Friday, February 18, 2011

A Great Day (and Night) of Hockey

This guy knew a thing or two over 57 years about public address announcing...

Yesterday was a hockey double-header for me.  It started at the Dorothy Hamill Rink, where I was to provide live updates for the Greenwich/St. Joe's boys' game.  It ended at Madison Square Garden, with the Rangers and Kings.

Yes, I said "updates."  No play-by-play.  Of course that never pleases me, but I can only do what I am assigned to do.  As such, one door closed and another one opened...

I was speaking with Dave Fierro, a friend and a staff writer at the Greenwich Time, who was also there to cover the game, when Lou, a Hamill Rink staffer who would be running the scoreboard, asked who was going to be the official scorer.  At the same time, we lamented that there would be no public address announcer.  For once, I spoke up...

"I'll do it if you want."

A few minutes later, I had a microphone in my hand.

It was a blast.  While we didn't do player introductions or the National Anthem, I announced all of the penalties, goals (a 5-3 St. Joe's win), and other pertinent information, including the 50-50 raffle.

I would do it again in a heart beat.  Being down that close gave me a whole different look at the sport.  The pure speed and beauty were on display.  For me, as the one who has reported the news to "the masses" for so long now, it was still a little intimidating to be doing so to the 100 or so assembled in the rink.  My style - not shockingly - was to not be a screamer.  Keep it simple.  Announce the goal, maybe inflect a little more so for Greenwich, and stay out of the way.

Oh, and maybe work in a shameless plug or two for our broadcasts on WGCH.

It also gave me a new perspective on the job of a PA announcer.  It's not completely easy, but with some organization, it can get easy.  I listened to each thing that the officials told me and made notes to repeat to the crowd.  I made sure it was all prepared.  Then I spoke.

"Cardinal goal, scored by number 15, Eric...Macken.  With an assist to number 23, Oscar...Ladd.  Time of the goal: 13:04.  That's Macken, from Ladd, at 13:04."

I got a few compliments as I left the rink.  Not bad for my first time as a varsity public address announcer.  Plus my name is on the official scoresheet from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

From there, I jumped on a train at Port Chester and met up with Carrie two blocks away from the World's Most Famous Arena.  We had a nice dinner of appetizers across the street from the Garden and saw a fun game between the Rangers and the LA Kings.  The Rangers got a shootout victory, winning 4-3 (2-1 in the shootout).  Honestly, I'd debate if they deserved the win because every time they stepped up, the Kings came right back and The King allowed a few "cheapies."  Yet they should have won in regulation.

Those in charge of the three stars of the game had the smarts to not be swayed by Hank getting his 200th career victory (a mere 400 or so behind Martin Brodeur), instead going with Dustin Brown (3rd - two goals), Marian Gaborik (2nd - a goal), and Ryan Callahan (1st - one goal, two assists and played his heart out.  He will be the captain, sooner if not later).

My friend The Graying Mantis wrote about the game at The Dark Ranger.

I enjoyed the Rangers game, one of the better ones I've been at, but that was enhanced so much more by the fun I had with Carrie.  We seem to be coming together and getting closer all the time - and understanding each other so well.  Mostly, we spent the night laughing, which is something that we both need to do. 

We'd like to personally thank the couple sitting behind us for the entertainment that they provided.  Let's just say that the topic was things that are emotional and unemotional between two adults. 

And lies. 

Not really something you want to battle about at Madison Square Garden, complete with meltdowns, tears, accusations, and more.  It was good stuff - so long as it's not you.  A perfect train wreck that we couldn't stop listening to.

We laughed about it (and more) all the way back to Brooklyn and all throughout today.

Give me that kind of night any time.

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