West Fork Nation

In 2010-2011, the West Fork Warhawk boys basketball team was undefeated, 27-0, and won a state championship. While most will look at them as just another great team, they were more than that. They were what a community needed to jell together.

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The lead up to the 2010-11 West Fork basketball season was big, as all are in the community. It was the 3rd year since S-C-M-T and Rockwell-Swaledale merged together to create one school district in West Fork. Jordan Nelson was the head coach and had led the S-C-M-T Spartans to two start tournaments in 2005 and 2008. While the Warhawks had success in the first two seasons, they fell short of their ultimate goal. In their first season, they lost twice to Garner-Hayfield, including in the district final. The next year they were dominant, but fell again in the district final to Wapsie Valley. Goals were at an all-time high for 10-11, West Fork was coming off a great football season where they made the playoffs for the first time ever, The Warhawks were also returning 4 starters on the basketball court led by 6’9 senior Seth Tuttle who had already signed with the University of Northern Iowa. Add in 6’8 sophomore Payton Plagge and you had a big man duo that most 2A teams could not compete against. As I said, goals were high, but goals are just goals unless you reach for them, not only did they reach their goals, the snatched respect from a state, that had questions of where West Fork was, and why an eating utensil would be broken down into directions.

 

The season started with a win over North Iowa, A Bison team that would qualify for the 1A tournament the very next year. Then a matchup with non-conference rival Garner-Hayfield. The Cardinals always have good team and are always well coached. West Fork won the game 61-53 behind a triple-double from Tuttle with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. The Warhawks would roll through to the Christmas break with dominant wins over Northwood-Kensett, Central Springs, Saint Ansgar, Riceville and Newman. Coming out of the break the Warhawks would have their biggest challenge in school history, a road trip to face Class 4A Mason City. That year, the Mohawks had a competitive 4A team, they weren’t winning all their games, but they were playing with some of the best teams in the CIML. The Warhawk fans packed the Mohawk gym and from the get go The Warhawks showed Mason City they were a force. West Fork would build a 10 point lead a look comfortable, but then Mason City would get on a run and cut the lead right back down to 2 points. The Warhawks would do that a few more times, and again the Mohawks would fight right back into it. Mason City snatched the lead away late 75-74 and it look as if the turnovers (West Fork had 22) were going to bite them. With 10 seconds left West Fork called a timeout to set up a game winning play. The Warhawks got it into point guard Tyler Larson who drove to the free throw line, rose up for a jumper…..and dropped it off to Tuttle…who laid the ball in with 4 seconds to play for the game winner, 76-75 Warhawks win, Tuttle announced to the Mason City student section that his team had arrived with a massive roar. It also announced to all of north Iowa that this team was more than what they had been in the past. They refused to lose to anyone, no matter how big a school. The large crowd for West Fork was a factor, they and the Mohawk fans helped to create a tournament like atmosphere. And after the game, when asked about the West Fork fans, Tuttle called them the West Fork nation. The term stuck and the fans felt as if just by being there, they gave their team something extra. They were the 6th man clad in black.

The big win over the Mohawks turned into momentum, The Warhawks got back to being dominant with wins over Rockford, Belmond-Klemme, Central Springs and Northwood-Kensett. On Coaches vs Cancer night at Hampton-Dumont, Tuttle poured in 31 points, helping West Fork overcome 21 turnovers against a pesky H-D team. Snow storms had an impact on that season, forcing many postponements. The next week West Fork played 4 games in 5 days, while the final scores were not of the dominant nature, they were wins and by the end of the regular season, West Fork was 20-0, Corn Bowl Conference Champions and heading into the postseason. A postseason that had tormented the Warhawks the previous two seasons. But something about this team was different, they had a quiet confidence about them and they now had a West Fork nation that would follow them anywhere, and follow they did. 

It would be wrong to not acknowledge another factor in the Warhawks run to perfection, and that was that the girls were also on a run of their own. West Fork upset #9 AGWSR in the regional semifinals and defeated Wapsie Valley in Regional Finals to punch their own ticket to state. Excitement in the school and community was at a level that cannot be measured. The two teams pushed each other and supported each other. The boys team filled the student section during the girls games and in turn the girls did the same for the boys. West Fork was not only becoming a force on the floor, but a force off of it. Basketball was uniting this community. The Lady Warhawks fell in the first round at state to a very good Roland-Story team.

