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Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Ten of the Decade #7

On Christmas day, I celebrate the single greatest gift I've been given as a track fan.

Six years ago I was asked to be the announcer at our high school's league championship. I can't believe they pay me to do this job. It is not only the best job to have at a track meet, it is the best way to experience a track meet. You know everything, and I mean everything, that is happening. Schedule, start lists, results, team scores, all the moment it is official. I heavily supplement the stuff meet management gives me with my own research. I have profiles of all the top athletes in each event. I have league history dating to 1926.

I use a wireless microphone so I can move around and update field events. Last year I got to cover Erik Kynard's outdoor state record high jump. That was great, but I get just as much a thrill out of announcing a new PR for a run-of-the-mill pole vaulter or other such things. Tracksters so often toil in obscurity just for the reward of success alone, and they deserve recognition for it.

I've noticed that stadium announcers usually do a better job than their TV counterparts. The recent NCAA cross-country championships would have been much better if they'd shut off the talking heads' mikes and just used the PA announcer. Ditto at US championships and Olympic Trials. I don't know why this is, except maybe that meet management won't accept mediocrity while TV does.

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