The Covert Psychological Weapon Inside High School Sports

Hey, remember that time?

We went to your high school’s basketball game together as old buddies and, even though it was a sleeper of a matchup, we decided to go. We hardly had a chance to get together and were looking for something to do. I remember the atmosphere of that game as we walked into your stoic yet historic high school gym. In its glory days, it had to be something beautiful, but it still  had a weird romantic sense draped over it like a fine, invisible coating of primer on the roughly whitewashed walls. I think you were wearing your letter jacket, trying to look pretty as the senior girls were looking on from the ever-nearing student section. We stepped down those little steps entering the room, beholding the barbaric matchup between us as we rehashed an old-yet-timeless joke in small conversation and paid for admission. You have to remember hearing the sharp screech of the players making sharp turns on the floor in pursuit of the bouncing, thump-producing basketball. If you close your eyes, you could probably see the ball swishing through the net as we looked for a smart angle to dart to the bleachers, which were across the floor from where we entered.

It was a packed house, we realized, as we neared the stands. Everyone was sitting down, having a grand social time. I mean, as if these people didn’t see each other enough, we entered into a sea full of chatter as I sat beside some of your friends in the student section. Conversations ranged widely and sporadically – “Where should we eat afterwards?”… and… “That test was so hard today!” were a few of the expressions I caught as I met some of your friends. We talked it up! What a fun time that was.

Wait… Who ended up winning the game?

Maybe that’s why you don’t remember that game… because it was never really about the game in the first place. I think we may have been inadvertently conspiring in a growing epidemic among American teenagers. I mean, are high school sporting events really just social events?

One may think of the players playing and the gyms housing the competition. Does playing in a team’s “home” gym aid their state of mind as opposed to visiting an opposing school?

A skeptic may point to the simplicity of sports which presents itself regardless of circumstances — Two teams, one victor. The beautiful thing about sports remains, though, in the fact that high school sports most certainly double as an entertainment form for various onlookers, fans, parents, and friends sitting on the bleachers. Since players and spectators are all of the same glorious species, support or rejection from these spectators should vastly affect a team’s mindset, an element seen time and time again in every level of sports. Logically, this type of audial and visual influence would undoubtedly affect the quality of play by the team in the crosshairs, an element that would directly affect the game’s outcome.

So, following this logic, why didn’t you and I take up the gauntlet for our stake of the game? In our fallen world, both you and I attended a game where we didn’t even know who was playing, let alone who won. The hypothetical, aforementioned gym we were both in was dead enough to allow cob webs to form on the ceiling.

Something deadly to the game exploded in a deafening case of demure yet extravagant chatter, like little cockroaches scattering through a ruin that was recently eradicated of all human life.

Everyone should remember the sound of a crowd roaring as the iconic Alan Parsons Project tune “Sirius” blasted over speakers as the hearty, memorable announcer proclaimed the names of the Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup, creating an atmosphere of true fire and wrapping up the festivity with the introduction of Mr. Michael Jordan. Those fans were keyed in, screaming their loudest as the lights were dimmed. Of course, those people paid a lot more cash to get into those games, and the Chicago Bulls had some spotlights and a video board, but something tells me that the game of basketball played at its purest does not just keep people ecstatic. Those games were true experiences.

At Delaware Christian, the high school which this writer attends, our gym is relative to the size of our school – small. Big enough to sit around 225-250 people or so  at its fullest, it has two speakers hoisted from the ceiling facing the bleachers, controlled by a mobile system that almost resembles a DJ stand that plugs into a rather aged connection in the wall leading to the speakers. The mobile control panel opens up to reveal a soundboard with standard microphone and sound inputs – the usual. Sometimes, while playing music or speaking too loud, the system will cut out for some odd reason, signaling maybe a short in the connection. With the connection shorting at weird and, usually, the worst times, the operator must finagle the connection directly or adjust the level of bass or treble through the equalizer on the sound board to try to eliminate the problem. I have used this system regularly over the last three years to announce sports games in our school, and from every aspect, we need to just air out the obvious: We are not the old-time Chicago Bulls.