The 2A postseason tournament started much like the regular season did, a home matchup with Garner-Hayfield. West Fork got 21 from Payton Plagge and 18 from Tuttle and 13 from Jace Winfrey. The first step was out of the way, and home court advantage was gone. It would be neutral sites from here on out. Next up was the district final, the round that bounced the Warhawks the previous two seasons. It would be at Clear Lake, facing a very talented Lake Mills team. It was a cold day, the temp outside could not have been more than 10 above zero. As broadcasters, we like to be there plenty early to set up things and to get settled in, the calm before the storm if you will. When we rolled up to the Clear Lake gym the storm had already started. It was 5:00 pm, tip was at 7:00 pm and the doors to public opened at 6:00 pm. We figured we would be the only ones there, except for some administrators and such, we were wrong. Over 100 West Fork fans were bundled up and lined up outside the doors. The team had not even boarded the bus in Sheffield, but the nation was at a fever pitch, cold would not turn them away. When the doors open they filed in and warmed up, when the team took the floor they let out a massive roar that let their team know they were there. The team responded, they jumped out early, The Bulldog did not have an answer for the big man duo. Tuttle had another triple double (11 pts, 11 boards and 10 blocks) Jace Winfrey and Tyler Larson each had 12. And midway through the 3rd, Tuttle would take the ball on the right wing, drive to the hoop and with a thunderous dunk send the nation into a frenzy. The district final demons were gone, The Warhawks were a game from their ultimate goal, the only team standing in their way was Dike-New Hartford.

Out of the NICL-East the Wolverines were good, and battle tested. They were led by an outstanding point guard in Eric Joblinske, who now is playing baseball at Texas A&M, They had a nice forward in Lance Welsh and size with Sean Morgan and pesky freshman guard named Carson Parker. It would also be a matchup of not only great basketball teams, but two schools who will pack the gym to support their team. The 2A substate final would be played at Cedar Falls High School, another 4A gym. We knew it would be a madhouse, so myself and Cory Borcherding made the effort to be there early. I think we were there around 4:30, again, we were not alone. We would be greeted by the nation, almost 200 deep in a line that went from the doors to the gym, down the stairs, across sidewalk and down street. It was a line filled with Warhawks and Wolverines, it was 2 blocks long and may have reached as long as 3 blocks. As the fans filed in, the gym filled….and filled some more…..and filled to the point where there were no more seats. The gym was filled to capacity, those left standing in line were turned away. The ball had not gone in the air yet, and the teams had not taken the floor for warm-ups. 

The game could not have started worse for the Warhawks, DNH got up early and took it right at West Fork. It was 15-5 Wolverines after the quarter. Thats when head coach Jordan Nelson got in Tuttle’s ear and simply asked him when he was going to start playing. Play he did, the Warhawks hung around in the 2nd and a Tyler Larson buzzer beater jumper kept the Wolverine lead at 10 going to the locker room. West Fork cut the lead to 7 going to 4th. The start of the 4th it was all DNH, as they amassed a 45-36 lead, But West Fork was not going to go quietly. The Warhawks continued to chip away, Tuttle was could not be stopped inside and the lead continued to dwindle for DNH. At 45-43, a steal led to a Jace Winfrey layup to tie the game at 45. A Tyler Larson steal and pass ahead to Jordan Hubka gave West Fork their first lead at 47-45. West Fork ended the game on a 15-0 run. And punched the ticket to state 51-45. The come back was complete, a goal was reached. The Warhawks were headed to Des Moines.

West Fork was the #2 seed despite their 24-0 record. PCM, Monroe had a 25-0 record and the #1 seed due to more wins over 3A competition. The first round opponent was Fort Dodge St.Edmond, a team that year in and year out were at the state tournament. the Gaels were led by Nick Clark, a junior guard who averaged almost 20 points per game. Their staple was their defense, The Gaels always have and always will have athletes. The game tipped off at 12:05 pm and the Gael fans and Warhawk fans each had their sides full. Neither team came out with any jitters. West Fork led by 1 at half as the Gaels had no answer for Tuttle and Plagge in the paint. St. Edmond would take a 34-32 lead going into the final quarter. West Fork would snatch the lead back. Up by 2, Payton Plagge got a steal, lobbed it ahead to Jordan Hubka who missed the layup, but Tuttle followed it up with a dunk to push the lead to four and ignite the West Fork nation. Nick Clark would silence the crowd at the other end with a 3 to cut it back to 1. Plagge would answer at the other end to push the lead back to 3, Clark would answer for the Gaels to cut it back to 1. WIth 13 seconds left St. Edmond’s Anthony Flattery missed a layup that would have give the Gaels the lead, Tuttle went to the line and hit two. The Gaels had chance to tie but Clarks 3 came up short and West Fork won 48-45, keeping their season alive.

