Public-address announcers can enhance the atmosphere at high school athletic events. They bring excitement to the students, allow spectators to hear specific events, and can create a finished touch to any gymnasium or stadium event. With careful crafting of public-address scripts, announcers can also promote school departments and programs by focusing on three things: sponsorship, safety and sportsmanship.
Sponsorship and Promotion of School Activities
School administrators are always looking for ways to promote their programs. One of the ways they can maximize promotion is through the review of public-address scripts. Public-address announcers will always welcome people to contests, but they can do more. A good rule is to always review public-address scripts with administrators. Are there certain things that can be added to draw attention to other programs?
For instance, a football announcer may be able to call out the next school drama performance date, highlight a student deserving of acknowledgement on a more public stage, or draw attention to a particular staff member of the week. Students outside of a specific sport may want to draw attention to their efforts such as teams that want to gather food or clothes for the next community drive.
Schools can promote their relationships with local businesses. Many businesses want to be associated with schools as it is a direct link to community youth. Although each school community will have different levels of financial sponsorship available, having your public-address announcer recognize those businesses that financially help the school is a great way for the businesses to feel a part of the community.
Furthermore, sharing the sponsored business name at a game can also increase the desire for more businesses to become financial sponsors. It only takes one additional sentence in the public-address announcer’s script to state: “If you would like to join our supportive business community, be sure to contact the athletic department for sponsorship opportunities.”
Clarifying Safety Procedures
If public-address announcers only announce scores, they are missing an opportunity to familiarize spectators with school safety measures. When spectators attend professional sporting events, the public-address announcer always reviews safety procedures and evacuation routes with spectators. In high school athletics, it is not uncommon for public-address announcers to skip these announcements; however, it is more important today in our ever- changing high school athletic climate.
Reviewing public-address scripts to add, amend or update emergency procedures should be done on a seasonal basis. Some of the items to include in public-address scripts can be identified by asking a series of questions:
Another aspect of safety is to plan for an electrical emergency. This involves preparing your public-address announcer by making sure he or she has the appropriate materials. If the power goes out in a facility, public-address announcers should have quick access to a megaphone and flashlight so that they can help announce any specific emergency protocols before administration or law enforcement arrives to help.
If a power outage occurs, it is imperative that the public-address announcer understands the importance and limitations of his or her role. Unnecessary or unknown information can create panic in a crowd, so these individuals must stay with the script. An example can be as simple as, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have experienced a power outage, please remain in your seats for your safety until further directions are given.”
Sportsmanship Starts Here
Although many schools send out game management plans to visiting schools explaining what can and what cannot go on in certain facilities, the public-address announcer plays a key role in the sharing of sportsmanship expectations. Before each game, the public-address announcer should explain the expectations of the school, league and even the state association in regard to sportsmanship. If the school promotes sportsmanship as its highest priority, it should be shared with the crowd. Announcements can be crafted in a way that encourage good sportsmanship:
Our school and the schools of our league and state believe in keeping our school environment welcoming for all. We would like to remind everyone that our school athletic events are classrooms where are students are learning how to lead with positive character. Please respect our officials, staff and coaches by refraining from derogatory comments, actions or gestures that may offend others. Violations of good sportsmanship may lead to removal from the event. Thank you for your cooperation in making our school the best it can be.
Just as an announcement, such as this one can create a better environment, it is also imperative that the public-address announcer welcome the “guest” team and spectators and wish luck to both sides before the game begins.
In addition, the end of the game is also an important time to not only recognize the victors, but to celebrate the accomplishments of both teams. A short announcement such as, “Thanks to all for coming out tonight, let’s have a round of applause for both teams in appreciation of their efforts,” can go a long way in showing school communities that schools value all students regardless of outcome.
Public-address announcers will not be able to address every school situation; however, reviewing public-address scripts can give announcers a more defined role in creating a positive educational environment. By examining public-address scripts for opportunities to include sponsorship, safety and sportsmanship school administrators can maximize school benefits and make school athletic events better for all.
Dr. Steve Amaro, CMAA, is a teacher, coach and athletic director at Freedom High School in Oakley, California. He is a member of the High School Today Publications Committee.