PHOTO CREDIT ~ Delaware Christian Athletics Facebook

Though, without arrogance, I would confidently and unabashedly say that Delaware Christian’s game experience and production are second to few.

1779037_785573718124825_1482184392_nWait, before you scoff at me and hit the dreaded red “X” in the top right corner or this page, consider this: state-of-the-art audio technology doesn’t guarantee state-of-the-art psychology, and average audio technology doesn’t guarantee average psychology.

That is all that this is, right? Psychology at its purest – How do you create a slight home-court advantage for your team,  trigger the emotions of the spectators, and hide those two goals all at the same time to make for a fun, memorable overall experience?

That’s what the Chicago Bulls had right back in the day. They had it all – the right music, the right announcer, the right colors on the spotlights, the right timing, the right players, which made for the right fans. They had everything state-of-the-art and delivered on that standard. The Bulls won multiple championships during that era.

What if, though, the psychology behind high school sports could be innovative in a different ways?


What if…

…the role of an announcer was taken seriously?

I contend, from experience, that no better asset can be held by a high school sports announcer than pure “passion”. That may be the psychology inside the psychology – One cannot sell a product to someone else without believing in it himself. Experience will come, decision making speed will come, and general fluidity and comfort-ability will come as with anything worked on in life. I contend that an announcer would be one step ahead of the game to truly treat his job like a “job” and work to be the best at it.

…preparation was next to perfection?

With passion comes thought, and with thought comes preparation. Unlike any other job, a sports announcer can manipulate the circumstances to fit his needs best, with the main goal of producing a great performance. With passion should come the need for preparation, a step which will grow an announcer the most. Personally, I prefer to prepare for games by preparing my music the night before. Over about six years of announcing, I have built up a rather large personal music library as cheaply as I have been able to, nabbing deals that pop up regularly on internet stores such as ITunes and Google Play. From that library, I pick out about fifty songs out of my library to put in a playlist that will fit the coming game as much as possible. If the opponent is Tree of Life Christian School, for example, one of the songs I pick may be Trees by Twenty One Pilots, a song that can be explicitly used within context for that matchup. I try to pick a playlist that will not only keep the audience tuned into the game and the players pumped up, but that could tell a story, an element that I try to implant into games to leave people thinking about lyrics or tunes in songs after the night is over. Going to a Christian school, I have the privilege of making some of those lyrics reflective of my faith, for example, to make people think, within the context of the game, differently then they would without music and announcing.


Shure 55SH Series 2 Microphone – Shure Stock Photo


Google Nexus 7

One could also be preparative in other ways, such as purchasing personal equipment to ensure maximum performance on the announcer’s end. Personally, I bring three things along with me to every game I announce: my Shure 55SH Series 2 microphone, a Google Nexus 7 tablet (for music), and a cord to connect that to the sound system. These instruments have served me beautifully in aiding the effort to produce a good performance on the production end.

Most importantly, though, preparation is most key in word pronunciation and preparation for speaking as an announcer. At Delaware Christian, I play the in-game role of both announcer and DJ/Music Guy most of the time, so this sometimes gets overlooked, but credibility can’t be ruined faster than from a mispronounced name. An announcer needs to be sensitive to name pronunciations!

Overall, the reason for preparation is not self-centered in the least bit, but, rather, to do one’s best to give the home team a little mental advantage and for the onlookers to think and have fun all at the same time.

…game production was a team sport?

It is rather unfair the credit the announcer can get comparable to everything going on behind the scenes of a good operation. Most of the time, the announcer purely serves as a pretty cover for rather jumbled numbers behind the scenes. The people that work towards a better game experience by keeping score, gathering lineups, keeping track of little stats and details, setting up the technical equipment beforehand, and suggesting new material and music for the game are the people who deserve to be in the spotlight. Just as no one person has ever won anything in a team sport, an announcer who tries to do it all will fail miserably (I know from experience!). When a team comes in who knows what they are doing, that plays their designed positions to the best of their ability off of the floor, it frees up (notably) announcer to try new things and make the game on the hardwood more enjoyable for everyone looking on and participating.


