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My Favorite Class: Play-by-Play Sports Announcing

Posted on 2/8/2023 1:16:58 PM by Student Ambassadors

Written by: Jason Fridge ('25)

I've been a sports fan my entire life. Some of my earliest memories are either watching family compete in rec sports, competing in sports myself, or watching games as a group on national television.

My participation in sports turned into a passion when I was given the opportunity to be the play-by-play football announcer for a game during my sophomore year of high school. From the moment I went on air, I was hooked. From that point forward, I knew that being a sports broadcaster was the career I wanted to pursue. Flash forward a few years, and I am a declared Sports Communication minor at Cabrini!

Last semester I took "Play-by-Play Sports Announcing" as an elective. The class was with Cabrini's adjunct professor and Philadelphia broadcasting legend, Mr. Lou Tilley. I took Professor Tilley's Live Sports Production class in the spring of 2022 and loved it. 

Going into the class, I was very excited to learn more formal training in the art of broadcasting. I have been able to work with Cabrini athletics to be a broadcaster for many games on campus, and I was eager to see how applying the skills I learned in this class would add to my commentary on games.

My experience surpassed my expectations!

Throughout the semester, we went through various exercises, starting with reading "Call of the Game" by Gary Bender. Bender, a professional broadcaster for over 40 years, talked about the experiences he had covering basketball, baseball, football, and even equestrian. On top of sharing the one-of-a-kind experience he had in the booth, he talked about many keys to being a successful broadcaster that we discussed in class and built off in future exercises.

For our final presentation, we were tasked with calling five minutes of a broadcast with our own research and style.

Being in Philadelphia, it was only right that by unanimous decision, we voted to cover Super Bowl 52 between the Eagles and the Patriots (Go Birds!)

For the rest of the semester, we spent time drafting scripts for a pre-game show, performing our scripts as if we were live on air with a strict time limit, and doing research to create a spotting board we would use on our final "broadcast."

The level of detail in creating my spotting board was my biggest takeaway from this course. I learned how important research is to being successful on-air and maintaining objectivity for everyone listening. Through the exercise of prepping for our mock broadcast, I gained skills that I quickly began to apply to Cabrini games I commentated on throughout the fall and winter.

I started taking the time to do deep research and create in-depth spotting boards with information and statistics that I could reference throughout a game. I noticed that having this chart had a great impact on my commentary, as the research allowed me to highlight players on both sides when they made major accomplishments.

When it came time for the final game broadcast, my partner and I took our seats at the back of the classroom with our pretend broadcasting mics and crushed the five-minute segment we were assigned. The confidence I had throughout the segment because of my research and a better understanding of the stylistic queues that go into being a network quality broadcaster were skills I will use throughout the rest of my career.

I came into the class with a base level of knowledge on being a broadcaster and left the class with an understanding of all aspects of a television broadcast. From behind-the-scenes meetings to the live on-air call, my experience in this class only helped to bolster my goal of becoming a sports broadcaster in the future.

I hope to continue building my broadcasting skills and resumé working within Cabrini athletics and the Communication department. If you're as big a sports fan as I am, I would highly recommend taking up the Sports Communication minor!