BY JOHN PATRICK
I had two goals going into my rookie season as the public address announcer for Borah Lions football: Don’t embarrass Borah and don’t embarrass myself. For the most part, mission accomplished. Having never done P.A. announcing before, I had an idea of what was ahead of me. In hindsight, there were a few things I should have expected.
I wasn’t expecting the amount of distractions in the booth. I learned differently in game one; Bishop Kelly vs. Borah. The game would be aired on a local radio station with the broadcast team set up less than 10 feet to my left with no barrier between us. I was slightly flustered a few times as the game was sometimes loudly and wrongly broadcast into my ear. I was also amused as the play-by-play announcer re-enacted a couple of plays that happened while he was in a commercial break and railed on the officials for what he thought was a bad call. My space was encroached on numerous times.
My biggest mistake was not making sure I knew how to pronounce all the names. I choked on the name of Borah running back Ilaisa (pronounced Eli) Makaafi. The embarrassing part was that his mother had to correct me at halftime. The sad part was that he lived in my neighborhood for a number of years. Lesson learned! At my first opportunity I made it a priority to apologize to him. From then on, I would call the opposing coaches and ask for pronunciation on any questionable names.
I also underestimated the importance of having a spotter. It was difficult to identify the offensive and defensive players involved in a play. Luckily after the first game, there was a stats keeper who helped me out by calling out uniform numbers. There were other distractions. People would come up from behind to ask me to read this or announce that. Or the dance team was going to perform, but wasn’t on the schedule. A text would hit my phone asking me to tell the timekeeper to reset the clock. By game two I was much more prepared.
Of course there were benefits, too. The words “I’m the P.A. announcer” would get me by the R.O.T.C. members in charge of the parking lot next to Dona Larsen Park. Water was delivered to me by someone from the Borah booster club, plus a hot dog to eat at halftime while the band performed. A pile of red licorice ropes greeted me at one game.
Because of my sons, I have attended Borah sporting events for the past seven years, but this was my first as a public address announcer. My rookie season is quickly coming to an end. I just hope I did enough to earn a second contract with the team.
John “JP’’ Patrick produces Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket. He can be found @JPKTIK (Twitter).