In the next round the Warhawks faced North Cedar. The Knights were led by Jordan Hay, who averaged 24 points per game, and they also had the size inside to battle with Tuttle and Plagge. This game however, was over early. Nate Plagge opened the game with a 3, followed by a Tyler Larson 3. The lead built, 8-0, 12-0, 15-0, 17-0….it was 17-1 after the quarter, 33-10 at half. West Fork was proving on a state wide stage that they were not a fluke, they were not a one or two man show. They were the real deal, In the end the Warhawks beat the Knights 64-35, setting up a date with two time defending state champion Western Christian in the final.

Now, Western was the favorite, they had size with 6’10 David Denherder and 6’8 Dillan Moss and they had skill in senior forward Tyler Wolterstorff. Wolterstorff averaged 19 a game, Westerns only two losses on the year were to Lemars and Heelan. (Heelan would win the 3A title that year) Western coach Jim Eekhoff was going for his 7th title, to try to equal that of Paul Moon of Davenport Central. When Western made the title game, they didn’t lose, 6-0 in title games. 

I remember the morning of that game, we were in the hotel with the team just trying to kill some time. You see, this team took us as broadcasters in as part of the team. They did not have to, We never asked them to. But they wanted us to be around them. We stayed out of their way when it came to preparation, but it was fun to just sit and talk and get to know them as people and not just kids in a uniform. We (myself and Cory Borcherding) were in our room watching the ACC tournament when Tuttle and some of the other players just walked in and sat down. You wouldn’t know it by the way they acted, but they were about to play in the biggest game of their lives. They all acted like it was just another game, that winning or losing did not matter, they had proven to themselves and to the state that they belonged there. I had to kick them out after awhile to allow myself time to prepare and to allow them the same. As Tuttle walked out of our room, he turned to us and said, someone is going to beat those guys, it might as well be us. He walked away, myself and my partner looked at each other and after 5 minutes of silence, we both agreed, something special was about to happen.

The problem with a state title game is there is no flow, you start late, there are television timeouts and just when you start getting up and down it feels like you have to stop. The kids aren’t used to it, the coaches aren’t used to it. The 2A final started with a Western 3 by Matt Wenstra, the Warhawks would lead by 2 in the 1st. Late in the 1st the Wolfpack would hit a 3 with JD Boer to go up 4, but Tyler Larson would answer and it was a 1 point game after the quarter. Larson’s shot served as notice, no matter what you throw at us, we are going to keep coming. Larson would hit a 3 again early in the 2nd to put West Fork up 16-14, a Hubka jumper made it 18-14, and 18-16, Hunter Clausen hit a 3 to make it 21-16. West Fork was taking it to Western and Seth Tuttle had not done alot, another 3 by Larson with 1:30 to go in the half made it 29-20, was West Fork going to pull away from the 2 time defending champs? No, Western closed the half on a 4-0 run and West Fork led by 5 at halftime. 

In the 3rd quarter, every time Western would cut into the Warhawk lead there was answer, A jumper by Wolterstorff cut the lead to one, but Tuttle hit two free throws, the Clausen buried another three and all of sudden the lead was back to 6. Western battled back again and Jacob Granstra hit a layup at the buzzer of the third, West Fork still led by 2.

