Category Archives: PA Announcing

a case of the mondays in the jungle.

Last night’s IUPUI Jaguars women’s basketball game turned out to be quite a competitive match-up. Youngstown State came in 5-1 against a 4-3 Jags team. Long story short: we lost 58-57 in one of the most fun women’s games I’ve seen in awhile. We’ve got a very scrappy team that played the hell out of defense last night, harassing their guards in the backcourt all game long, forcing 37 Youngstown State turnovers that led to 26 IUPUI points.

The downside, though, is we got outrebounded BIGTIME, 35-13. Couple that with a lousy second half shooting percentage (27 percent) and you can see why we lost. Nevertheless, the team was in it to the very end with a chance to win. Given the bad shooting and rebounding, that speaks volumes about this team’s tenacity. I look forward to watching them in the conference this year.

Overall, my night on PA wasn’t anything to write home about. This was truly a night when everyone at the scorers table had a case of the Mondays. We also had one of the lightest crowds of the season. But, to their credit, they were into it at the end.

Prior to the game, local sports radio legend and IUPUI’s play-by-play man tonight Greg Rakestraw hassled me about my facial hair.

“C’mon, K-Mac, Movember’s over…time to shave that stuff,” he said. “Unless you want to trim it down to a creepy mustache.”

I like my beard, but maybe he’s right. I threatened to go with a sweet, Rollie Fingers handlebar mustache. “You’ve been watching too much Whisker Wars,” Rakestraw quipped. I love that guy. The voice you hear on the radio is the same voice you hear in conversation.

Late in the game during a timeout, lead official Bryan Enterline was at our table checking the timeout situation (in pressure games, it’s best that everyone knows how many timeouts each team has…and reminds everyone repeatedly). “This has been a pretty good game,” Bryan said to us. “A pretty even-matched game.”

He was right. Sure, Youngstown State had a lot of turnovers, but they were caused by defensive pressure more than ineptitude. They’re a pretty good team with some strong offensive weapons. Despite my believe all game long that we were getting torched in the low post, Youngstown State outscored IUPUI by only two points in the paint. Where the Jags lost the game was on second chance points, which goes back to the rebounding disparity. It is my long-held believe that the team who rebounds better will win more. That was the case on this night.

My favorite moment was late in the game when Youngstown State was inbounding the ball in a high-pressure situation from right directly in front of the scorers table (closer to the IUPUI bench). Youngstown State’s Liz Hornberger was inbounding the ball and trying to get her coach’s attention to ask about timeouts. “Coach,” she yelled. “Coach…coach! COACH BOLLLLDENNNNN!!!!!!!

Joe (the official book scorekeeper) and I immediately started laughing because this poor kid is trying to make sure she does the right thing and get her coach’s attention. She caught us laughing, smiled back and sort of rolled her eyes at her coach’s indifference to her. One of those funny, in-game moments when we get to interact with the players. And Hornberger was a hero for her team on this night. She scored 11 points and played the entire 40 minutes. That’s impressive.

Heading into tomorrow’s game, I need to shake up my song playlist. Because both teams used their full compliment of timeouts, I ran through every song I use during timeouts. I need to shuffle the deck and add a few new songs. I just wish I knew what the kids were listening to these days.


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welcome (back) to the jungle.

We got the basketball season off to an early start this year…sort of. A few weeks ago, the IUPUI Jaguars decided to hold the first-ever alumni game, which was held last night at The Jungle. Inside of three weeks, the program assembled an event featuring several players from the past 10-15 years of Jaguars basketball in the D-I era, including a recognition of former players in attendance from the IUPUI Metros era. Indiana Pacers guard and former Jaguars player George Hill suited up and took a spot on the bench. Not surprisingly, he did not play. I’m sure the Pacers nixed that idea.

Jaguars alumni return to the Jungle. (Photo by Brian Drumm)

The atmosphere was considerably looser than a home game. We had a decent crowd and the players were having fun. Blair Crawford has his signature mop of curly hair. Angelo Smith looks like he could still suit up and play. Josh Murray put on a little more muscle and still had some hops. Akeem Clark still has his perimeter shot. Jaguars Hall-of-Famer Carlos Knox took a lot of the younger guys to school tonight too!

The most challenging aspect of the game for me was simply rolling with it. I wouldn’t grade my performance higher than a C-. Exhibition games are, by design, looser affairs. From a PA standpoint, that means being looser. People laugh at my in-season preparation because it’s pretty rigid. I have everything scripted out to the second. A game of this sort—where nothing is scripted—requires a more zen approach. I’ll have to work on that ahead of our Red-White scrimmage.

There was a time I was a pretty sharp extemporaneous speaker. I suppose I get too comfortable with scripts behind the mic. Time to development that aspect of my game.

If we do this alumni game again in the future—and I hope we do—we’ll have to tighten up a few aspects, just to give proper attention to those who deserve it. The intros tonight felt rushed and slightly disorganized. That’s no one’s fault. But next year, we’ll have to change things up a bit to make it a more fan-friendly game.

Former Metro players in the Jungle. (Photo by Brian Drumm)

Off the top of my head…
Retro Metro Props. In the pre-game, have a bit more of an “official” ceremony honoring these guys. They deserve it.

