In the sports world, there are rivalries. Red Sox-Yankees, Bruins-Canadians, Cowboys-Redskins, etc. In amateur sports, some of these rivalries can really get nasty between the schools as the battles go back over 100 years. For announcers who work high school, college or minor pro sports, you can run into these rivalries several times a season.
In the sports world, there are rivalries. Red Sox-Yankees, Bruins-Canadians, Cowboys-Redskins, etc. In amateur sports, some of these rivalries can really get nasty between the schools as the battles go back over 100 years. For announcers who work high school, college or minor pro sports, you can run into these rivalries several times a season. But what is it like to work both side of a rivalry?
The first time I ever did this came in December of 1998 when W. T. Woodson girls basketball opened the season at Robinson Secondary School. The two schools always battled hard, but to us Robinson was the team to beat in anything and everything. The boys were not playing that night because Robinson football was in the state playoffs and they tried not to merge the two seasons to allow players to play both. I showed up at Robinson with the team and volunteered to announce the freshman and JV games, which also turned into announcing the varsity game too. This led to me announcing at Robinson for part of that season along with W. T. Woodson. I was on both sides of the rivalry and it wouldn’t be the last time.
In 1998, I moved to Florida and was working for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I was able to secure a P. A. announcer position with the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. It was part time and after a month into the season, I wound up moving to the St. Petersburg Devil Rays to announce, do the music and run the message board. This also meant that I’d be announcing some games in Tampa as well, including all four games of a home-and-home-and-home-and-home series. It was really strange to announce all four games of the series, two in Tampa, two in St. Petersburg.
My next meeting with rivalries came in 2002 when I was in California, working for the Modesto A’s. The closest rival is the Stockton Ports. We were both good teams that year and battled hard on the field. Fans from both would invade each other’s stadiums and it was somewhat of a friendly rivalry that we got going between the two cities. At one point during the season, Stockton called to ask if I could come up and be the official scorer for a game on a night we were on the road. I saw my second cycle of the season hit that night and even ran the scoreboard.
In 2004, I completed a two-sided rivalry by working for the then Potomac Cannons. I’d been a batboy for the Frederick Keys in 1994 and 1995, Potomac and Wilmington were their rivals, though Potomac identified Frederick more because of the proximity of the teams.
Around that time, I also began announcing for Gonzaga hockey. Gonzaga’s biggest rival has always been DeMatha Catholic. Their teams have always had heated contests against each other and though it’s somewhat respectful, you can find a lot of people at both schools who hate each other. Well, as fate would have it, a couple of years later I’d start announcing for DeMatha baseball, I still do both to this day.
A couple of years ago, Gonzaga had their senior night hockey game against Georgetown Prep. Afterward, I got in the car and drove to Laurel, Md for DeMatha’s veterans fundraiser, the American Heroes Hockey Challenge. On the same night, I announced for DeMatha and Gonzaga hockey. That was an interesting night announcing for both schools who are rivals of each other, as their announcer.
During my time, I’ve also announced for Centreville High School, helping them with several sports, including as football fill-in announcer. Earlier this year, I announced a football game for Westfield High School, their main rival, on homecoming. Ironically, I DJ the Centreville homecoming dance.
In another weird twist of fate, a few years ago I was announcing field hockey for American University when I got a call from the University of Maryland who needed a P. A. announcer for the NCAA field hockey tournament game they were holding. The would wind up playing American in that game. At the pep rally at American they held for winter sports the night before, we encouraged fans to head up to Maryland for the match. It was strange being the announcer for the visiting team, but brought in to announce the game.
At first, it is awkward to be announcing out of your comfort zone, but you get used to it after a while. You recognize each program for what it is and what they want. You see how each team is different but similar and it allows you to further your network. The main thing to remember when going into games like that is to simply do your thing. Don’t overthink it, just do what got you there. Don’t hold back. There is a reason they asked for you and that was because of what you do on the mic and the atmosphere you set.