Announcers are the voice of the game

By Nichole Kennelly

Sarah Fulton, sports editor

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It all began with a sarcastic comment. Three years ago a fellow teacher at Riverview Elementary jokingly told P.E. teacher Isaac Hodges that he had a good voice and should be the new basketball announcer at the high school.

“It is a pretty simple story,” Hodges said. “I emailed to inquire about the announcing position and they gave it to me. I had not really considered being an announcer at any point before that.”

According to building activities coordinator Matt Fedde, who schedules the announcers, finding an announcer is very “unscientific;” when a position is open, he simply tries to fill it.

“I am not really sure how we found Hodges. All I know is that when I ask him to be at a game, I can count on him to be there,” Fedde said. “He is always on time and knows exactly what he has to do.”

Hodges’ typical game duties include reading the Kaw Valley League sportsmanship disclaimer and announcing the national anthem, half-time performances and game play. MTMS science teacher Roger Bruns, who runs the game clock, says that Hodges does what he needs to do without much fuss.

“He is a very steady guy, he knows what he is doing,” Bruns said. “One time the sportsmanship disclaimer script wasn’t there and he just rattled if off from memory. He is very thorough and prepared.”

Despite preparing for games by asking both the opposing and home coaches how to pronounce player names, Hodges is not immune to mistakes.

“[The worst thing I have ever done] was announcing the wrong starters, I actually did that a couple of times this season,” Hodges said. “The very first varsity girls game, I announced a starter wrong and Coach McFall shot me the most confused look.”

Despite the possibility for mistake, Hodges says that he stays calm while announcing.

“It is a very relaxing job. There is not much stress involved,” Hodges said. “I work with elementary school kids all day, so it is just nice to be around older kids.”

Hodges tries to get the crowd more involved in the game.

“I have a goal to do more than just inform. I always give the home team a little more enthusiasm,” Hodges said. “After a big shot my enthusiasm over the speaker can pump up a crowd.”

Carol Bebel, who attends games to watch her son, senior varsity guard J.J. Bebel, says that she enjoys Hodges’ enthusiasm.

“I think he is very good,” Carol said. “He is very involved in the game.”

According to Hodges, outside of trying to be enthusiastic, he does not have a personal announcing style or catch phrase.

“I try to have things written down that I think might be good to say,” Hodges said. “Outside of that I think it is good to listen to other announcers because they always have different ways of announcing a game that I can draw from.”

Junior guard Drew Smith believes that the way Hodges announces the games is perfect.

“He is on just the right level. He doesn’t try to do too much,” Smith said.

Bruns agrees with Smith.

“He is just a good guy with a good personality,” Bruns said. “He comes and gets the job done.”

Question and answer with sports announcers:

Football announcer Justin Bogart:

How did you begin announcing?

“I was the spot announcer for the DHS football team announcer. One night he had a conflict, I filled in and did well enough not to embarrass myself. When this opened I asked Dr. Novak if I could announce and he said absolutely.”

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

“There was one year when we had a bad microphone that wouldn’t turn off all the time. I knew that but the guy keeping score didn’t. A player threw a lousy pass and the scorekeeper yelled, ‘Who the hell was that to?’ Most people thought it was me.”

Soccer announcer Leah Vomhof:

How did you begin announcing?

“I was sitting at lunch one day and the athletic director at the time was desperately looking for someone to announce that night’s game. Nobody would help so I said ‘If you really need me, I will.’ After that I agreed to help out permanently.”
What is the main thing you do to prepare?
 “I have to change clothes otherwise it is uncomfortable to get up into the press box. I grab a bottle of water and a snack. The most challenging part of the game is to announce players’ names correctly so I check with the opposing coach.”
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