Going to the 4th it was pins and needles, the Warhawk fans knew they were close, but also had seen how good Western was. I felt that Western always thought they were going to win the game. The fourth quarter, the two best players on the floor took the ball game over. Tuttle would score, Wolterstorff would answer, Tuttle would score again, Wolterstorff would answer again. With 3:36 to play Wolterstorff was fouled on a layup, the free throw tied the game at 48-48. Wolterstorff would finally give Western the lead at 50-49 on a free throw with 2:55 to play. Tuttle hit a layup to put the Warhawks back up 51-50. After a Wolterstorff miss Tuttle was fouled, made 1 of 2 to give the Warhawks a 52-50 lead with :15 seconds to play. While West Fork led, this game was destined for more. With four seconds left, while being defended by Jace Winfrey, Tyler Wolterstorff hit what looked like an impossible shot to tie the game at 52. West Fork called timeout, Larson would get off a 3 quarter court shot that hit just about every part of the rim and went out, which is probably good cause I would have flipped the broadcast table over. The game was going to overtime. Western had new life, but West Fork never flinched.

West Fork ran the first two minutes of overtime off the clock on their first possession, after turning it over Wolterstorff missed two free throws, at the other end Tuttle hit a layup and was fouled, the free throw made it 55-52 with 1:02 to go. With 26 seconds left Western got it back to 1 on a pair of free throws and it appeared disaster, Tuttles inbounds pass was stolen, Dustin Douma had a free layup for the lead which he missed and Tuttle snatched the rebound and was fouled. The entire West Fork crowd just about fainted, Tuttles free throws put West Fork up 3, Wolterstorff would miss a lay up and Tuttle went to the line to ice the game with :06 left. The first free throw was short, the 2nd one on the money. Tuttle would steal the ball away as Western came into the front court, he launched the ball into the air hoping it would come down as the horn sounded, it did. West Fork had done it, they had knocked off Western Christian and won the state title, 60-56 in overtime. Tuttle finished with 27 points, he was outdone by Wolterstorff who put his team on his back and scored 34. Plagge and Larson each had 11 points, but the key was Hunter Clausen, he had 6 points on 2 threes, but they came at crucial points of the game when West Fork was extending a lead and when Western was cutting into one. Plagge was named to the 2A All-Tournament team as was Tuttle, Tuttle was named the captain. The goal had been reached, the mountain had been climbed, the impossible had become possible.

Why was West Fork’s state title in 2011 so important that it deserved its own dedicated blog here today? The most important reason is because the success that team had that year sent waves through the community. SCMT and Rockwell-Swaledale were rivals, and when rivals are forced to come together, feelings can be bitter. While this occured in the 3rd year of the sharing agreement, those 3 words, West Fork Nation, unified everyone. Nobody was a Spartan or a Rebel, they were Warhawks. The time for bickering and complaining about this or that was over, it was time to move on. Change is hard, especially when it is something that is all you have known for generations. But a basketball team calmed that tension and people who probably never would have spent time together, did. That is what sports does, as much as it can tear things apart, it has a unifying power to it.

Did they have to win the state title to do that? No, that job was done before they ever stepped a foot on the court at Wells Fargo. The title was for them, to put West Fork on the map and earn respect from teams that had made Des Moines their late winter vacation getaway or years. No longer would West Fork be looked at as that whole grade sharing agreement school in north Iowa with the goofy name.

Teams at West Fork will come and go, the 12-13 team added another trophy to the case with a runner-up finish last year, they are off to another great start this year. More trophies and banners will be in the West Fork gym as years go by. But the 10-11 team will never be forgotten, not only were they great basketball players and brought a community together, these guys were super heros. Kids want to be Seth Tuttle and Payton Plagge and Tyler Larson and Jace Winfrey and the list goes on and on. Kids saw what they did and it was real life! Not like watching Lebron and Kobe on TV, who needs them when your superstar lives right down the block and mows his parents lawn and will probably play h-o-r-s-e with you if all you do is ask? To me, more than anything, THAT is what made that team special, and that is what I will always remember

 

 

NEW Girls and Boys hoops rankings

Good Afternoon Friends and Foes,

I just want to thank all of you who read my last blog and were so complimentary of it as well as what I do for a living. This blog thing is a new endeavor for me and I am really enjoying it and I am glad that folks are giving it a read. It really does mean alot.