Honorary Coaches. George Hill would be one of them. He basically assumed that role tonight.

“Special” refs. Just a thought. Get some local personality to “officiate” the game.

In-game Interviews. This is not a regular game. PA needs more to more interactive. Involve some local radio personalities or something to talk to players and coaches throughout the game.

Nevertheless, I’m glad we did this tonight. It was fun to see the guys again.

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one win. one loss. one lost media timeout & one lost voice.

The mic does all the work. I simply tell it what to say.

Last night was a big night in The Jungle. Our first (of two) doubleheaders. Our last time ever hosting Oral Roberts at home. And a whole mess of in-game activities to manage (Hall of Fame recognition, Homecoming Court at halftime. We had a GREAT crowd in the house, too. It was a full day for a PA announcer. And oh yeah, a couple of important basketball games.

One Win. One Loss.
The women’s team did their job. They pounded Oral Roberts in the opening game, 72-48,. It was one of the best games they’ve played all season. The men’s team…ugh. They have hit some sort of rut that I can’t quite figure out. They lost to ORU 81-71.

Sadly, both programs are staring up at most of the conference in the standings. The women’s team are in ninth place (out of 10) and the men’s team is in eighth place (out of 10). That’s significant because the conference tournament seeds only the top eight teams. Yikes.

Basketball notwithstanding, I learned last night that doubleheaders are HELL on my voice. I was in good form throughout the women’s game. But about five minutes into the men’s game, I noticed I was losing some “heft” in my voice. Maybe it’s age, but I need to pace myself a little better when it comes to doing a doubleheader.

Taking Care of the Pipe.
I’ve also learned other valuable game-day announcing lessons:
* No soda/carbonated beverages
* Warm up (which usually means practicing my announcer voice for about an hour
* Drink lots of water before and during the game

And now I can add Pace Yourself to the list.

Nevertheless, it was great fun to work a game with a full house last night. We need more of that to finish out the season and beyond. We need the students to get up like this for every game.

…and now for something completely different.
Experienced something during the men’s game that’s never happened in a game I’ve worked: we lost a media timeout.

In case you didn’t know, for college basketball games, media timeouts are taken at the first dead ball under 16:00, 12:00, 8:00 and 4:00 on the clock in both halves. During the first half of the men’s game we never had a dead ball under the four-minute mark. Normally, it wouldn’t be an issue. But we had a Hall of Fame presentation planned for the under-4 TO. We simply pushed it to the second half. No big deal, but kinda funny.

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…and everything after.

It’s been a busy few weeks around here. Between the holidays, work and the ongoing basketball season, I’ve kept myself busy.

Basketball season’s been a bit up and down for me. We had a couple good games at ConsecoBankers Life Fieldhouse and my voice was in tip-top shape for those games. But our home games at The Jungle have been frustrating. The teams have been hot and cold; so are our fans. I’ll never understand why it feels like we’re always rebuilding from Square One with our student section from one year to the next. If I can count the number of students in our student section on one hand, you have failed, students. Failed.

Next year, we’ve got to do better.

I’ll be taking a weekend away from Indy in a couple weeks. Destination: where do you think?

In a bit of an experiment, I’ll be heading to Las Vegas on Friday night, after work, and coming home Sunday afternoon. All told, I’ll spend 33 hours in the desert. I know what you’re thinking: “that’s not much of a vacation.” It’s not, you’re right. But I’m flying solo and have intentions of doing more than merely gamble (although I will be doing a bit of that).

I’m going to rent a car for the afternoon and drive around my old neighborhood. Even though I only lived there for five short months, I really miss it and I find I’m forgetting some of the mundane nonsense I enjoyed—my Starbucks in Summerlin, the Albertson’s where I shopped, the unique street names (Hualapai, Flamingo, Fort Apache). I want to go back for an afternoon and be local again. I miss that aspect of Las Vegas.

Don’t get me wrong. The Strip is still a great place for a party and I’ll always enjoy that. But I miss just being there.

So that’s my plan for Saturday afternoon. Friday and Saturday night, however, I’ll be scaring up a little trouble on the Strip…and maybe a hot roll or two at the dice table? Here’s to hoping.

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the dakotas come to town.

We just wrapped up four straight days of IUPUI Jaguars basketball in the Jungle. Sadly, we only went 1-3 against the Dakotas. The women’s team beat North Dakota State on Wednesday night. The next three nights were a trilogy of losses that were heartbreaking, frustrating and disappointing. The men’s team dropped an overtime nail biter to South Dakota State on Thursday night; charging back from as much as an 18-point deficit to force OT, only to lose in the extra period.

Friday night’s women’s game against South Dakota State wasn’t quite as dramatic. It was more like we were lulled into losing by 10 points. The men’s Saturday night game vs. North Dakota State was even more maddening than the previous three games. They can’t seem to get their offense rolling until it’s too late. The game was tied 6-6 early in the first half, then NDSU went on something like an 8-0 run and it was all over from there. The 84-79 final score belies the reality that the Jags were never really that close after early in the first half.

