Monday, October 26, 2009

Right brain, left brain

Saturday was an interesting day to say the least.

As you have more than likely gathered from my most recent postings, I am short-handed now, and I am having to juggle multiple tasks more than ever these days.

That was never more true than this past Saturday at our home football game.

It was Union's homecoming, so that naturally means there was a ton to do by everyone and not quite enough people to fill every single role. Those of you in the business have all been there. It's madness come homecoming welcome.

Adding to the fun was the fact that this was senior day for our football team as well.

Such was the case for me this past weekend.

Normally, I am immune to any 'extra' duties on game day, especially during football season. However, when duty calls, I answer.

We were short-handed in the press box and needed someone to do the public address (PA) announcing for the game. Now, I have done PA before. Routinely do it for baseball, but baseball is a slower paced game that allows me to do stats as well as PA. I had never tried this combination for football before.

Going into the game, I thought I could handle this. After all, the info I was going to announce would be on my computer screen. For those who might not have a clue of what I'm talking about, when I enter a play in the stat program (Stat Crew in this instance), it will tell me in narrative form what just happened. Therefore, I can just read that over the PA.

Truthfully, everything went smooth for the most part. I got tongue-tied a couple times, especially early on, and it took a while for me to get into a good rhythm. But all in all, it went well.

There was, however, one little thing I struggled with. It was in the inner battle. It was the PA Jay fighting against the SID Jay.

You see, in the press box, there is to be no cheering. We are there to work, and we are to keep our emotions in check. After being in the sports info/writing business for 15-plus years, I have a handle on this bit.

Yet, wearing the hats of SID and PA announcer was an odd combination, especially in football.

In baseball, I don't have to get the fans stirred up. I just announce who's batting or pitching. Just give out information.

But in football, it's important to get the home fans charged up.

And that's where the inner struggle arises.

Let me try to describe the scene for you.

Putting in the stats, repeating what my spotter is telling me, I tell myself in a calm, monotone voice: (FYI, I'm speaking in Stat Crew-ese here) "Pass 11, Res: C, To: 85, ?: At:S00" (What that means is Mike Brinkley completed a pass to Demetrius Davis for a touchdown.)

Then in an instant, here's me on the PA: "Brinkley completes a 42-yard pass to Davis for a BULLDOG TOUCHDOWN!!!"

More commonly, I had plays like this: (More Stat Crew code) "Pass 11, Res: C, To 8, ?: T 49, Tackle: 49, At: S34."

And thus, I would announce: "Brinkley's pass complete to Burrowes, which is good for 15 yards and a FIRST DOWN UNION!!!!"

On and on this went for nearly three hours Saturday. Eventually, I got the hang of it, but I must admit, it felt weird being the calm, cool, collected SID/statistician and then having to flip the switch to be a cheerleader for the crowd.

I was surprised at how well I handled it, and truthfully, I wouldn't mind doing it again. However, I so hope I'm not asked to do this for basketball. Seriously doubt I could handle that.

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