I'm at the age where if I'm going to intentionally spend time away from napping, I want to be doing something I enjoy. Bonus points if I can make a little extra spending cash, too. During my first attempt (of several) at community college in 1997, I was offered a chance to be the public address announcer (P.A. announcer) for the college basketball team. After watching a couple of Timberwolves games on TV I felt adequately prepared to be behind the Big Mic (microphone). A couple decades and change later, I'm still doing it, and have expanded to volleyball, basketball, and baseball/softball. Here's a day in the life of me as a P.A. announcer for high school/college football.

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8am: wake up.

8:01am: go back to sleep. I'm not in the pros where they have production meetings before every game. Why did I wake up?

1 Hour Before Kickoff: show up in the press box and act like I know what I'm doing. Check equipment and plug in my iPad (I usually handle the music at games, too. Some places are big enough to have a P.A. announcer and a DJ. Those places won't return my emails). I have a clean (no explicit content/cussing) playlist for pregame.

Tools of the P.A. trade (Image by Choad)
Tools of the P.A. trade (Image by Choad)
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At this point I'll retrieve/write scripts for that day's game. This will include the Code of Conduct (short version: don't be a jerk), starting lineups, name pronunciations, etc. If it's parent's night/senior night/homecoming, there's often extra stuff to talk about.

10-15 Minutes Before Kickoff: welcome fans to the game and read the Code of Conduct. Hopefully fans will listen, but there's always that one guy...

~5 Minutes Before Kickoff: ask fans to stand (if they can), remove their hats, and face the American Flag for the National Anthem. If someone is singing or a pep band is performing, I'll introduce them. If it's a recording (my go-to is the studio recording of LeAnn Rimes), I'll just press play.

~3 Minutes Before Kickoff: starting lineups. First the visiting team and head coach, then the home team and head coach. I'll usually play an upbeat hype song like this while introducing the home team. After the home team intro I'll play the school fight song (if I have it).

One of the best seats in the house! (Image by Choad)
One of the best seats in the house! (Image by Choad)
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I keep it simple for in-game announcing. For football I'll say who ran/caught the ball, and who made the tackle if I can see their number. For scoring plays, I'll try to include the yardage of the play. When the home team gets a first down, I'll up the energy and say, "That's enough for another (school nickname) FIRST DOWN!". If the visiting team is on third down and the game isn't a blowout, I'll fire off the bell toll intro of Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and nag the crowd into getting loud.

Once the team is lined up, I shut up and cut the music. I'm a homer, but I also have good sportsmanship. I called play-by-play for a high school football game last year, and the home team's P.A. announcer was screaming into the microphone while the visiting team was lined up trying to run a play. I muted my mic and yelled at the guy, but I'm sure he couldn't hear me over his own ego. That kinda BS has no place in the press booth.

It's downright childish (Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash)
It's downright childish (Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash)
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After the game's over, I'll thank fans for coming, wish the visitors safe travels home, and plug the next home game. If the home team wins, I'll play Kool & The Gang while fans exit. If the good guys lose, there's always Van Halen.

I'd love to go pro (or even Division I) someday; but realistically, that's not going to happen anytime soon. I once auditioned to be the Timberwolves P.A. guy, but didn't make it past the first round. In the meantime, I love providing a Big Game experience for the high school and college teams & fans!

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