The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Announcers: The Most Under-Appreciated Roles in Sports

To give some context, I have been a play-by-play sports broadcaster ever since I started high school nearly seven years ago. I have always been fascinated with the broadcasting world ever since my parents signed me up for my first sports broadcasters camp when I was about nine years old. Currently, I am the head sports announcer for Westfield State Athletics and there was a small incident I was involved in recently that really got me thinking about this profession more than I usually do.

During the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Framingham State and Westfield State, on Saturday April 6th, there was a player from Framingham State who decided to voice his opinions about me, my fellow announcer, and camera operator. As I was calling the game, I could audibly hear this player say to his teammate that we were not good at our jobs. He claimed that our camera operator did not like sports at all (which was a complete lie) and that even he could be a better announcer than us.

Now, in the moment, I wanted to stand up and tell him off, but I decided to be the bigger person and continue on with the game. Afterwards, when I returned to my room in New Hall, I wondered if others thought the same thing about me that this player did, but some reassurance from others made that idea die out quickly. I then thought if he thinks he can do it better, I would like to see him and any others who think the same way try announcing themselves; because this is not an easy job by any means.

For starters, you need to have knowledge about every single player on both teams. I spend about a half an hour researching statistics on players, teams, and games for each team long before every game I have to cover. What would be the point of making an argument if you do not have information to back it up? Not only that, but audiences will be fascinated about stats that they did not even know about.

From a technical standpoint, my job also includes having a complete sense of how our equipment is supposed to be set up. Announcers are not like celebrities or athletes who just walk into a place and do not have to do anything except perform. I needed to learn how to control microphone volumes, find out where cables are placed, and plenty more technical aspects, and that for me, took a few weeks to memorize.

As for the actual announcing part of this job, it starts with knowing the terminology of the sport, or in my case, multiple sports. There is more than just the basic words that everyone knows to inform audiences about aspects of the game that they may not knew about before. While in the middle of the game, there is continuous action that you have to be attentive to at all times. This high-paced action forces you to think on the spot about descriptive details to entice the audience as to what has just taken place. You cannot just scream “touchdown” or “home run” and leave it there; it takes more to match a picture with words when an artist has another person creating their painting.

It is similar to making an impromptu speech or performing a monologue without a script; there is a sense of what to do, but only the best accomplish it with little flaws. You are forced into a situation where you have to make yourself look presentable and it is your job to make audiences learn facts or evoke emotions that they did not know about when they walked in. You can prepare as much as you want, but you will never know what to say until you get up on the podium or on the stage.

To think deeper, what would some of the greatest moments in sports look like if no one was announcing it? We would not have great lines like “do you believe in miracles? Yes!” or “Havlicek stole the ball!” if not for announcers. These moments would lose the feeling of relatability since almost every fan would be thinking these same things.

In conclusion, do not be like this Framingham State player and just enjoy the craft that announcers do because only a handful can do it. The task is not easy by a long shot and if you decide to talk a little smack about them, just remember the hard work they go through to try and put on a show.

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