Voice of the sporting OttersPublished 11:50am Monday, November 18, 2013
When he volunteered to work an all-day high school dance competition several years ago, Blaine Danielson had no previous announcing experience. But he figured his years of work in customer service and his comfort in front of crowds would get him through the day.
He just didn’t figure he would become the permanent voice of several Otter teams.
But his work on that first assignment led to athletic department officials asking Danielson to become the announcer for the high school football and volleyball teams four years ago. Boys basketball followed the next year, and the wrestling team asked Danielson to announce some of their meets soon after that.
Needless to say, Danielson has been a busy man.
He works about four or five home football games and roughly 10 home volleyball games each fall. He announces each boys basketball home game and various wrestling events in the winter. He has even done some work with the baseball team in the spring.
High school Activities Director Gary Schuler said Danielson’s energy and enthusiasm on the job helps get the fans involved in the games.
“We attack the sports that we have with passion and class, and Blaine brings those things to it,” Schuler said.
Danielson grew up in Rothsay and has seen his three children heavily involved in Fergus Falls High School athletics, making him an especially passionate announcer. He felt comfortable almost right away in the role, as his sports knowledge served him well.
His goal is to bring energy to the gym. At many other schools at which Danielson has watched games, announcers introduce players at the beginning of the game and stay largely silent afterwards. Danielson wants the fans and players to know he is invested in the game.
“Anything I can do to pump up the team and the players is good for them,” he said.
Before games, Danielson talks with visiting coaches to go over starting lineups and work through player pronunciations. He pays particular attention to this part of the job because athletes and their parents appreciate their names being pronounced correctly, he said.
Fergus Falls coaches and fans have given Danielson lots of positive feedback about his work at the announce table. Schuler said Danielson has been instrumental in bringing more music into the gym during games, creating a more lively atmosphere. Even at girls basketball games, which he does not call, Danielson is still in charge of the music.
Of all the sports he works on, Danielson’s favorite to announce has been volleyball. The nature of the sport allows for more energy from the announcer, which Danielson is more than happy to provide. The success of this year’s volleyball team has been a highlight of Danielson’s time working at the school.
“It’s been fun just to say I have been with them on the ride, so to speak,” Danielson said.
During this transition period from fall to winter sports, Danielson does not do too much prep work. He does look at basketball rosters and schedules to familiarize himself with conference teams, but he likes to talk with coaches and let teams play for a few weeks to get a real handle on them.
Along with his announcing and music duties, Danielson and his wife will be in charge of concessions this year. It’s just another responsibility for a man who loves to help the school any way he can.
“I say they should probably throw a couch for me in Gary’s office because I’ll be up here a lot,” he said.
Even though his daughter Stephanie and son Cody have graduated high school and daughter Shelby will follow next year, Danielson sees himself announcing for at least the next few years. It keeps him involved in high school sports and it’s still fun for him. Besides, he said, what else is there to do in the dead of winter?
“This way is usually the best seat in the house,” he said.