During my broadcast career, which hasn’t really been that long, I’ve had the opportunity to call a few state championship games: two softball series, one baseball series, one basketball game, and even a soccer state championship soccer game.
Those were all great experiences, but being on a football state championship broadcast had eluded me.
That was until this Friday night.
Leake Academy was playing for its first state title and undefeated season. I was just planning on going to document and take pictures and video for our website and maybe grab some audio from the coach for the news.
Well, we eventually decided that we wanted an on-air interview with the head coach if they ended up winning the game.
So, I dug a wireless mic out of my closet that I’d wanted to try for a while, got it to work, and decided I’d give it a go as a sideline reporter.
Sideline reporting is a lot different than play-by-play. Being right there on top of the action is exciting. You do have to dodge errant passes and try not to get ran over during plays that carry out of bounds.
It’s also quite difficult to hear the broadcast when you’re standing in front of a sold out crowd. It might as well have been a home game for Leake so there were several times when I couldn’t hear the commentary team.
But being on the field….when a team finally captures the school’s first championship….is truly an experience. Hearing the coaches thank each other and be right next to players that are getting emotional as they run onto the field.
I doubt I’ll ever give up play-by-play for sideline reporting, but this was definitely something I’ll never forget.
Highlights of the night:
- I saw a fellow broadcaster and radio host on the sideline of the game who I just know through social media. He paid me a great compliment when he told me that I was “very funny on Twitter.”
- I had the privilege of working with veteran broadcaster Melvin Wooten on his final football broadcast. He’s been calling games for Leake Academy since 2003. And he had a great game to call for his last one. The coach even game him the game ball following the broadcast.
- I owe a huge thank you to Leake Academy head coach Brian Pickens for warning me of the impeding Gatorade shower. I was interviewing him on the field following the game and he spotted the players headed our way with the cooler and warned me to get out of the way. Listen to that audio here.