These what ifs have become Delaware Christian’s why nots. I believe we are a step ahead of the game. Though we will never be perfect, as no one can, we can work to help our organization’s face and performance in the subtle, yet extravagant ways. We put these and more into practice each game and are constantly looking for different ways to aid the spectator’s feelings and mindset about the game at hand, which, in turn, extremely affects the mindset of the players and, therefore, the overall quality of the experience.

You will remember the next game we go to, my friend.

Delaware Daily Football Edition – August 30, 2014

Photo by Rocky VanBrimmer,

Photo by Rocky VanBrimmer,

Delaware Ohio Local News, Other News and some fun and interesting stuff too

It was a night for football in Delaware County tonight. Wow, and the ice cream after the game was even better.

Local News

Pacers beat Barons 30-6 In Delaware’s Traditional Football Rivalry Game.

Columbus Business First: World of Beer competitor Brass Tap coming to Polaris

Find the best prices for gas in Delaware, click the “DelawareO Gas Price Page.

Central Ohio News Ohio News

WBNS 10tv: Labor Day Travel Expected To Increase, Construction May Slow You Down

WBNS 10tv: Rental Company Reverses Flag Ban

WBNS 10tv: Lancaster Woman Scares Off Bat-Wielding Attackers By Pulling Gun On Them

WSYX ABC6: Fairfield Co. Deputies Search for Hit-Skip Driver in Amish Buggy Crash

Marion Star: Ohio cyclist raising awareness for fallen firefighters

Ohio News

Dayton Daily News: Party for local college students ends in large brawl

Toledo Ohio News: Toledo pumps more money, chemicals into treating water

National News

WBNS 10tv: Kraft Recalling American Cheese Singles


NY Times: Syrian Rebels Attack Peacekeepers in Golan Heights


Bleacher Report: Mark Blaudschun’s Blitz: Braxton Miller Loss May Not Sink Buckeyes’ Title Hopes

Columbus Dispatch: High-school football: Week One opens with plenty of action

NFL: Roster cuts: Terrelle Pryor released

Ohio Newz: Browns Roster Watch: Who Made The Cut?

Thought/Word for the day

Use your blinkers when driving.

Of Interest To Us

WBNS 10tv: Former Jethro Tull bass player Glenn Cornick dies

NY Post: Apple sent out a cryptic event invite recently

CBS News: Pancho the 300-pound crocodile dies while fighting capture in Florida

Tune of The Day

The Ohio State Marching Band Fight Song.

Pre-Game ~ Machine Look to Rebound Against Rochester

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

Selby Stadium will be lit up and loud this Saturday when Delaware’s own Ohio Machine welcomes the Rochester Rattlers for a matchup that comes with a plethora of exciting storylines and playoff implications.

The Machine (2-4) are [Read more…]

Ohio Machine vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks Preview

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

Photo courtesy of Andy Long

After taking a week off to evaluate and reflect their first four games, the Ohio Machine will be in full recovery mode to take on the Chesapeake Bayhawks May 31 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD at 7pm. “Chesapeake, they [Read more…]

Machine Post Victory in Season Opener


Photo courtesy of the Ohio Machine.

Fans could sense a different air around the Ohio Machine this preseason. Talk of “building the right way” was replaced by discussions of the talent on the roster and expectations for the 2014 season.

Those expectations started on a positive note Saturday, when the Machine went into Charlotte and caged the Hounds with a 15-8 victory in the season opener for both teams.

The victory highlighted a few very positive movements for the Machine led by President and General Manager John Algie and second-year coach Bear Davis, including:

  • Ohio Machine’s first-ever opening day victory.
  • Ohio Machine’s have a winning record (1-0) for the first-time in team history.
  • Ohio Machine claimed its first victory over its 2012 expansion counterpart in Charlotte (1-4).

On Saturday night, the Machine came out of the gates firing on all cylinders screaming to a 7-1 lead through the first 1-1/2 quarters when rookie Peter Baum, last year’s No. 1 draft pick, scored his second goal on the night. The Hounds were not ready to submit as they climbed back to within one at 7-6 when former Machine Joel Cummings scored.

