That was my office today - in a caravan with an ageing PA system and my iPad. I was trying something a bit different: I was the Ground Announcer for the National Tertiary Women's 7s tournament in Palmerston North.
I've been involved in Sports Presentation for almost 20 years now but my main role has always been n front on the camera on the Big Screen. I've been super fortunate to work with utter professional GAs like Mark McLeod and Dom Gibbs who do a job that can be a real hospital pass at times and they make it Eem easy to the people at the ground. I know that a GA can be a bit like a duck - sailing smoothly on the surface but kicking frantically beneath and I have seen first hand the pressure these guys come under. They are also in an invidious position with the public. Being a GA is one of those jobs where, if you are doing your job well, nobody really notices what you are doing they think its because of "the atmosphere" but don't take into account the work of the GA and the Presentation team in making that atmosphere with the right selection of music, announcements, crosses and audience involvement But when it goes wrong everyone is, all of a sudden, an armchair expert.
Guys like Mark and Dom do the job because they love sport.
I thought I'd try my hand at doing what those guys do. Fortunately it was on a smaller scale. Palmerston North with a crowd of parents, family and partners is a lightyear away from 33000 people at the Stadium. Which is good. Because I don't think I've ever doubted my dubious taste in music more Nor have I watched sport as closely as I had to today. Swanning around downstairs on the sidelines I had underestimated how hard those GAs upstairs follow a game. If you zone out for just a minute you could miss the try, the foul, the opportunity to play a quick tune or you scramble to find the right name on the right team list.
But you really get to see the games. And there were some really good games at this tournament, especially in the knockout rounds. I don't think I've seen some many rugby players just run over the top and through other players as I saw in this competition!
It was a great day, and a good fun gig but those guys like Mark and Dom have even more respect from me than before!