative, heartwarming and downright fun to watch, especially as Perkins showcased his flair for slapstick. “I loved running in a demolition derby in Redwood Falls,” he says. “My other personal favorites were hitting homeruns with [former MLBer] Jim Thome for spring training, as mayor of Milaca for a day and ice sailing on Lake Minnetonka. ”

Perkins joined KARE in 1996 as a sports reporter. In 2012, he was appointed the station’s sports anchor in the evening and KARE’s sports director. He also served as emcee and public speaker for various events and hosted the Pinky Swear Foundation’s annual Mess Fest.

Between college and KARE, Perkins had short stays at stations in Tupelo, Miss., And Memphis, Tenn., Where, “It gave me the nickname Elvis,” he says. “We also have the same initials.” (Is there a sneaking suspicion that the initials were not the only reason for the nickname?)

But why move to Minnesota when he lived the good weather in the south of the country? “In television, you have to go where the job is,” Perkins says. “This is a competitive business. After the first jobs in the South, the opportunity to cover professional sports in a large market was too good to miss.”

Perkins was certainly rewarded for that decision in many ways, including receiving some regional Emmy awards for Perk at Play and a segment he called Trippin ‘with Perk. He also received the TEGNA Community Empowerment Award for his involvement in Mess Fest.

It can be scary to leave the familiar, so how does Perkins describe his current situation? “Refreshing,” says the highlander. “I was curious if I would be the other to guess my decision on the other side, but honestly, all the time away from television has done is to confirm to myself that this was actually what I was doing. should do.”

“I don’t miss working those hours,” he says. “I certainly do not miss having to wear makeup every day. I also began to resent how much the work of the sports department was downgraded. It became more and more challenging to develop quality stories with marginalized broadcast time and limited resources. ”

“[Leaving the station] was primarily driven by my loss of passion for the job, ”says Perkins. “The hours were definitely a drain, but the daily work no longer lit my fire. I had been doing it for so long and even though it was an amazing career that provided so many memorable opportunities, there was such an overwhelming feeling of ‘been there done that’ that it felt like a giant hamster wheel I should never go to be able to get out of. ”

We have come across so many stories of people revolving around their home life, careers, educations and more during the pandemic. Did it play a role for Perkins? “I was not at all influenced by the decisions of others, but the time at home totally forced me to look inward and reevaluate,” he says. “I posted at home for over a year, and it gave me daily tangible evidence to realize how much I was missing at home as opposed to being in the studio all day.”

Regardless of motivation, change can be an uncomfortable outfit to wear, and Perkins offers his perspective. “Change is completely uncomfortable, but in the end, comfort does not go hand in hand with happiness,” he says. “I just want to encourage people to have regular check-ins with themselves. Take time to evaluate your happiness and what really matters. If you’re stuck in something where you’re miserable just because it’s a fixed paycheck, take the time to figure out an exit strategy. Our time on Earth is too arbitrary to not be happy. When it comes down to it, it’s awful for you to be stagnant in a career where you have no joy, not only for yourself, but probably also for your employer – not to mention the people closest to you. . ”

Speaking of family, the results of making a career change aside, how are his wife and children doing with his newfound availability? “My family, or Team Perk as we like to call ourselves, feel more than OK with me being more nearby, even though it might be temporary until I get a new job,” Perkins says. “These are really important times in their lives, and for me being more present with them is mutually welcome.” Team Perk includes his wife Shelley; daughters Jenna (17) and Maeve (11); and son, George (15).

What is Perkins able to attend today that his schedule did not allow in the past? “Low dinners,” he says.
“I love family meals and consider myself a pretty decent chef, so it’s been great.” His signature dish – “I love trying all sorts of recipes, but the one I’m best known for is my guacamole, which my friends call ‘Perkamole,'” he says.

“It’s also been really nice to be able to attend events or functions, whether it’s a host of kids’ sports, an occasional happy hour, galas, church activities, or even bonfires with friends,” Perkins says. “It’s not like these opportunities have never happened before, it’s just that now I can actually enjoy them without having to run back to write scripts for the show at 10pm.”

Although Perkins does not look too long in the rearview mirror, he is reflected on some parts of leaving the station. “I definitely miss some of the folks,” he says. “There’s some tremendous talent and kindness in that building.”

After launching himself away from a lengthy concert, where will Perkins then land? “I’m excited to start the next chapter in a role where I can use the huge amounts of connections I’ve gained over the years,” he says. “I’ve built up a pretty significant brand in this market, and it would be irresponsible not to use it positively.”

Top three Finishers

What are your top three Minnesota sports stories or events?

“Digg’s miracle reception. Still getting chills when I see that climax.” (During the final game of the January 2018 NFL Conference Division playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who ran after a 61-yard touchdown. the first in NFL playoff history to end in a touchdown when time ran out.)

“Watching Lindsey Vonn win gold in Vancouver. Unforgettable. “(This medal came in the downhill race at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.)

“Andrew Brunette’s goal in Colorado in Game Seven back in 2003. Best locker room after the game’s atmosphere ever.” (The Minnesota Wild overtime goal came against the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2003 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.)

This or To

College or professional sports?

“Pro. My alma mater Pepperdine [University] does not even have a football team. ”

Winter or summer Olympics?

“This is a tough one. However, I would like to put winter at the top of the podium. “

Play-by-play or color commentary?

“Game by game. The best are the ones who do not draw attention to themselves. Truly an art.”

Minnesota winters or summers?

“Summer. No school. Therefore more time with the kids!”

Perk says his opinion

Is there an interview you want to remake?

“No one to regret not asking about something I should have asked, but more just because I loved talking to them so much – and that’s my guy [former NBA player and Minnesota Timberwolf] Kevin Garnett. I have always loved our chats together. On cam and off cam. “

Is there an interview out there that you would like to do?

“I’ve always wanted to interview Prince. Of course I’ll never get that chance, but it could have been epic.”

You’re coming back as a professional athlete – what are you playing?

“I want to eventually join the pickleball circuit. I love that sport at the moment.”

Where is your favorite eatery, shop or recreation area around the Lake Minnetonka area?

“We have so many favorites, but McCormick’s Pub & Restaurant is probably at the top of our list. We just love Tim and Paty [McCormick] there. “Are you curious about his order?” A Diane Burger with truffle fries. The game is over! So good. I also love burrata and blistered shishito peppers. ”

“As far as recreation is concerned, you can often find me in the Orono Activity Center playing breakfast basketball with a bunch of fathers. We call ourselves’ Big Daddy Ballers. ” I also really enjoy visiting Julia Moss Design’s gift shop on Lake Street. Their stuff is always
so cool and unique. ”

Last question: Are you planning to grow your hair out like former WCCO TV news anchor Don Shelby?

“Zero – but not having to shave daily has been a pretty cool perk lately.”

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