Its been a little while since I have posted girls basketball rankings so we will add the girls in today as well as the boys rankings. Again these rankings are just my opinion

Girls Basketball Rankings

Class 1A

1. Burlington, Notre Dame (6-0)

2. Newell-Fonda (8-0)

3. Colo-Nesco (10-0)

4. Stanton (9-0)

5. Murray (7-0)

6. Ar-We-Va (5-1)

7. Dunkerton (8-1)

8. Lynnville-Sully (9-1)

9. Winfield-Mt. Union (8-1)

10. Bedford (7-1)

Class 2A

1. Western Christian (8-0)

2. Cascade (8-0)

3. Fort Dodge St. Edmond (9-0)

4. Manson-NW Webster (7-1)

5. Hinton (9-0)

6. South Central Calhoun (9-0)

7. North Linn (8-0)

8. Iowa Valley (7-0)

9. Dike-New Hartford (7-1)

10. South Hardin (8-0)

 

Class 3A

1. MOC-Floyd Valley (9-0)

2. Bondurant-Farrar (9-0)

3. Mediapolis (7-0)

4. Williamsburg (8-1)

5. Clear Lake (7-1)

6. Crestwood (7-1)

7. Unity Christian (8-1)

8. Red Oak (7-2)

9. Osage (8-0)

10. Hampton-Dumont (7-2)

 

Class 4A

1. Harlan (6-0)

2. Bishop Heelan (8-0)

3. Western Dubuque (7-1)

4. Ballard (8-2)

5. Perry (7-1)

6. Cedar Rapids Xavier (6-3)

7. Dallas Center-Grimes (6-2)

8. Grinnell (7-1)

9. Davenport Assumption (6-3)

10. North Scott (7-2)

 

Class 5A

1. Iowa City High (10-0)

2. WDM Valley (8-0)

3. Waukee (7-0)

4. Waterloo West (8-1)

5. WDM Dowling (6-1)

6. Mason City (6-1)

7. Ankeny Centennial (6-2)

8. Des Moines East (8-1)

9. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (7-1)

10. Ames (6-2)

Girls Thoughts:

How good is the Twin Lakes Conference this year? Manson NWW, Newell-Fonda, South Central Calhoun, Storm Lake St. Marys and Pocahontas Area? That is an unreal girls basketball conference this year. 

Harlan is head and shoulders about the rest in Class 4A, but don’t be fooled by Cedar Rapids Xavier and Davenport Assumptions records. 

Dike-New Hartford suffered their first loss of the season to Crestwood on Saturday. I was very impressed with both teams. 2A from top to bottom is so loaded with talent this year.

Even with graduating 3 starters, Western Christian is still averaging 77 points a game.

Burlington, Notre Dame is unbeaten in 1A and are winning by an average of 50 points per game …that is serious

BOYS RANKINGS

Class 1A

1. West Lyon (7-0)

2. Dunkerton (6-0)

3. Keota (7-0)

4. Newell-Fonda (8-0)

5. Belmond-Klemme (6-0)

6. Lamoni (7-0)

7. Nodaway Valley (6-0)

8. Jesup (6-0)

9. Lemars Gehlen (9-0)

10. B-G-M, Brooklyn (7-0)

 

Class 2A

1. Western Christian (6-0)

2. West Fork (5-0)

3. New Hampton (5-0)

4. Kuemper Catholic (5-1)

5. IKM-Manning (7-0)

6. Treynor (6-1)

7. Fort Dodge St. Edmond (7-0)

8. East Sac County (5-1)

9. North Cedar (6-2)

10. Cascade (7-0)

 

Class 3A

1. Harlan (7-0)

2. Clear Lake (7-0)

3. Carroll (6-1)

4. Central Clinton, Dewitt (6-0)

5. Solon (5-1)

6. Grinnell (4-1)

7. Dallas Center-Grimes (7-1)

8. Lemars (5-2)

9. Pella (5-2)

10. Fort Madison (6-0)

Class 4A

1. Iowa City West (7-0)

2. Bettendorf (6-0)

3. Sioux City North (9-1)

4. Dubuque Senior (6-0)

5. Ankeny Centennial (8-0)

6. Des Moines North (7-0)

7. North Scott (8-0)

8. Des Moines Roosevelt (5-2)

9. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (5-1)

10. Sioux City East (6-2)

Boys Thoughts:

Sioux City North drops to #3 after falling to Omaha South before Christmas, Iowa City West vaults to #1. West, Bett and North are most likely the 3 best teams in the state regardless of class. Harlan could probably compete too.

Van Meter at 10-0 not in top 10 in 2A, nothing against them, but there was no movement in 2A. Cascade at #10 is probably a little bit low. They will continue to climb as the year goes on.

