If you ask Ethan Grossman ’18 to name his favorite professional athlete, you’ll get a surprising answer.
“Talking about sports is a joy for me. I never expected that I would have this opportunity. It’s a dream that came true.”
Unlike most teens, Ethan doesn’t cite a past or present NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL great. Instead, he points to Giants play-by-play announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. “I’ve always looked up to them and thought that it would be awesome to do their job,” Ethan said.
As the “Voice of O’Dowd” on High School Cube, the platform O’Dowd is using to livestream athletic events, Ethan is on the path to achieving his dream of being a professional announcer.
Ethan has electrified the airwaves with his knowledgeable, enthusiastic play-by-play announcing of varsity football games and will continue to call the action during basketball season. Listen to a sample of his work…
Ethan first learned of the opportunity to do play-by-play announcing in August, when Associate Athletic Director Carlos Arriaga invited students to come to a meeting to learn about how they could participate with livestream broadcasts. Ethan subsequently got Arriaga’s OK to call the football team’s home opener on Sept. 12.
Arriaga said that while it was unusual that he would entrust a freshman with the microphone, Ethan’s interest in and knowledge of sports was impressive.
“You always have reservations when someone is doing something for the first time – especially in such a public forum. But we thought we’d give it a shot and see how it went,” Arriaga said. “Within the first few minutes of the first quarter I knew he was perfect for the job.”
Ethan admits that he was a bit nervous before calling his first game. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But everything just came naturally.”
Prior to each game, Ethan meets with Arriaga to get the scoop on key players from the opposing team, and he tries to gather background information that can be used as “color” filler in between plays. But that’s easier said than done.
“I heard Mr. Cushing playing a broadcast and I heard my voice. That was a little odd.”
“It’s not like college or the pros where there is a lot of information out there. Mostly I just have to be ready to gauge who the star players are once the game starts,” he said. “Because there is a lack of information there are gaps during the broadcast when I’m not saying anything and it’s kind of awkward. But I just have to push through.”
Ethan hasn’t yet developed his catchphrase (think Chris Berman’s “He. Could. Go. All. The. Way.” or John Madden’s “Boom!”), and isn’t going to try and force one. “All the best announcers have an iconic phrase,” he said. “It will eventually come naturally.”
Being the Eyes, Ears and Heart of the Game
Ethan understands that his role as a play-by-play announcer is to cover the game fairly and accurately while informing and entertaining the audience.
“It’s hard since we have only one camera and we’re not able to do replay. Explaining things well is really key so people can understand (a play) they’ve missed by just by listening,” Ethan said.
Ethan says family members, friends and O’Dowd faculty and staff have been complimentary of his work as a play-by-play announcer.
Still, he’s adjusting to hearing his own voice on game rebroadcasts and clips. “I was walking down Hurley Hall one day and I heard Mr. (Kevin) Cushing playing a broadcast and I heard my voice. That was a little odd. I didn’t say anything – I just kept walking,” Ethan said.
Cushing says Ethan’s skills as a play-by-play announcer are terrific. “My observation is that we have a burgeoning Bob Costas. Ethan’s enthusiasm and clear descriptions make the livestream events a must watch,” he said.
Ethan’s favorite sport is baseball and he’s a lifelong Giants fan. That’s why he has such an affinity for announcers Kuiper and Krukow, as well as Dave Flemming and Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller.
“Kuiper and Krukow are the classic team. Both of them played, which is a huge advantage when you are listening to them because they give so much insight,” Ethan said. “They have great voices too.”
While Ethan has his sights set on becoming a professional announcer, right now he’s enjoying his high school gig.
“Talking about sports is a joy for me. I never expected that I would have this opportunity. It’s a dream that came true,” he said.