A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do something I haven’t done for more than 15 years. For a few of the high school athletes I interacted with, that was before they were born … or when they were only toddlers.
As a last-minute need arose, I was tapped to be the PA announcer for a number of games at the 2013 WIAA Girls Soccer State Tournament at Uihlein Soccer Park on the city’s northwest side. In high school and college I worked the PA for basketball and football games, so I had a little knowledge of doing starting lineups and giving credit when points were scored.
But, I have to admit, I was pretty rusty for the Division 1 quarterfinal game, the first played during the three-day tournament. With the help of Allison, Ann and Mike (King of Milwaukee Wave fame) from the Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club in the booth with me, I found a groove by the time I hit the Division 2 and 3 semifinal matches.
Despite covering high school soccer when I worked in newspapers years ago, and doing the sideline reporting and color commentary for three seasons of high school football games on WAUK-AM 540 ESPN here in Milwaukee, that experience didn’t prepare me for the PA work. Sure, I had to be comfortable with my voice and pronouncing names on a microphone, but the rhythm of the unlimited substitutions took a while to get down. I don’t think I ever mastered it.
For instance, the Ozaukee Warriors had a Yanke and two players with the last name of Janke on the squad. And Yanke would sub out for a Janke and vice versa. Then there was the team from Ashland that traveled for six hours to get to Milwaukee for its Division 2 game against Catholic Memorial. I don’t think I ever got the Oredockers’ Molly Kovala’s name right on the speaker.
But overall, it was a great time and it took me back to my early sports roots. Thank you to Tammy Gilpin-Ripp, the WIAA and the Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club for the opportunity.
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