I’ve been to a few high school basketball games over the years where the person keeping the scorebook at the courtside table wore a striped shirt like the ones the officials wear.
I think that’s a good idea because the official scorekeeper at a high school game is in many ways as much a part of the officiating crew as the people who run up and down the court blowing their whistles.
But I’d like to make a case for someone else at that table, and in the press box at high school football games, who might want to put on one of those striped shirts on game night: the publicaddress announcer.
Before you call me crazy, listen to my case.
I’ve been to several games where the announcer should have been wearing a completely different type of uniform. He or she would have been more suitably dressed as a cheerleader, because for the better part of the game, that’s mostly what they did on the loudspeakers — root, root for the home team.
I know a lot of fans are going to disagree with me, but cheering is not the job of the PA announcer. PA announcers, like the officials calling the game, need to be neutral. There’s no reason to be totally vanilla behind the microphone. It’s okay to show some excitement when announcing a great play. But keep it to the basics. Give names and numbers. Statistics. That sort of thing. Don’t show favoritism for one team.
Oh, and something else PA announcers shouldn’t do — criticize the officials.
I was at a basketball game some years ago, and the announcer was getting a little too involved, calling play-by-play and making editorial calls on the officiating.
Finally, after one situation, the announcer complained for all to hear that the officials had missed a “terrible” traveling call.
The game was stopped, and the head of the officiating crew requested that the announcer be removed immediately and replaced.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has a code of what it calls expectations for announcers that call postseason games. It is good rule of practice for announcers in regularseason games as well. Here are some highlights:
• The announcer shouldn’t try to be bigger than the event and draw attention to himself or herself.
• Announcers can have a big influence on the game. Cheerleading or inciting the crowd is out of line.
• Always promote sportsmanship and treat the opposing team and its fans as welcome guests.
• Know your job and the rules of the game you’re calling.
In short, leave the cheering to the cheerleaders, and share information with the fans that may not be readily available to them.
Treat everybody on both teams with respect and it will be a better experience for all involved.