How many of you have been watching or listening to your favorite team and think, I could do play by play better than this guy? Honestly, every sports fan has dreamed of being the voice of their favorite sports team and having to chance to make the call on the big play that gives the team the win. I would be lying if I said that I had not thought the same thing. After all, I am very sports savvy, playing sports all my life, as well as coaching and working as an official. I can talk about sports in my sleep, how hard could it be to do it on radio, live? Remember the first time someone punched you in the stomach as a kid, that was the exact feeling I had Friday night when I went behind the headset to cover my first high school football game.
Leading up to the game I was convinced if my good friend Mr. Tim Carper was to turn the call over to me and let me take the play by play, it would be so seamless that the listeners would not even be able to tell. Note to self, keep dreaming! It took me about 2 plays in the first quarter to figure out I was no where ready to call this game. So I did what anyone should do in this very situation, took a nice big bite of humble pie and tried to learn from my mistakes. Trust me there was alot to learn!
Grabbing a pencil and paper, I realized I had no chance of speaking on the air until I figured out who I was talking about. Sure anyone could simply say, #28 hands off to #8 for a gain of 2 yds, tackled by #9 at the 27 brings up 2nd & 8, but can you really make any sense of that. It would take me about 2 plays before I would just turn the radio off. When you are the voice behind the radio, the listener wants to see what you are calling. Details allows this visual to be painted in their mind as your voice flows over the airways. If a relative of #8 is listening, they want to hear that kids name, not just a number. Lesson learned: Familiarize yourself with the rosters of the teams you are going to be covering. Also it is very handy to find out who will be the primary ball carrier or receiver and who is the big players on defense. Another lesson learned: do your research before you get to the game. The pace of the game moves very quickly and leaves very little time to learn 22 names on the fly.
It was extremely helpful to get to call a game in the booth with someone that has been doing this for quite some time. This allowed me to see what really happens as what is compared to what I thought was happening. While I never tried my hand during the game at play by play, I did settle in late in the first quarter as the color commentator and by half time was feeling much more relaxed behind the microphone. Hopefully I didn't completely crash and burn on my first broadcast.
Heading into my next broadcast I now know that I have much homework to do. The game is not until Friday but I have already began looking at both teams rosters, schedules, and past games trying to learn something valuable about both clubs. I am looking forward to doing play by play in the future and can not express how valuable sitting in the booth with the crew on Friday night and seeing the action live.
I'm sure there is a ton more for me to learn to be a successful broadcaster, but as long as I can remember how to squeeze down a nice piece of humble pie when it's served up, I think I will be just fine. My sincere thanks to Tim and Tom for allowing a young broadcaster in training to tag along and pick their brains for as much information that I could get. It was a privilege being part of the team.