|Photo by Bill Rhodes|
Got my derby start in Feb 2006 when longtime friend Bone Crawford (Gotham) invited me to the first Dust Devil. Asked Roxy Rockett if she was a derby girl when I was getting on the plane, I was that guy. I fell in love with derby and the amazingly cool people involved. Went to every Carolina bout I could after that and was a volunteer as well doing track work. Started recognizing people at the Skate Ranch in Raleigh from Wilmington and one day at a beach bar, was asked by one of the players (Eso) if I would like to help with the Cape Fear team. Duh!!! As we worked towards our first bout, CFRG asked me if I would announce the game. I had never been an announcer or ever done any work with my voice sans playing the dj making mix tapes as a kid. Although I really wanted to be a coach, I reluctantly said yes to the announcer gig. The next trips to Raleigh I paid close attention to Rockerboy and the crew and got some tutelage from Bob Noxious. On bout day, Professor Lou Botomy escaped from inside me and we have been running amuck ever since.
A few bouts into my new life path, Bull Lee asked me to announce a game for a team named Rogue from Fayetteville. No way I could say no to that. So my travel life as a derby announcer now has its cornerstone. With teams sprouting up everywhere and very few derby announcers, it was nearly assured I get busier in the future. I said to Durga (RDD) early into year 2, " I really want to get where I am doing 30 games a year". Be careful, sometimes you get what you wish for. Nearly did that by the end of the year. One year I was juggling 14 teams. At the end of this year alone, I will have done 41 events. (41 events= 70 games announced and 5 coached) Does that mean I travel a lot? 4 events in my home town this year, you figure it out. Since that first bout, I have announced games from Long Island, NY to Florida and almost every state in between. Won't even get into the number of cities and venues. Hope to add a few more to that this year.
As a derby announcer I have a mantra, make the players look good and keep the fans as informed as needed. It is not about me. (why I don't really like being announced that much or tell people who I am while announcing) I try to say every player's name during the game if I can, although they don't hear it most of the time. They do hear their name if they are being sent to the penalty box and I mention it, and do make sure to thank me for that later. I do try to keep the fans informed while trying not to be too long winded. Run too long on any one thing and they tune you out.
I have always loved playing sports and being active. I like to play more than watch, I like to be involved. I was being scouted for a full ride to college as a soccer player when my knee was destroyed. I tried to play for a couple more years rec style but the knee just wouldn't hold up. Luckily I found surfing a few years later and is still one of my loves 23 years down the road. Knees are starting not to like that much either though. I purchased some quads not long after I got into derby. I took a bad spill one night while dreaming of starting a mens derby team and my knee did not work the next morning when I got out of bed. My quads were retired soon afterward in hopes to being able to surf for another 15 years.
When I was young, my Dad would take the family to many pro baseball games. (Dodgers, Brewers) These are great memories. A couple years after I started announcing derby, I went by the local baseball team to see if they needed an announcer and they did. Have been working with them for three years now. So every summer I get to think about our family at the ballparks when I was a kid and times were simpler. Thank you derby.
I announce the way I do because I love the game and get excited about it. Some say I go a little gonzo and that is fine with me. I get to talk about amazing athletes and work with them on a regular basis. Better yet, I get to know these same athletes personally. I get to see creative minds working at their best in and out of derby. Through derby, I have met some incredible people and become a better person myself. If you cant get excited about that, well, I just don't know...
I am very lucky to have found derby and been given a place in this wonderful community.
If you have an announcer that needs love, make a suggestion!