March Madness!! For me, nothing is more exciting than being at the RA Facility at SMSU in Marshall this time of year. I have been broadcasting high school basketball games at the RA for years. When that gym is full of people and quality basketball teams are on the floor it doesn’t get much better than that. The best part is I have a front row seat.
The last few weeks at the RA Facility in Marshall have been a roller coaster of emotions for me broadcasting games. From extreme highs to extreme lows. As a broadcaster you get to know the players, coaches, parents and even grandparents very well over the course of the season. You could say I get myself attached to them and want them to succeed. That is with all the teams I cover for the radio station.
I know the hearts of the girls on the LQPV Eagles team, their goal was to make it to the state tournament. They have a young and talented team. They came up short and lost in the section north championship. To be honest I got choked up on the air when the buzzer went off that ended their season. I hurt for them. That was a low.
A high was Minneota Vikings Jacob Hennen hitting a last second shot for the win and sending the Vikings into the section championship game. To see Jacob surrounded by his family after the game was a special time. It is really special to see the players spending time with their families on the court after a victory at the RA. Lots of smiles and pictures with grandpa and grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins.
There was a moment in the Section 3A boys’ north championship game between Minneota and Lakeview that brought too light that there are more important things than basketball. A Minneota fan collapsed with a medical issue during the game in a very scary moment. The game was stopped so medical personal could attend to him on the gym floor. You could have heard a pin drop in the RA for 20 minutes. The RA went from loud screaming fans in a close game 43 to 41 game at the time, to a completely silent gym. All of a sudden basketball wasn’t important. Somebody’s life was in danger. Marshall ambulance arrived and took the fan to the hospital. It was very difficult to resume broadcasting the game since I knew the person, and was praying he would be ok. Difficult transition from a scary medical issue to back to broadcasting a playoff basketball game.
Spending time in the RA means spending time with other radio station sports broadcasters. I usually see each of them at the different gyms during the season, but it seems like we are all at the RA at the same time. Fun visiting with them, we sportscasters are like a fraternity. I was so happy for my good friend Heath Radtke from Marshall radio, he covers the TMB girls’ basketball team. The Panthers punched their way to the state tournament. I heard Heaths voice break with emotion when the buzzer sounded.
The RA Facility over the years sure has some stories to tell. This year was no different. A young Minneota girls’ basketball team heading to state and Minneota and RTR boys will play for the section championship Thursday at the RA. So that makes three Camden conference basketball teams will be playing in the state tournament this year.
The RA is an amazing place, lots of memories there and looking forward to making many more in the years to come