Announcers and where they stand

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   As a high school sports announcer, I know what it takes to successfully pull the position. It is a position that is more demanding than one would think, as we try in every way to please the sports fans, specifically the home crowd. An event this past weekend led me to the question: How far is too far?
   This is a lesson I have learned since I began writing for the STAR. Once you hold a position in the athletic arena, you become noticed by many people. Although announcers may feel a way about something in general, it is not their responsibility to make it known publicly.
   Last week, I covered a baseball game where there was a controversial call at the end of the game.
   When the visiting coach came out to make a statement, the home announcer publicly stated that the coach should lead, for the players to sit down, for the ref to not change the play and called for the game to end. At the time it was indecent and irresponsible.
   Several of the visiting fans told the announcer that it was inappropriate. The announcer responded by insulting the section of fans, including a word of profanity.
   It was a shame, because there were several children present. If I said anything like that when announcing, I would have been dropped from the spot.
   The fans rushed the exit of the pressbox, and confronted the man. The scene there was almost as embarrassing from both sides. But it goes back to the microphone.
   I know, being an announcer, the feeling you get when an opposing fan criticizes you for making a slight mistake. This was a huge mistake.
   I urge the home team to make the announcer apologize publicly. To the fans there, and to all fans in general, tell an official or coach or approach the announcer quietly. It will get back soon enough, and it could benefit all parties.
   It's okay for an announcer to express loyalty and boost the morale of their team. It's okay for an announcer to lead their home fans. That's a part of the home field advantage.
   But something like the events of last week was childish and could give the announcer a possibly undeserving bad reputation.
   I have a great deal of respect for the man in the box, and to the fans. This is not written in anger, but to help people in general look at their mistakes. Trust me, it's a lesson I've learned before.
   In closing, ask a few simple questions: What would have happened if the University of Tennessee football announcer told former Florida coach Steve Spurrier to shut up? What would happen if a professional sports announcer insulted the fans?
   They would be sat down, and that's the bottom line.