The Unsung Heroes of Live Sporting Events
From ticket scanners to mascots and everything in-between, there are countless people both behind the scenes and in plain sight that whose job is to provide us with the best live sporting experiences as possible. A sporting event wouldn’t be the same without in-game entertainment, music, and fantastic and creative concessions. In order to shine a light on some of the unsung heroes at sports games, we’ve compiled a list of people we think deserve some recognition for their tireless efforts to make these events as enjoyable as possible.
The idea of using music at sporting events has surprisingly been around for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks accompanied their Olympic events with music, and the practice has been a staple of live sports for the past century. The Chicago Cubs were the first Major League Baseball team to have an organist accompany their live games, and organ music has been widely played at hockey games as well. The organ players have extensive repertoires of songs that they need to be able to play at the drop of a hat, and their dedication to entertaining fans with their jaunty tunes is something that we should all take a beat to acknowledge.
When you think about some of the unsung heroes of sporting events, hawkers should almost immediately come to mind. These men and women lug heavy equipment full of food and drink up and down the stadium all night, just so we can buy a refreshment or foam finger without missing any action. Not everyone is cut out for this type of job, as it requires quite a bit of physical exertion, but we should all appreciate the service that they provide to the fans.
The Dancing Jumbotron Guy
For sporting events with lulls in the action, the jumbotron does an excellent job of providing brief bursts of entertainment. At seemingly every game, there’s somebody that ends up on camera who ends up doing some type of dance move that gets a raucous amount of cheers from their fellow fans. In the age of the internet, videos showcasing some of these dances have gone viral, with none perhaps more famous than the Boston Celtics fan dancing to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” from several years back. These everyday people provide the rest of the fans in attendance with some much-needed laughter and entertainment during dry spells, and for that, we salute them.
The PA Announcer
The public address announcer, or PA announcer for short, are the voices that we hear over the loudspeakers during games. The announcers give the people in attendance updates on the players, the score, and any potential happenings in the game such as penalties or fouls. Public address announcers often have impressively long careers. One such example was Bob Sheppard, who was the announcer at Yankee Stadium from 1951 until his retirement in 2007. The announcer’s job is a bit of a balancing act as they have to both provide crucial information and energize the crowd — a job which surely deserves our appreciation and admiration.
The Shirt Cannon Operator
Outside of a buzzer-beating three-pointer or a walk-off home run, only one thing can get every fan on their feet, and that is the t-shirt cannon operator. Just the mere prospect of winning a free t-shirt is enough to get most fans yelling and waving their arms while hoping that the cannon operator smiles on them and blasts a shirt in their direction. Everybody loves the shirt cannons and free clothing but we should also take a quick second to appreciate the cannon operators, who always do a great job of pumping up the crowd.