It started entirely by accident.
Max Wolpoff walked out of his journalism exam and checked his phone. Normally, there are anywhere from 10 to 20 notifications after four hours of being on silent. That day, he estimates about 100 different alerts, most of them about him.
Two days earlier, he provided play-by-play for Boston University’s 6-5 overtime win against Minnesota in Women’s hockey. He put his call of the overtime winner online that night and thought nothing of it.
“Suddenly, I’m famous,” Wolpoff said. “This was not supposed to happen at 20.”
If not for sports, Wolpoff would be an actor. He once dreamed of the bright lights of Broadway and the flashbulbs of Hollywood as he slept at home in Maryland. His first searches for universities were based on conservatory versus open theater schools. That was were Boston University ended up on his radar.
“I needed more than just the smiling pictures online to convince me,” Wolpoff said. This philosophy guided his decision to apply for the Boston University Summer Theater Institute — a live-in summer program for prospective theater students.
Right away, Wolpoff knew something was not right. He was the lone visible sports fan of the group. His roommate understood none of his idioms or references when he spoke. “The transition sucked,” he said.
Then 16-year-old Wolpoff toughed it out for the five-week program, often not buying into the program’s teachings. “As much as I enjoyed the theatrical aspect, that was all it was to me: theater. I never thought like an actor when I was off-stage,” he said.
He continued to act in high school when he returned home, but “nothing felt right anymore,” as he put it. “I did everything I used to do leading up to a show, but I did not get the same excitement I used to get.”
Four years ago, he did not envision broadcasting a hockey game at Madison Square Garden in his freshman year. Three years ago, right before graduation, there was no indication he would go viral while calling a Women’s hockey game in his sophomore year. “I was just worried about doing something in sports,” he said.
Wolpoff settled on broadcasting because it joined his stage presence from eight years of theater with his passion for sports. “I had no experience when I came to BU. All I had was a dream.”