Sunday, March 2, 2008
On Friday night at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor championships, I was getting ready to call a heat of the men's 200 meters, when long jumper Norris Frederick of the University of Washington (left,/photo courtesy University of Washington Sports Information), a true fan favorite at the Dempsey Indoor, stepped onto the runway for his third attempt of the competition.
In the previous round, he had set a personal best by jumping 25-10, but I didn't pay much attention to it as I was trying to read the start lists for the races; I did acknowledge that it was a PR on the mic, then went about my job.
Entering round 3, Travis Boyd, who was added as the roaming field events announcer for the meet, said that Frederick was up, and as Travis said that, the folks watching the long jump began clapping in rhythm to help Norris get going.
As Frederick landed in the pit, I could tell that it was a good jump, but when you're watching a long jump 80+ yards away, it's not a certainty. Meanwhile, one of the heats of the men's 200 was just getting set into the blocks.
Just as the sprinters were getting set, I saw the fans by the pit start going nuts, and as the girl working the signboard indicator put up the 6 in 26 feet, I knew it was good, but waited until she put up the rest of the numbers.
I don't know where it came from, but when the girl put up the 7, I yelled into the microphone, "BOOM! SHAKA-LAKA!!! Norris Frederick has just set a new personal best of 26-7 in the long jump...I'll wait for our field announcer Travis Boyd to get the official mark!" At the same time, I could see folks at the pit going even more nuts, and Norris along with several UW teammates high-fiving each other over what just happened...meantime, starter Bill Hickman had to ask the sprinters in the 200 to stand up because of all the commotion from the long jump.
Once Travis announced the official mark of 26-7 3/4 from the field , there was still a few moments of excitement from the long jump fans, until I began to reset the lineups from that heat of the men's 200.
Most of the comments I heard about my spontaneous remark were of the "he did not just say that!" variety. I was greeted after coming down from the announcer's booth by Oregon sprints/jumps coach Robert Johnson with a big smile and a "BOOM! SHAKA-LAKA!" of his own.
I did get a slap of the wrist from several of the track officials from that remark, mainly because they had to ask the sprinters to stand up. My answer to that was that the folks at the long jump made enough noise that they would have had to ask them to step out of the blocks anyway.
"BOOM! SHAKA-LAKA!" appeared twice more at the MPSF meet, once after Arizona State's Ryan Whiting's monster 70-5 1/4 toss in the shot put, and at the end of the pole vault, when Stanford's Graeme Hoste jumped 18-4 3/4 to win the event, and break the school record held by Toby Stevenson.
To Norris, Ryan, & Graeme, congratulations! You've just been awarded the first three "BOOM! SHAKA-LAKAS!!!" of my announcing career!
FOOTNOTE: I was just alerted to a thread on this on letsrun.com; also, this blog would not be complete without me acknowledging that "BOOM! SHAKA-LAKA!!!" is one of the catch phrases of long-time Seattle Supersonics play-by-play man Kevin Calabro, although I've been told that several play-by-play announcers have used it in their broadcasts...goes to show you that everybody rips everyone else off!
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