I have had some interesting opportunities through my job at OnMilwaukee.com, most recently, the chance to call a bingo game at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. I did this last Thursday to promote the Miracle On Canal program which donates a portion of bingo card sales to 30 local kids' charities.
Prior to getting up on stage, taking the mic and rattling off letter / number combos, I was warned that the bingo players were accustomed to a certain style of calling and the "celebrity" callers didn't always go over very well.
I didn't think much of it until the third Potawatomi employee mentioned it to me and it suddenly dawned on me I could get heckled, booed, maybe even rotten-tomatoed.
My fear was heightened when I walked into the bingo area. I have been to Potawatomi many times to game, dine and check out concerts, but it was my first time in the bingo room. It was packed and yet very quiet, considering how many hundreds of people were in there.
I was slightly disappointed that I didn't spot any good luck troll dolls, but I was fascinated by how many different daubers (bingo card markers) most players had. Apparently, they use different daubers for different games.
I also found it interesting how much time must be committed to play bingo. If you're going to play, you can't just grab a card or two and go â€“ you play for a few hours.
About 15 minutes before my game, I grabbed a free soda and started chatting with the employees, who told me exactly how I had to call the numbers. I had to say "B19 ... one nine." No variations or else the game could be halted. I started to get nervous again, listening and watching intently to the professional bingo caller and mentally trying to match his tone and speed.
During my attempt to quick-learn the bingo-calling trade, an employee asked me if I had a lucky number. I told him "22" and a few minutes later he presented me with a number 22 bingo ball as a souvenir. This might have been my favorite moment of the evening.
When I got on stage and started, briefly, chatting about the Miracle On Canal program and OnMilwaukee.com, I could feel the audience's impatience, so I quickly rolled into bingo calling. I was sweating throughout the entire game, focusing intently while trying not to look or sound too much like a robot.
When it was over, the regular bingo caller said my name again and thanked me, and a bunch of people actually clapped. I was shocked. I almost asked to call another game, but really, I needed a cocktail after all of that intensity.
On my way out, one guy asked for OnMilwaukee.com's web address again so he could look up my articles. Another woman made eye contact with me, smiled and nodded. We all have our strengths, I guess, but the fact "bingo caller" is one of mine only became apparent last week. Who knew?
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published July 1, 2016
For the 15th year, Martin Weintzweig is back at Summerfest offering Big Chair Photos. Located across from the BMO Harris Pavilion, Big Chair Photos have become a tradition for many fest-goers in Milwaukee and beyond.
Published June 30, 2016
Tonight Kevin Sylvester wore a black T-shirt that said, "I defy stereotypes," and indeed, he and Wilner Baptiste did just that playing their Summerfest set at the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage Thursday night.
Published June 30, 2016
The moment Willie Nelson walked onto the BMO Harris Pavilion stage on Wednesday evening, he received a standing ovation. And the love continued throughout the evening as he played a collection of mostly hits and fan favorites on Summerfest's opening night.
Published June 29, 2016
Wisconsin is starting to sound more and more like an ocean state. Last week, OnMilwaukee reported on a surf shop opening in Shorewood and, earlier this year, Joe Frank opened Port Deco Divers, a full service scuba and charter store in Port Washington.
Published June 28, 2016
According to former employees, The School Yard Bar & Grill, 1815 E. Kenilworth Pl., is closed. The space was formerly Southport and, before that, it was Cans for eight years.
Published June 28, 2016
After 16 years, Annette French plans to close the doors to Dragonfly, 1117 E. Brady St., in early 2017. Dragonfly, a funky hive of new and vintage goodies, was one of the East Side's go-to shops for gifts, clothing, jewelry and unique household items.
Published June 27, 2016
Josh Malone - who co-owns Malone's On Brady - along with the owner of the neighboring bar Club Brady, Mike Lee, turned the tiny and scruffy outdoor space between their businesses into an eight-seat outdoor tavern called, aptly, MKE's Smallest Bar.
Published June 24, 2016
It's senior writer Molly Snyder's umpteenth Summerfest, and here's what she hopes to check out during the 11-day music festival, including Willie Nelson, Black Violin, Garbage, Whiskeybelles, Common, Def Lepperd and more. See you there!
Published June 23, 2016
Jake and Alaina Bresette will open Milwaukee's first surf shop, Lake Effect Surf Shop, in mid-July at 1926 E. Capitol Dr. The couple, who are both surfers, chose the location, in part, because of its proximity to Atwater Beach.
Published June 22, 2016
There's a new pop-up park on Wells and 2nd Streets called Postman's Plot, a small greenspace celebrating the founding of the National Association of Letter Carriers. Yesterday we stopped by to deliver our love letters to Milwaukee.