I’m not arguing that they aren’t trying. They are. The team isn’t finding its offensive rhythm until late in the game. That needs to change if they stand a chance in the post season.

By the Saturday night, I was fried. My voice just didn’t seem to have anything left. The Jungle felt more like a mausoleum than a college basketball game. With the exception of the band, cheerleaders and the few dedicated students who never miss a game, IUPUI’s fans are remarkably courteous to the opposing teams. I miss the games we had a few years ago, when the place was rocking. I miss the games when it was so loud you couldn’t hear me on the PA. We need more games like that. We need more students at the games.

Instead, I’m getting heckled by five-year olds from North Dakota correcting me on the pronunciation of “Bison.” I get interrupted during the game by a kid from the other team so he can tell me, essentially, “it’s not pronounced ‘bison’, it’s pronounced ‘bison’.” Huh? For one thing, I rarely referred to them as “Bison,” in favor of simply saying “North Dakota State,” whenever announcing a foul, sub, etc. So why is this kid bugging me during a game? Your guess is as good as mine. I wasn’t mean to the kid; just smiled and nodded and then went about my business. I still don’t know what he was trying to say to me.

I’m hardly perfect. I screwed up an IUPUI scoring play by announcing the wrong player. I knew I jacked it up the moment I said the name. It was too late to correct it, so you just move on. Did I hear about it? Sure I did. It happens. I own my mistakes.

For the four-day stretch of games, I’d say the middle two games were my best outings. But having said that, I need to start revving this crowd up again. They seem to be too comfortable sitting on their hands or something. It’s unnerving. We don’t want our home court to be known as having the politest fans in the conference. Especially when Oral freakin’ Roberts comes to town.

I just hope our teams figure out how to play better by then, otherwise this will be a long season.

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college hoops season is officially here.

Last week is still a bit of a blur. I worked something like four sporting events for IUPUI Jaguars basketball. It felt like a never-ending battle with the PA system, I swear.

Things were fine up until the Monday, 7 Nov 11 men’s exhibition game. A technician came in that afternoon and “fixed” things. Problem is the fix seemed worse than the actual problem. All night long, the sound was muddy, distorted, too quiet and just plain crappy. I spent the entire game screaming into the mic, knowing full-well no one could really hear me. It was frustrating. Worse yet, we had our men’s home opener the following night. This is not a good time to have technical difficulties (if ever there was a good time). The upside is the men’s team won, so there’s that.

By the next night, for the women’s exhibition game, order had been restored. My SID (Sports Information Director) J.B. knew the winning combination (something we didn’t have 24 hours prior), dialed it up and off we went. The sound was good, my voice was just so-so. I spent most of the night trying to figure out the best inflections on the players’ names. One of the players went so far as to send a team manager to correct me at halftime. Throughout the 10 years I’ve been working IUPUI games, it seems the women’s basketball players pay a whole lot more attention to me than the men’s team does. It’s weird. But not as bad as it was in my first couple years, when the players were more concerned about the warm-up music than the actual warming up part.

Having figured out the sound system, I was confident we’d have a good game on 11/11/11. And we needed it. In addition to being our home opener, it was Veterans Day. With special pre-game commemorations scheduled, the last thing I wanted to worry about was a wonky sound system.

We had a full house, a decent Red Zone (“decent” only because I know they can do better) and a JagBand ready to get it started. We also had an honor guard and several vets in the house. It was a good, exhilarating way to start the season. I was in particularly good voice on this evening too. Worried about fatigue, I drank a lot of water throughout the day and laid off the soda once I got into pre-game mode at 5 p.m. Not sure if anyone else noticed, but I did. My voice was crisp, no cracking, no mumbling. Just a good, solid night on the mic.

It’s going to be a good season.

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a thankless job.

"Gooooood evening Jaguar volleyball fans!"

Had a decent night on the mic last night for IUPUI Jaguars volleyball last night. Nothing to write home about, honestly, but something interesting occurred at the end of the match. Between sets 2 and 3, we announced the names of several IUPUI faculty members as part of Professor Appreciation Night (an annual tradition). We pounded through the names, people applauded, then we went back to the match. All went according to plan.

IUPUI Sports Information Director John Berry called an audible and gave me another announcement to read before the beginning of the third set. Senior libero Shari Berhnardt joined the 2,000 Digs Club at IUPUI. Membership: 2. A nice little moment for the team and fans alike.

Then the Jaguars stormed the court, won the last two sets to take the match 3-1 over Valparaiso, winning three sets in a row after dropping the first one. I still love it when we beat Valpo!

As I was wrapping up the match with my standard closing announcement and “victory” song (Chelsea Dagger, by the Fratellis), I was approached by one of the professors in attendance. He wanted to thank me for pronouncing his name correctly. “Most people get it wrong, you got it right,” he said.

Being a PA announcer is usually a thankless job, which is fine with me. I come in, do my thing, go home. If nobody says anything to me in the post game, it’s because I got it right. Usually, the only people who have something to say to the announcer after the game are people who want to remind you that you screwed up. So it was nice to get a thank-you for a change.

And it’s still sweet to beat Valpo!

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