Iowa Falls-Alden senior Casey Schlatter continues to lead the state in scoring at 36 ppg. Had 41 Friday night in a loss to Humboldt.

Jeremy Deemer of Lamoni leads the state in rebounding with 17 boards a game…..he also averages 25 ppg. Talk about being active

Thats all for this week, take care and thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

The Life of a Play By Play announcer

I had always thought about writing this, one of my friends Don Wadewitz did it first and gave me the idea to do the same. If you love Sportscasting or really good, up and coming Sports Broadcasters, I urge you to follow Don on Twitter @Donwadewitz

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Flattering? Right?

 

Good Afternoon Friends and Foes,

I hope this blog finds you enjoying your New Year. We are only 2 days into the New Year and already I am sure all of you are back in the gym, have quit smoking and already have changed your lives completely per your New Years resolutions. I have never made New Years resolutions, if you want to change something, do it now! 

I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten the compliments of how good the broadcast sounds or how much excitement I bring to a broadcast. And while those compliments are always appreciated, The actual broadcast, is the easiest part of the broadcast. There are hours of work that goes into every game or match that I do. Now, I am not saying my job is harder than yours, not even close. It is 4 degrees outside here in Iowa today, I am working inside, there are some guys who are outside. My job is easy on my body! Just like all of our jobs, its different. Here is a little run down of how a day in the life of Jeff Moss is.

1) Wake Up!

As we go on throughout this day, you will understand how hard this task is. I know its tough for everyone. When that alarm goes off, you would pay actual money to hit the snooze for 15 more minutes. Whats nice for me is my hours at work have changed a little this year. I come in a little later in the morning, so I do not need to get out of bed til 8:30 or 9:00 AM. I am not gonna lie, its nice getting that extra sleep. 

2) Head to work

I have the luxury of living in the same town I work in, so while many sportscasters may have to travel an hour or more to even get to work, it takes me around…..5 minutes to get from doorstep to office. It is something I totally take for granted and I really shouldn’t. There are mornings I have woke up literally 10 minutes before I have to be at work and have made it on time. Before I came to Hampton, IA I worked in Atlantic, IA….and my apartment was a block from the radio station. These are two luxuries that I assume I will NEVER have in my broadcasting life ever again. So…we have no arrived at work, I usually try to arrive around 9:30 to 9:45 AM……try is the key word there….My work as a play by play man is a little different than some…or most. I work an on air shift at my radio station. So when I come in there are some pieces of ad copy that need to be done for that day and some other things that I have to record for that morning. Once I get those things out of the way I can begin sports preparation.

3) Stories

Hey all you young sports broadcasters, do you want to be a great writer as well? Work at a local station with a dedication to local sports and local news. While many stations have become rip and read, that is not the same at the local level. While there are some stories we rip, 85% to 90% of our stories are written in house. By the time I am sitting down to write, I am writing stories for three days from now. Usually they will be game previews as well as pieces on former athletes or things going on in the community (ie…Silent Auction Cake Walk and Alumni Basketball game). Wait, that is not the type of writing your college professor said you would be doing? Well those are the type of things that matter for people in your community. Its not hard hitting stuff, but it is what is happening. The news is no more real in Hampton, IA than it is in New York City.

4) Prep Work and Phone Calls

After working ahead I finally get to work on things for today. But not until we have to do some more working ahead, and that means calling high school athletic directors to let them know you will be coming to their site to call a ball game. I will usually call a week ahead of the game to let them know we will be there. Its just a courtesy. If you were going to go see a friend, would you just drop by unannounced? Well that depends on the friend I guess…but I wouldn’t. Id let them know I was planning on stopping by. And I will tell you this from experience, the more you call and let them know you are coming, the more and more AD’s will just leave your space open regardless if you are there or not. There are some people who do not call at all, Ill let you guess where those people have to broadcast the game from or how the AD feels about them when they show up. So once we have made our calls for next weeks games, we can work on the game we will be covering tonight. Quikstatsiowa is the greatest website for broadcasters in Iowa. It has all the stats that are entered by the coaches as well as updated rosters. I may also send a text to the coaches to let them know we are coming and that Id like to talk to them after the game and also to find out if all the kids will be in uniform. When they know you care, they will care about getting you the information you need. Now, do I use all of the nuggets I compile for a ball game? Not even close! I may do an hour of pregame research and use none of it! But when I need it, I have it, and that feels really good!

