In the past decade or so, the idea of instant replay and this notion of constantly checking and double checking plays has had a negative impact on broadcasters. Some of the most significant plays are those that aren’t immediately apparent. Stay in the moment, and call the play as you see it and as it’s originally signaled on the field. You can always correct yourself if an official review overturns the call but you can’t get that moment back once it’s gone.
Over the weekend I spent much of my time watching NFL games and monitoring my fantasy football team. During several broadcasts, I noticed a trend amongst the guys in the booth, and their hesitation when calling out touchdowns. There was an abundance of “…and he’ssssssssssssssssssss….. IN FOR THE TOUCHDOWN”.
It was clear that the sportscaster was waiting on a signal from the referees, or perhaps he didn’t have the best vantage point of the play. As many of us lower level broadcasters know, our touchdown, or home run, or goal call can be a signature. We want those calls to sound crisp, concise, and commanding. It seems that in this world of instant replay, many sportscasters are afraid of being wrong and willing to drag out a call like I mentioned above, a call which won’t sound great live and will sound even worse in post.
So remember, stay in the moment. Call the play as you see it, as you feel confident about. Whether it’s a close play at the goal-line, or a flag comes out on the play, you only get one chance to have a great call and any hesitation is going to sound amateur, uncertain, and take away from your main objective of telling the game’s story.
Imagine someone telling you a ghost story around a campfire, would you be scared if they were uncertain of the details? You can always go back and correct yourself based on the change, but you can’t get that moment back.