Midfielder Jake Bernhart scored two straight goals to push the Machine’s lead back to three markers and Charlotte would never get any closer.

On the night Baum, Bernhart, and MLL veteran but Machine newcomer Kyle Harrison tallied hat tricks with three goals on the night. Attacker Marcus Holman tallied two goals and two assists while Jim Connolly added a pair of goals.

In the net, Scott Rogers (1-0) went the distance for the Machine tallying 23 saves.

The Machine return to the field on Saturday, May 4, at 5 p.m. against the very-talented Denver Outlaws in Denver, Colo. Ohio will return home on Saturday, May 10, for a 7 p.m. face-off against the New York Lizards in the season’s home opener at Selby Field.

Ohio Machine 15, Charlotte Hounds 8

April 26, 2014. Charlotte, N.C.

Teams 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final Shots Face Off
Ohio Machine (1-0) 6 1 5 3 15 32 17-27
Charlotte Hounds (0-1) 0 4 4 0 8 31 10-27

Ohio Machine Announces 2014 Roster, Names Captains

Bice, Harrison, Phipps and Stanwick Named Captains

The Ohio Machine (Machine), Ohio’s professional lacrosse team in Major League Lacrosse (MLL), announced today its 2014 regular season roster ahead of the team’s first game against Charlotte on Saturday, April 26.

The 2014 roster consists of three goalies, nine defenders, 16 midfielders and five attackmen. Additionally, defenseman Greg Bice, midfielder Kyle Harrison, attackman Steele Stanwick and goalie Brian Phipps were named team captains for 2014.

“Our captains for 2014 are a good mix of veterans and young guys that all share the same vision of where this team needs to be,” Head Coach Bear Davis said. “Bice and Harrison have seen success and failures at the highest levels so our young guys will learn a lot from them. It is also great to have leaders like Steele and Phipps. They have both led teams as players and are now leading teams as coaches at the collegiate level.”

“It’s an honor to be named a captain of this team,” Phipps said. “We have a great group of talented guys that are ready to form a new identity in the league. Our team has developed a great relationship off the field and is excited to get the season started this week.”

“I’m really humbled and honored to be named a captain on a team full of amazing leaders,” Stanwick said. “I know everyone is looking forward to the season with this great group of guys.”

The Machine welcomes back 23 players from the 2013 roster including leading scorer Logan Schuss and standout rookie Marcus Holman. Additionally, the 2014 roster includes seven former Buckeye lacrosse players with defensemen Greg Bice and Matt Cafarelli, midfielders Dominique Alexander and Kevin Mack, attackman Logan Schuss, face-off specialist Eric O’Brien and goalkeeper Stefan Schroder.

“I am honored to be a named captain of the 2014 Machine team,” Bice said. “We have a great group of guys and I expect big things out of this team.”

The Machine added nine new players to its roster, including former Tewaaraton Award winners Peter Baum and Kyle Harrison. Baum was drafted first overall by the Machine in 2013 and participated on the LXMPRO Tour last season. Harrison, who was named to Team USA for the 2014 World Championships, also played on the LXMPRO Tour. The Machine also added former MLL All-Stars in Matt Dolente, Brian Farrell and Bill McGlone.

“I am humbled that my teammates have given me the honor of serving as one the captains for the Machine in 2014,” Harrison said. “Our team came together really well over training camp and we are looking forward to taking this team to the next level on the field this season.”

The Machine opens up its season on Saturday, April 26 when the team visits the Charlotte Hounds. The Machine’s home opener is on Saturday, May 17, against the New York Lizards. The “OSU Sports Medicine Night” Home Opener will include an OSU seat cushion and 2014 poster giveaway, as well as a post-game fireworks show. Tickets start at $12 for General Admission and $18 for Sideline Reserved.

