The older I get, the more challenging announcing basketball games is becoming. I’m not having a woe-is-me moment. I’m really and honestly noticing more and more vocal difficulties. I’m not a young lad anymore who can wistfully go about his day eating and drinking what I want and then sit behind a mic on Press Row and give a flawless performance. Oh wait. I never give a flawless performance! But you get my drift.
Right from the start of the men’s game tonight at Conseco Fieldhouse—the nightcap of a doubleheader—I noticed my voice giving out. In fact, I struggled to soldier through the starting lineups. I wasn’t losing my voice, but I was losing range and “strength.” Conseco’s audio setup doesn’t allow the announcer to move the dials. It’s set and you deal with it. If it’s coming through quiet, talk louder. If it’s still quite, yell. And that’s what it became. All that whooping and hollering takes a toll; sometimes during the game (as it did tonight). If PA announcing is driving, imagine tonight was driving in a bit of a storm. You can get from Point A to Point B, but you have to make certain concessions you normally wouldn’t under optimal conditions.
Ultimately the blame falls on the person, not the mic. You don’t change the devil. The devil changes you. A sketchy microphone will always be a sketchy microphone because it doesn’t know any better and can’t adjust. You adjust to the mic or suffer the consequences. I just didn’t adjust quickly enough this evening. I think I performed better than my on-court nonsense Thursday night, but I’m also glad this wasn’t an audition.
But you can’t hang it on lack of preparation. I was prepared. And, true to form, all that preparation paid off when it came time to flip the script and make changes on the fly as there’s a basketball game being played 10 feet away. An IUPUI Jaguars game at Conseco Fieldhouse is always a special occasion for us, so we like to involve our fans, alumni and supporters as much as we can. Tonight was no exception as we honored IUPUI faculty furing four of our eight scheduled timeouts as well as a cheerleader alumni gathering during halftime. The gameday crew got its cardio for the day, running back and forth between gathering people and bringing me the final script and then adding announcements and halftime activities…all moments before going live. Amazing there’s such a constant buzz of activity on and around Press Row while there’s a college basketball game being played 10 feet away from us in an NBA arena.
I can roll with those punches all day long because I work with top-notch folks who handle it all with ease. That’s the easy part of it all. I have to take better care of the pipe on game days to ensure my best performance. All the coordination and preparation won’t cover a hoarse throat. Time to consult some singers to see what they do.