Just over 14 months ago, I decided to return to sports announcing. I thought I’d retired when I concluded 10 years of public address duties for University of Dayton football in 2015. When I agreed to handle the microphone for Fort Loramie’s golden anniversary of girls basketball in early 2021, I said that my return would only be for that single date including a game and festivities. After those events I still felt that way.
Two days later I was watching a TV replay of the game while doing household chores. My voice was quite audible on the telecast. Then it hit me. I said to myself, “I can still do this. Let’s go for it.” My first call was to longtime coach Carla Siegel whom I visited that evening. “Carla, I want to come back to work,” was my simple message in her living room. We checked in with the athletic director and I was working the next night with the goal of continuing for multiple seasons.
That desire was placed in doubt over the summer when my health deteriorated. Around Labor Day a slight medication adjustment resulted in a gradual major rebound and I returned for the just concluded season. I thoroughly enjoyed our ten home games which included some unique personal sidelights.
Early in the season the Russia Raiders and new coach Paul Bremigan paid a visit. The longtime Raiders boys coach asked me what brought me back to announcing. I told him to look in the mirror to answer that one for both of us. Obviously, we both love what we do.
West Liberty-Salem’s holiday season appearance included a pair of old friends from Urbana University. Dave Cline is the son of Ollie Cline, Sidney’s football coach from 1956-59, and had a daughter on the team. Kip Louden drove the bus for WL-S and is one of the nicest folks I’ve ever known, so I included him when I announced their starters and coaches. This was well received by the visitors but I had to explain it after the game to some Loramie inquisitors who then seemed to understand.
When Houston came calling to finish the regular season, I introduced myself to their coaches and got reacquainted with assistant Paul Burks whom I told, “You were Houston’s star player in the first Shelby County game I did on radio back in late 1975.” Though played at Lehman High School, it was a Houston home game with Anna. I assisted Bob Wise on that night. It was great to chat with Paul.
There were also special moments for me to announce like senior night and memorials to the departed which I treat very seriously. I take special pride in going “the extra mile” on those.
Come next November I’ll do it all again. As I approach age 70, game night (or day) remains very special. I’m delighted I came back for more.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Next week we’ll visit Arizona spring training.