High School Football

I get paid to watch football games – high school football games.

High School Football - VP Band HalftimeI work in Orange, California as a public address announcer and message board operator. It is work I have been doing for more than twenty-five years.

While I was teaching at Yorba Junior High, we had ninth grade, essentially high school freshman, sports. There was a sideline platform that we used to announce both football games and track meets. Originally Norm did the announcing and I picked up from him. It was fun.

The gentleman who had been doing the announcing at the district stadium retired and it was decided to hold auditions for a replacement. I gave it a try. High School Football - VP coming on to the fieldThe audition consisted of calling several plays of a football game from a taped game on television. I don’t know how many people tried for the job but it came down to two people, Fred and I. The district couldn’t decide between us and we both got part of the job. Each of us was to do the announcing for two of the high schools.

There have been changes over the decades but I do the announcing for Orange and Canyon; Bob announces for El Modena and Bill announces for Villa Park. We cover for each other when one of us cannot make a game. It seemed that every year my Back-to-School Night fell on a Thursday game night; my principal was under the impression that B-2-S Night was more important than football so Bill covered for me.

Years ago we installed a new scoreboard with a message line. We’d put in announcements, upcoming games, penalties and cheers. It was a separate job from timing and announcing. Marv started the Message Board job and I took over from him on nights I was not announcing. Soon I was doing both announcing and operating the message board (two paychecks). So between the two jobs I was seeing twenty plus high school football games each year and getting paid for it.

High School Football - VP running playThere were years when things went well and we went to the CIF playoffs and years when teams were winless. I saw my little seventh graders grow into young men who were half a foot or more taller and who weighed one hundred pounds more than me. And I saw little girls grow into young women leading cheers and doing stunts on the sidelines.

One of my boys, Aaron, became a teacher and football coach. He brought his team to play one of ours and told me that I was the reason he became a teacher. I hadn’t realized who he was until I heard his voice and the picture in my mind was as he was so many years before in my woodshop class.

High School Football - VP running playOnly one of our four teams made the playoffs this season – the Villa Park Spartans (Century League, Southwest Division). Last night they defeated the Newport Harbor Sailors in a come from behind victory 26 to 21 (http://www.ocvarsity.com/sports/villa-34610-park-newport.html). In the third round (semi-finals) they will face Tustin at Tustin (Go Spartans), so I’ve worked my last game for the year.

Next game: August 2013. Paid to watch football, who’da thunk it!