Announcing High School Football

 I was in the TV production class at Woodland Hills High School and was picked to be the commentator for the football games.

At first, I was flattered to be picked for such a celebrity job, but when I was put on the air I soon found it was a lot harder than I had thought it would be.

The first time I was on the air I was not prepared and had nothing to say.

I froze.

I knew practically everything there was to know about football, but I did not know about the teams that were playing.  Fortunately, my co-announcer was there to bail me out.

When I watched the tape after the game, I realized I was listening to an hour and a half of myself agreeing with everything someone else said.  At that point, all I could think or hope was that no one saw the tape other than the people in that room.

I learned three things about sports commentating that day.

First, I learned that I must be prepared and know all of my information, such as who is playing, what is the team or player record, who both teams or players played prior to each other, how they did, etc.

The truth is, it takes more hard work than raw talent to speak on television.  I guarantee that there is more work in it than anyone expects

The work for one event starts the minute the press releases come out from the past event. I have to read, copy and remember all of the information that pertains to my event.

Second, I learned that I needed to avoid stating the obvious.  One of the first things I learned about announcing an event on television is that people can see it.  I should not tell the people what they just saw.

My research is not just for a pregame show but for the whole game. I learned to explain what is happening, not describe it.

The announcer should always try to tell the audience what they do not know.  For instance, if a player catches the ball, I should not state that he caught the ball, but that it was his 10th catch of the day.  I should also be saying that he got a first down or how far the team has to go to get it.

Finally, I learned to say things that are productive Everything I say, I should be able to build a conversation on.

There are two sides to "productive."

If something negative happens, I try to explain why it happened and how it can be improved.  If something positive happens, I avoid using adjectives such as "great" and amazing, but I give the explanation and let the audience decide  if it was great or if it was typical.

After reading this, if anyone still thinks this job is peaches and cream, think of this: I have 10 seconds before I go on TV, and all of my friends and family are watching.

Even if I did my job and retrieved all the information, I am not sure I will know what to say, or how or when to say it.

The countdown begins "five," and my heart is racing faster than Jeff Gordon. At "three," my hands begin to shake and my throat clogs. What do I do? How do I handle it?

As I would say on television, "This is Daniel Tate for Woodland Hills High School TV signing off."