Why is it so hard to believe that someone can start out announcing in high school? Sometimes I’d like to ask someone what they think is the right age for someone to start? Is it 18, while in college? Is it 21 when you can start to drink alcohol? Maybe 25, that’s a quart of
Why is it so hard to believe that someone can start out announcing in high school? Sometimes I’d like to ask someone what they think is the right age for someone to start? Is it 18, while in college? Is it 21 when you can start to drink alcohol? Maybe 25, that’s a quart of a century.
There are many P. A. announcers out there who began as a high school student, and I’m no different. That might also be why I have a soft spot for the young announcers who want to try it and show some talent. When it started in 1992 with a JV baseball team, there wasn’t an internet to fall back on or any resources that I could turn to that had actually done it. It was a lot of trial-and-error. A lot of listening to other announcers and emulating what they were doing. Sometimes, those announcers weren’t the best, sometimes they were pretty good.
My influences as a young announcer were Marv Brooks (Capitals and Bullets), Rex Barney (Orioles), and Trip Morgan who announced for the local Minor League Baseball team. I still do some things trip did to this day. All three of these men had an influence on me and I’ve had the chance over my career to pay homage to all three at some point.
This past season, I got to announce the Washington Capitals coming to the ice for pre-game warm-up, and have announced many Capitals games at Verizon Center, though Marv never announced there. I got to meet Rex Barney shortly before he died but didn’t get a chance to really talk to him, four years ago a friend asked me to announce a baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards where Rex’s, “Your attention please”, “Cal….Ripkennnn”, and “Thank Youuuuuuuuuuuu” were all said. They were direct copies of Rex’s work, and when saying his typical close which I also use, got goosebumps. My baseball line-ups are the same as Trip Morgan’s announcements when he was announcing for the Prince William Pirates and Yankees. I got to use that style when I spent a year-and-a-half announcing in the same stadium as I first heard him in the mid 2000’s. Recently, I was able to make contact with Trip and hope to expand on the relationship somewhat.
Those were the influences to a 13-year old freshman, but that’s not the point of this piece. I actually didn’t start announcing at 13. At 13 I began announcing live on a microphone. Up until that point, my imagination would help me build baseball fields and hockey rinks out of Lego’s, using the pieces as players and expanding the thoughts into games. That left me to announce the games, which went off without a hitch…unless my imagination brought one up. This started before I can even remember, but the style was always being developed.
Now, there are many people who don’t get their start until well into their 20’s, 30’s, or even beyond, but keep in mind that the young voice you hear, may have more experience than you do because they really did start at the age of 13!
Next week: You can’t run the scoreboard and announce at the same time