Tuesday, January 6, 2015

House of Current

Photo found from the Washington DC Current Facebook Page
All rights to the picture are to UltiPhotos 
Just like that 2014 came to a close in the MLU.  New sponsors were announced, new GM's hired, teams calling new stadiums home, and the DC Current continuing to celebrate their first MLU Championship.  This past season just so happened to be my first season as a blogger for the league which was then followed up by a job opportunity to be the Public Address Announcer for, you guessed it, the Washington DC Current.

Working for the Current and the MLU has been a different experience that I never expected to have at such a early stage in my sports media career.  Working with the team gave me direct access to happenings and story-lines occurring within the league before they were publicly announced or covered.  I hope many of my readers can attest to this previous statement, in which I hoped to give the fans in-depth coverage that cannot be found anywhere else.  Every home game I would arrive at Cardinal Stadium roughly three to two hours before the opening pull.  This was in order to prepare for the game and also to help with the game day setup; where no two games were alike in preparation or on the field.  I would not actually begin announcing until a half hour before the start of the game, with the sponsorship reads, player intros, and the introduction of the national anthem singer.

Photo found from the Washington DC Current Facebook Page
All rights to the picture are to UltiPhotos 
My boss, Justin Szech, (people close to him know him as "Jay") the Director of Events for the Current was entering his first season in his position as well.   He was the man who hired me and we were entering the rodeo of professional ultimate together.  When the first home game came against the Boston Whitecaps, perhaps the biggest regular season game of 2014, Jay, myself, and the rest of the game day crew were in over our heads.  We managed to get everything ready for the game and little did we know that this was going to be one of the best games in MLU history thus far.  As Jay and I sat down in the pressbox getting ready for the show, he told me to just go with what felt natural.  I had been playing ultimate for two years at this point and was pursuing a career in sports commentating, so I had a general background in what was expected of me. Once the game began, my instincts took over. I brought in new cheers and sayings; some that did work and some that did not.  Out of all of them the most famous one would have to be the "DCD" that would ring across the stadium for every defensive play that the Current had.  However, I cannot take all the credit for the idea, it actually stemmed from a Daniel Kantor tweet back on April 15th in regards to their opening weekend victory over the Spinners.  The Current would ride this cheer all the way to the MLU Championship Game with a 10-1 record, 6-0 at home in Cardinal Stadium.

As part of the game day crew we knew our job was done when we were able to call ourselves Eastern Conference Champions; the team would then be forced to do the rest on their own in Philadelphia at PPL Park.  With the power of the Current's GM Matt Dewhurst, the entire staff was able to attend the Championship Game to support the team that we had worked with all season.  As I began to prepare for the trip I received an email from the Commissioner Jeff Snader, asking if I would like to PA Announce the Championship Game.

Without hesitation I accepted the offer.

Due to my professional responsibility as a member of the sports media, I had to take out my bias towards the DC Current in their biggest game of the season.  As many of you know DC would go on to win the Championship Game to make their record 11-1 overall, 6-0 at home, and 7-0 with yours truly as the PA Announcer.

Being a part of the Washington DC Current Staff for 2014, is a memory that I will hold onto throughout my career in sports and sports media.  The GM Matt Dewhurst made it clear at the beginning of the season that we do not work for the team but with the team and that we have the same mutual goal of winning the MLU Championship.

Via my Twitter account
The organization accomplished that goal together, not trying to take anything away from what the team and players did on the field because they are the ones that have the most responsibility.  As a result of working with the team, Dewhurst allowed the staff to purchase a championship ring if they so pleased. This offer was one I could not refuse.

Now again, in the same situation as the players, the money is not the same as other professional sports leagues but is adequate enough to compensate the staff for our services.  However the money is not what I nor anyone else from the DC Current organization is doing this for, we are doing it to be a part of something that not anyone else can claim to do.  This past year we accomplished our ultimate goal in the MLU Championship and are already looking forward to 2015.

I would like to thank Jeff Snader, Matt Dewhurst, Mark Evangelisto, Justin Szech, Tom Levy, John Phillips, Bryan Dombrowski, Paul Des Maris, the MLU, the DC Current, of course my girlfriend Ashley Hill and anyone else I might have left off this list for the opportunities and help this past year. I am looking forward to another season of working with you all and Major League Ultimate.

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