Has anyone else grown weary of the ear-splitting public address system at Riverside Brookfield High School’s Shuey Stadium? Just one game into the season and already we’ve been subjected to five and a half hours of high-octane commentary on Friday night followed by another two hours on Saturday morning.
It seems the games have become more about the announcer than the players on the field. The running dialog, the cadence, the unabashed cheerleading designed to give the home team the edge and diminish the opposition. Clearly, the announcer has become one of the most important players on the team.
Even the most minor Bulldog accomplishments are heralded to the heavens in confirmation of the fact. Catch a pass, run for five yards, make a tackle – all of Riverside will hear. Make a first down or score a touchdown – people on Harlem Avenue need to cover their ears, the announcer’s joy is so great.
There are more than just a handful of football games in the fall. In addition to the other outdoor sports, track and soccer, the high school has taken to leasing the field and PA system to semi-pro and grade-school football teams. Each event provides an opportunity for an aspiring announcer to strut his stuff, while all of us within two miles of the stadium must bear witness.
It’s curious how institutions operate under an air of impunity. If one of your neighbors were to play their music that loud and that often the police would shut them down in a minute. The school, however, pays a man to scream into a microphone for seven and a half hours and an entire community must suffer in silence.
I’ve talked to a number of people at the school from superintendents to building chiefs about the noise. They all agree it is too loud and promise to get right on it. In fact, I suggested to Jack Baldermann he should turn it down until someone complains it is too low. He chuckled.
There is no one at the school during the games to take your call, so you have to wait till Monday to register your complaint. The lack of immediacy diminishes the argument. The Riverside police tell you to call the Brookfield police, because Shuey Stadium is in Brookfield. A call to the Brookfield police results in nothing, the sound stays the same.
I think it’s time for the school to begin behaving like an adult instead of a teenager whose parents are out of town. The amplifier and speakers are built for a much larger venue, think Yankee Stadium. The system needs to be fundamentally downsized. The speakers do not address the audience; they are pointed over their heads into Riverside. Orient them to address the needs of the crowd and keep the noise in the stadium. Finally, bring some restraint and professional decorum into the announcer’s box.