5) Air shift time!

The nice thing about doing a local air shift is that there is not much live work. In fact, I am writing this blog as I sit in the studio doing a live air shift. I use this time to multi-task. While filling listeners in on the weather, birthdays, things coming up on the air, I also get more time to prep for tonight’s game and also look ahead a little bit and do some prep for games down the line. The more you can work ahead, the better off you will be for that broadcast.

6) Pack your broadcast bag

Ever gone on vacation and forgot your toothbrush? We all have! You just pick one up when you get to your destination….. Now, ever traveled two hours to do a football game and forgot your headset? For a broadcaster, there is no worse feeling. You forgot something you have to have! You may as well be a diabetic and have forgot your insulin (ok….thats a bit of a stretch)…but it is a lonely feeling. That is why I have a check list of the things I need. I open the bag with nothing in it and piece by piece I fill the bag with what I need. Then….I dump it all out and do it all over again. Some say I am neurotic, I prefer to look at it as……ok….I am neurotic! But it only takes one time to not have something you need to drive you to that point for the rest of your life. I have gotten to the point where I try to pack one bag and never take anything out of it, but when you share equipment for remotes and things need fixed, its not so easy. 

7) Travel Time!

Another thing I totally take for granted is having a station vehicle to drive. Alot of guys have to take their own car and pay for their own mileage. Like I have said before, I am lucky. If you hate driving and traveling, this job is not for you. Most of the road trips I take vary between 1 hour to 2 hours one-way. How do I pass the time? I listen to the Adam Carolla podcast. Its hilarious and It makes the drive go so much faster. 

8) Arrive early

This is something I have not been very good at this year, I guess that would be my New Years resolution. Typically I want to be 60 minutes early. Why? Because I can take my time setting things up, hang our station banner, make sure all equipment is connected properly, check in with the station, go over rosters one more time with the scorekeeper and if I have enough time, get something to drink and maybe a quick bite before the game begins. This may come as a mind blowing fact to some of my sportscaster friends, but we still use phone line and cell phone here for our broadcasts. Ever gone to a gym where you are told the phone line works and it doesn’t? Being early means you can contact the AD, who you have already talked to because you called him/her a week early to let them know you were coming….and who now may be able to get someone there to get the line working prior to the game. See what happened there? You made connections and now they are paying off for you. Imagine the feelings of the AD for the guy who didn’t even call and now wants him to fix his phone line…….Vegas took those odds of that happening off the board long ago!

9) Do the game

Like I said, this is the easy part, all you have to do is tell people what is happening. 

10) Postgame

I have gotten used to the fact that I am the least important person in the gym. And that means that I am going to have to fill in the post game to wait for the coach to come up. Now, that could be 5 minutes…it could be 20 minutes. It all depends. They will come to you when they can come to you. This is where your ability to be a story teller is crucial. Someone may be just tuning in, you can make them feel as if they never missed anything with your ability to recap. After the coach comes up, its time to get off the air and tear down. Always make sure you have everything, also nothing worse than leaving something 2 hours away that you will need again the very next night. By this time you are the last person in the gym and the last car in the parking lot. Its nice that you don’t have to worry about traffic, but walking outta that gym when its -20 and you are the only person there…can be awfully lonely.

11) Travel Home

Could be an hour, could be two….could be more if there was some snow falling while you were doing that game. Its part of the gig. Again podcasts are great to fill the void as well as late night talk radio. Of course you get back and you have to stop at the station to drop the equipment off and there may be some more production to do that begins in the morning and there may be some small things that you need to take care of.

12) Now we are actually home

Its now about 11:00 pm, we are home! Its been a long day and a long night. But its been a longer night for my girlfriend who has waited up for me. While as play by play announcers we get awards and fans who enjoy the broadcasts, most of us have someone at home who is waiting for us to come home. The Wives and significant others deserve just as much credit as any of us. We do this whole sports broadcasting thing because we love it and mostly because our significant others allow us to do it. 

 

So that is a typical day, and Ill do something very similar tomorrow….and the next day. When you see play by play guys out this winter, make sure to just say thank you. We don’t expect you to, but it makes it all just a little bit better when someone thanks us for a job that we work very hard to make sure is a job well done. But if you really think your play by play guy is special….thank their wife…..because without her support, he probably isn’t there.