The Big Time
By: Connor Lenahan
Yesterday, in the course of maybe five minutes, went from a lazy day avoiding the imminent snow to one of the biggest days of my career as a public address announcer. That, and basically my life in general.
About six years ago I half-jokingly went up to my buddy Brian Levy, then the announcer for our high school basketball team, and a graduating senior, and told him I – an as-of-then sophomore – wanted his job. That’s what had started me on this crazy journey of announcing. It was my favorite thing about high school and it remains my favorite thing about college.
One of my favorite things has been working hard to reach new heights. It’s roughly parallel with my continuous efforts to stay strong with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Set backs occur, but largely during this decade things have been trending upward. As of now I haven’t broken a bone in two and a half years. Last night I got the call up to the biggest of the big time. Boston University Men’s Hockey.
Due to some confusion and presumed weather-related issues, last night’s game between the Terriers and our conference rival Maine Black Bears was without an announcer. I had never done Men’s Hockey before, making it essentially the only sport I haven’t done here at BU. That’s because the voice of the Terriers, Jim Prior, has been with the team for 30+ years. He’s a legend, super talented, and iconic.
And I had to step into his shoes for a night.
To make things even better, I didn’t find out I was announcing until the second half of our Men’s Basketball game against Bucknell. That is, I found out I was announcing against Maine while announcing against Bucknell. It was surreal.
One of my proudest accomplishments is earning the spot as the PA announcer for both of the basketball teams for Boston University between my freshman and sophomore years. I wanted to continue grinding and trying to get better out of a sheer love for the position. I don’t necessarily want to be a professional PA announcer, but I want to get better at my craft like the athletes I get to announce.
Boston University is the 11th ranked team in the country and were facing one of their oldest foes at home last night. Even with snow hitting just before game time, making travel a nightmare, we drew a crowd of over 4500. I was shaking in terror at the thought of messing up in front of everyone, especially our otherworldly dedicated Dog Pound student section.
I calmed down thanks to the confidence of everyone I talked too that at least I wouldn’t be abysmal. I’ve only watched hockey for a year and a half seriously, so it’s different than basketball, or soccer, or most other things I’ve gotten the call for.
And this is our school’s biggest sport. We made the national title game last year, have won 5 NCAA titles, and have something like 9 future NHL players on our roster. I was psyched out. This was the biggest stage. The Big Time.
Apparently I did not suck. It certainly was helpful that our boys won 6-1, and I got to yell our players names for all Agganis Arena to hear. I only massively mispronounced one name – sorry Ahti Oksanen (Ahh-Tee OX-ah-nen, not Ox-AH-nen). It was a lot of fun. It was also cool to see plays develop right in front of my eyes from top level talent. And the fact that our head coach David Quinn’s eyes lit up when I told him was announcing certainly did curb my jitters.
But the game was largely secondary to me last night. Last night was more an amazing moment that made me want to double down on grinding and working hard. This was the ultimate goal for anyone that does announcing, certainly at Boston University. This was the biggest stage to be on, and I was given an opportunity to be on the microphone. It should go without saying how appreciative I was for the chance and how happy I was to do it.
When I came into college I thought that maybe I would get to announce a game. That is, a singular game. After last night I have had to once again raise the bar. Who says I can’t go another 5 years between breaks? Who’s to say I couldn’t announce an NBA game? Apparently anything is possible, and I’m just lucky enough to get the opportunity to show that hard work pays off.
As we enter into yet another busy semester, with more tasks than ever before, it was an especially welcome night. Hard work is the key to great things. Last night was only another bit of proof for it. It certainly isn’t time to stop now.