I was a terrible announcer for my son's high school football games and it was still a blast

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I was a terrible announcer for my son's high school football games and it was still a blast

I am the worst announcer for high school football games. Once, I missed calling my own son's fumble recovery. But I still had a blast just being there.

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Normal rules apply. Discipline the child who stutters just as you do your other children and just as you would if he didn’t stutter.

Bill Goodykoontz, USA TODAY Published 5:14 p.m. ET Jan. 10, 2019 | Updated 7:10 p.m. ET Jan. 10, 2019
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I am the world’s worst announcer for high school football games.

This is not something I say lightly. I am not fishing for, “Oh, you can’t be that bad” assurances. I am horrible.

Twice — in one game — I credited the wrong players with touchdowns. (They were gracious when I apologized after the game.) During the same game I missed announcing a fumble recovery.



There are reasons both technical and otherwise for my ineptitude, which I’ll get to momentarily.

Yet for all that, I loved it. I don’t know if fans can say the same, but I had a blast.

So how did I get to the booth? Circuitously

All of my kids play sports. They have since kindergarten.

I played sports, too. I think they’re important to a child’s development — physically, emotionally, all of the usual ways you hear about (which you hear about because they’re true).

I also think it’s important to learn how to be part of a team. I was a decent athlete and I’ve tried to stay involved in my kids’ sports, mostly through coaching. My feeling was, if I have to take them to practice, I might as well have something to do.

Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what's for dinner and cook it for them.

My daughters play volleyball and softball. My son plays football for a small Arizona school called Tempe Preparatory Academy , which has a proud football tradition. It's one of those little-engine-that-could type of programs.

Football practice is notoriously brutal. In Arizona, where we live, it’s worse. At the beginning of the season, athletes are running around in full pads in 115-degree heat.

Football at Tempe Prep depends upon the work of volunteers to keep things running smoothly. And this year the team needed a new announcer for home games.

I was speaking with the coach after practice one day and he asked, in an offhand way, if I wanted the job. (Working on the chain crew also seemed to be an option.) I actually used to write about sports, I began, and…

“You’re hired.”

Great, I thought. How hard can it be?

It's harder than you’d think

Or harder than I thought, anyway.

Here is the thing: Whether you are writing about a game or watching a game for fun, you take plays off. You talk to someone sitting beside you or ask a question about the quarterback’s passing percentage or take a bite out of a hot dog or check a text that’s just arrived on your phone. It’s no big deal. If there’s a commotion you look up and catch the end of the play or ask someone what happened if you don’t.

Sarah Jessica Parker (mom to three son James and twin daughters Marion and Tabitha): “As a working mother high heels don’t really fit into my life anymore - but in a totally wonderful way. I would much rather think about my son than myself.”

Or you wait for the announcer’s call.

But when you’re actually calling a game, you can’t take any plays off. Ever.

If you do, there’s just silence. Who did what? Who knows?

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s kind of daunting, and more intense than you'd think. You are watching all of the players, all the time, for both teams.

And they sure look small out there.


Here’s a quibble: Tempe Prep’s home jerseys are dark blue with black numbers. From the press box, where I sat to call games, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish, for instance, 82 from 22. Guess which one ran back a kickoff for a touchdown? I did — and guessed wrong.

Tempe Prep’s last game was against a school with white jerseys. With white numbers that were outlined — lightly — in gold trim. In that case, I made an announcement at the beginning of the game that, due to the unique color scheme of their uniforms, it would be impossible for me to say exactly which player had done what.

And you know what? That was fine.

That’s one of the great things about high school sports. Whatever else they are, above all, they’re just fun. Or they are supposed to be.

Yes, some parents insist on living out their own stunted fantasies by yelling at the coaches or players or baying at the moon or whatever. But the vast majority of people simply want to cheer on their kids and their kids’ teams. And the kids just want to play.

Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities.

It’s one of those great, ultimately unimportant things that becomes important for a couple of hours. If an announcer botches a call every now and then (and again, in my case), it isn’t the end of the world. It’s the end of a play, and there will be another one coming up in just a few seconds.

All of which is to say, I hope they’ll have me back next season.

Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk.

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By acknowledging small improvements in behaviour you make it easier for big improvements to follow.