Thursday, May 8, 2014

More From Behind The Microphone

I got a lot of nice compliments from announcing the 11th annual CB&I TRI - The Woodlands Triathlon on Saturday - and I appreciate every single one, but one stood out.

And that wasn't just because Lars Finanger won.

It was no more than about 10 words at the Pavillion in Northshore Park during the awards ceremony.

But knowing a little of Lars' background and where in the sports of triathlon and cycling that he's been, it spoke volumes.  (Google Lars and you'll find out.)

Again, if you don't know me, you're thinking, "Well, he'll probably let something like that get to his head."

No, not really.

I mean, you have to have a little bit of an ego to do this, but it is more out of confidence than being a braggard.

I've said often that I don't have a classically strong voice, but I just know how to use it well.

It is always nice to be asked.

Sometimes, however, you need a break, especially when you had worked seven events in the previous seven weeks.

Volte Endurance Training's Brian Jackson asked me to announce for the 8th annual BMI 5K in Conroe, which was held on Saturday, April 26th -- a race that I had one time race directed a couple of years.

It had nothing to do with the size of the event.

I just needed to get my running kind of kick-started again -- and needed to get out of town to do so.

And since I wasn't going to be around, Brian used my speaker system for the event.

Other times, you have a schedule conflict.

One race that I've announced before -- and one that I left voluntarily -- reached back out to me this week that they were considering other options.

If they moved their race to another date, which isn't necessarily an option for them, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

New opportunities are great too.

Texas 10 Series race director Willie Fowlkes and his race management team have and are giving me the opportunity to announce in new markets.

Texas 10 Boerne put me in the San Antonio market for the first time.  Really, Mark Purnell can't be everywhere!  (As I said in the Night Trail Run 15K race report, Mark does a really nice job out there announcing.)

I'll announce in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Saturday for the first time at Texas10 Plano - and will again later this year at Texas10 Fort Worth.

Florida will be new in mid-October with Florida10 Lakeland on Sunday, October 19.

It will be the first race that I fly to to announce for - kind of like Mike Reilly - as I'll work the Toughest 10K Galveston on Saturday, October 18, which is the second race of the Texas Bridge Series.

And sometimes a schedule conflict creates a new opportunity.

The second race of the 2014 Florida 10 Series was going to be on Sunday, December 14, which would have made my trip to get Waverly home from the Fall semester interesting.

Not sure how much she would have liked to have gone to Florida before making it home for Winter Break.

However, Florida10 Sarasota is now going to happen on Saturday, December 7 -- the same day as Texas10 Conroe.  That decision - for my time - will come later.

It will allow for me to do for the first time -- a Marathon Warm-Up Series race, the Finish Line Sports Sugar Land 30K on the 14th.

Jana Landry has always wanted me to do the USA Space City 10-Miler, which is typically held on the second Sunday in October.  However, I've always had a conflict -- or I've liked to run that race myself.

The Space City 10-Miler is a HARRA Fall Series race, but not in the Marathon Warm-Up Series.

I really appreciate Andy Stewart for giving me the opportunity to announce the 30K.

I'll work with Andy for the first time next month at the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Triathlon on Sunday, June 22.

Andy has been putting on road races and triathlons in the greater Houston area since the early 1980s, if not before that.

There is disappointment too in what I do - aside from having scheduling conflicts.

I don't attempt to go out and drum up business because this isn't what I do for a living.

I prefer to let my work speak for itself.  If people think I do a good job, I figure that they'll tell somebody when they know that an event is looking for an announcer.

I have a rate card (as I was advised to do this by one race director) and I share it when asked, "What do you charge?"

One event that I did last year I haven't heard back from, but I don't think it is from a lack of a quality performance.

I think that it is either that they've forgot or that their numbers aren't where it fits in their budget.

That's one disappointment.

Another is when somebody does reach out to you at the recommendation of somebody you've worked with.  You respond immediately when they ask if you'd be willing to meet with them, but they don't reach back out to you.

In either case above, knowing something is better than not knowing anything.

Actually, this works for personal friendships and relationships too.

Finally, sometimes it isn't fun to get a participant list ahead of time -- even though I need it to prepare.

Why?  I'm not friends with everybody and there are those out there who don't like me.

A few, yes, hate me.  (And they are very good friends of people who I like.  It makes those interactions a challenge because I've wondered what they've said about me - and how much the person that I like has believed it.)

It is the most rough part of what I do.

Two years ago, I got the participant list for CB&I and there were two names that I just couldn't see myself announcing their names as enthusiatically as I did everyone else.

(I saw both of those individuals last Saturday at Northshore Park.  They weren't racing, but it was a challenge to be in the same area as them.)

I've gotten better at it, but it still isn't fun.

The best medicine?  Hope that you're both working (or running in) a bigger event.

So what motivated this post?

It was Kate Looney's comment this morning - after an initial one of praise - on the CBI post from Saturday which said, "Universal Sports needs to hire you to do the live commentating on the elite marathon races. Chicago and London were awful."

When they start putting marathons on radio, maybe then.  As I don't have the face for television.  :-)

Aside from The Woodlands' Nora Wilson always putting me in the same class as Reilly (which I don't think that I deserve), my favorite comment has come from Karen Ponette-Maldonado.

"Just wanted to tell you that at Ironman Cozumel I thought of you when crossing the finish line.  LOL," she said.  "The guy there didn't say anything but "You are an Ironman" and I thought to myself, they need to hire Jon Walk!  Really!"

Now that's fun -- and puts a smile on my face.

See you at the races.

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