Friday, November 1, 2013
Football from the announcer's booth
I worked as a teacher in a small high school, so we typically wore "lots of hats." We seemed to always be on duty for some extra-curricular activity. Early one fall, our Athletic Director announced that all staff would be put on a list and chosen randomly to fill all activity-based positions, like working the clock, being on the chain gang, announcing, crowd control, line judges, time-keepers, etc. Our home-ec teacher and (female) biology teacher got the memo that they would be announcing a football game. They were not happy...as they didn't know the game, didn't care to, and sure didn't want to be on a mic!! That made me cranky that these positions were being appointed in this manner. So, over a heated lunch conversation, I told those gals that I would switch with them, take their announcing assignments, if they'd take my crowd control. Deal. I followed up with, "I'll be so bad, that they'll figure it out, and get some guy on the mic that knows what to say! This won't last long."
Next thing I knew, I was all bundled up in the crow's nest (literally about that big), holding a mic. LeRoy S. was on my right, to help me spot and announce, and Chuck G. was on my left, running the clock and scoreboard. I found it pretty difficult to follow the ball and know who was running it. But the guys would feed me the info, and (being an English teacher) I announced who had carried the ball and how far, all in complete sentences! When there was a flag on the field, I had no idea what the ref was signaling, so I was fed that info too. I sure "sounded" like I knew what was happening!
During one of those first games I announced, LeRoy said, "That's 2nd down and holding." I started to repeat that into the mic. But I hesitated, . . . turned to LeRoy and asked, "Holding what?" LeRoy started laughing so hard, he nearly fell off his wooden stool. Eventually, I let go of the need to put every bit of info into complete sentences, learned the lingo, could follow the ball, and started to really enjoy the job. I made some mistakes, like saying the ball was on the 51 yd. line, and of course that became a big joke for years. Hanging out in the crow's nest was a blast. I have to say, in bad weather, I had one of the best seats at the game.
So, I held the announcer's position for 20+ years. In addition, LeRoy and Chuck asked me to announce the track meets too, which I did for about as many years. Totally unexpected, I was asked to announce a few regional track meets as well, which was a good experience.
Who would have guessed! I love listening to the announcers of the professional football games...and I'll be following the Broncos...all the way to the Super Bowl???