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Public Address Announcers Need To
Reflect High School Sports Perspective
(November 2004)

During the Detroit Pistons run to the NBA title last spring, newspaper articles and television features began to appear about the team's public address announcer and what was becoming his trademark line, "DEE-TRIOT-BASKET-BALL!!!!!!!!!!"

Now, when a professional or collegiate team is successful, media are looking for different things to report on that are related to the team and the team's entertainment function. The Pistons' public announcer was one of many such stories.

But it also reminded me of another stark perspective difference which must exist between the entertainment and edutainment levels of athletics, and what we're doing in educational athletics.

Unfortunately, the more attention we give to public address announcers and other things outside the lines, the more we lose our focus on the education taking place between the lines. That is what should influence every aspect of our games.

The approach public address announcers must take in educational athletics is one where they're contributing to the event, but never becoming a focal point, never doing anything to evoke a response from the crowd - that's what our student-athletes do.

We don't promote ourselves as an entertainment medium, and public address announcers at our games are there to inform, not to entertain. We are certainly entertained by the actions and achievements of our student-athletes, but education comes before entertainment, and the two are never to be blended, as they often are at some levels of collegiate sports.

Even as we tolerate blaring music over the public address system during timeouts and other breaks in the action at our games, to include music in the pregame player introductions also puts us over the line into the entertainment side of sports.

The educational perspective of school sports is to be demonstrated by teacher-coaches, teacher-officials, school administrators and all parties involved with the staging of our games – even the public address announcer. It's what makes our games unique, and makes their sponsorship by schools worthwhile.

MHSAA Communications Director
John Johnson


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