Tuesday, January 31, 2012, it was the Greeneview Rams hosting the Springfield Catholic Central Irish in a high school boys’ basketball contest. It was a special night and once again it was my privilege to be “The Voice of the Rams.”
After scarfing down a couple slices of pizza in the hospitality room, I was cornered by Athletic Director Mark Reinhart, who had a secret and a special assignment. A player on each team was about to reach a career milestone, 1000 points. At the high school level, this many points is not an everyday occurrence. Twice in the same game is unthinkably rare!
Greeneview High’s Evan Bradds, a junior, needed 14 points. Catholic Central’s senior forward Brian Kelly needed 13. Apparently both players knew they were close, but not exactly how close. Neither knew about the surprise that was in store.
Only a handful of people were briefed: the head coaches, the referees, and the officials at the scorers’ table. Jane, the lovely Greeneview scorekeeper, was responsible for monitoring their progress. When either player reached the milestone, she would alert Kenny, the reliable and steady timekeeper, who would hit the buzzer to stop the game. Then, yours truly would have the privilege of announcing the player’s name and his outstanding accomplishment. The fans would cheer and the players and coaches would celebrate as athletes do with high fives, chest bumbs, knuckle bumps and a few hugs. Then, the game would resume and the process would continue hoping for that historic second milestone.
Here’s how it played out. Bradds scored his 1000th point with 1:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Kelly followed suit in the 2nd half. The script played out just as if we had rehearsed it — two 1000-point celebrations in the same game! What made it exceptional was seeing the sportsmanship of rivals enjoying each other’s accomplishment.
17 years ago, when Athletic Director Bob Roach entrusted me with the job of public address announcer, this special game was not on my radar screen. How could it be? Evan Bradds was either an infant or a twinkle in his father’s eye. Clearly I did not seek this job in preparation for this moment or any other specific highlight. My long-term vision is not that acute. Motivation for the job was to improve my skills and audition for an announcer position at a Division 1 college program. That opportunity never materialized. However, with perfect 20-20 hindsight I’m glad it didn’t. Each time another magic Rams moment comes along I’m reminded how grateful I am for the opportunity to be the man behind the microphone in my hometown.
“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills
so that when important occasions arise, you will have
the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
— Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker
What opportunities are you looking for? What opportunities are looking for you? What are you grateful for?