Full season, half season, flex plan and single game tickets for the Machine’s 2014 season are now on sale. Season tickets to the Machine’s 2014 season range from General Admission at $92 to a Field Level Box at $2,400 and include seven regular season home games plus a 2014 MLL playoff game. Information on 2014 Machine tickets can be found at



23 Dominique Alexander M 6-2 215 Ohio State 1
 15 Peter Baum M 6-1 185 Colgate 0
 3 Jake Bernhardt M 6-0 190 Maryland 1
 44 Greg Bice D 6-3 215 Ohio State 10
 32 Chase Carraro M 5-8 170 Denver 1
 21 Jim Connolly A 5-11 175 Massachusetts 3
 40 Kevin Cooper M 6-4 190 Maryland 1
 36 Bobby Dattilo M 5-7 175 Hobart 2
 19 Matt Dolente M 5-7 165 Johns Hopkins 3
 24 Greg Downing M 6-1 195 Fairfield 7
 37 Brian Farrell D 6-5 240 Maryland 3
 18 Kyle Harrison M 6-0 194 Johns Hopkins 6
 1 Marcus Holman A 5-11 185 North Carolina 1
 25 Jordan Houtby M 6-3 180 Detroit-Mercy 0
 35 Erik Krum A 5-10 190 Salisbury 0 7
7 Chris Lightner D 6-2 205 Johns Hopkins 1
 88 Connor Martin M 6-1 180 Chapman 4
 46 Kiel Matisz M 6-5 215 Robert Morris 2
 33 Bill McGlone M 6-2 210 Maryland 8
 10 Eric O’Brien M 6-3 220 Ohio State 3
 30 Brian Phipps G 5-9 185 Maryland 3
 42 Scott Rodgers G 6-4 250 Notre Dame 4
 8 Max Schmidt D 6-4 230 Maryland 2
 9 Stefan Schroder G 6-1 180 Ohio State 3
 20 Logan Schuss A 6-0 210 Ohio State 1
 6 Steele Stanwick A 5-10 190 Virginia 2
 55 Chad Wiedmaier D 6-1 200 Princeton 2
 91 Dana Wilber D 6-0 190 Drexel 2
41 Matt Cafarelli D 6-5 220 Ohio State 2
 27 James Delaney A 5-8 175 Seton Hill 0
4 Kevin Mack M 5-10 175 Ohio State 1
 48 Matt Silvia D 6-1 195 Bellarmine 2
 28 Marshall Burkhart M 6-1 200 Johns Hopkins 2
 7 Ryan Nizolek D 6-2 217 Virginia 3
Source: Machine Press Release.

“One and One Is Three!” Ohio Machine and Skyline Chili Announce Partnership

Machine Gets Motivated To Score Double Digit Goals For Their Fans

The Ohio Machine signed a new partnership with Skyline Chili it was announced today by Machine President & General Manager John Algie. The Machine and Skyline Chili will run the One And One Makes Three promotion at all Machine home games, rewarding fans for the team’s on-field performance.

As part of the partnership, the One And One Makes Three promotion rewards Machine fans in attendance at home games with a free 3-Way from Skyline Chili every time the Machine score 11 goals or more in a home game. The free 3-Way offer is good at all Columbus area locations with additional purchase. Through the new promotion, Skyline Chili becomes the first Ohio Machine partner to reward Machine fans in attendance with on-field performance-based giveaways.

“We are excited to partner with such an iconic Ohio-based brand,” Algie said. “Creating a giveaway around the team’s performance takes our fan experience to another level and I know our fans will be cheering for Skyline Time each and every game.”

“Skyline Chili is proud to be a bigger part of the community that we love and we are looking forward to our exciting new partnership with the Ohio Machine,” said Joe Dominiak, Senior VP of Franchise Operations for Skyline Chili.   

In addition to the One And One Makes Three promotion, Skyline Chili will free Cheese Coney offer on every Machine Game Day Roster to be distributed to all Machine fans upon entry to the stadium. Free Cheese Coney offer is good at any Columbus area locations with additional purchase.

Full season, half season, flex plan and single game tickets for the Machine’s 2014 season are now on sale. Season tickets to the Machine’s 2014 season range from General Admission at $92 to a Field Level Box at $2,400 and include seven regular season home games plus a 2014 MLL playoff game. Information on 2014 Machine tickets can be found at 

Editors Note: “Yum!”

Delaware Christian Wrestler Makes School History

Delaware Christian wrestler, Wyatt Bess, made school history
[Read more…]