Monday, November 27, 2006

"Your attention, please. . .", by DaSkeeza

I am a sports announcer.

No, you don't know me. I'm not on Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC or ESPN. I'm not on ESPN Radio, or the Jim Rome show, or anything like that. In fact, you've probably never heard my name or noticed me, and if that's the case, I've been doing my job well.

This is my 13th year announcing sports. True, some of it was in college radio, but the majority of it has been as a public address announcer.

So what's that, you ask?

The public address announcer is the voice of your local stadium, arena, rink, or whatever venue you watch sports at. He (or, in the case of the San Francisco Giants, she) welcomes the fans, introduces the starting lineups, reports on essential game information, and reads sponsor messages over the facility's sound system. And, if you happened to leave your lights on in the parking lot, I'll gladly tell you and all your fellow fans of that fact.

If you think about, the perks are great. I get in to games for free. I have access to all the areas the media does (meaning free food and drinks, sometimes). I sit courtside at the scorer's table for basketball, or in the press box for football, soccer, and baseball. Most of the time, I get paid for my services.

But before you think it's all gold, there are some hang-ups. Proving one's worth to those who hold the keys to the high profile gigs is a process similar to that of an aspiring actor. There are games that last forever in front of only a handful of fans, most of which are played while other games you are more interested in are going on. There's the whim of the public relations and marketing staffs, who, for one reason or another, may favor loyalty over talent. And, to cap it off, chances are that when starting out, an announcer will likely have to volunteer his services before being deemed worthy of a paying gig.

And what about that part about doing well if I'm not noticed? Think about all the great games you have seen on television or in person. Do you remember anything the public address announcer said? To be quite honest, if you did, then it probably wasn't that great a game. If I do my job poorly, people will notice and have a hard time focusing on the game itself. If I do too well and people notice, that probably means the fans were focusing on me and not the game.

Yet, it is my belief that even though you may be faceless as a public address announcer, what is said over the sound system has a direct bearing on the way fans experience the game. Over the next couple of months, I hope to let you in on how that process manifests itself through my eyes. I want to share with you all the experiences and revelations that I gather through my announcing work, and perhaps provide you with a perspective that will enhance your approach to the world of sports.

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At 12:58 AM , Blogger AnimalLoveSongs said...



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