Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Broadcasting at the Breslin Center

I don't need to tell any Michigan State fan just how magical a venue the Jack Breslin Student Events Center can be. The banners in the rafters attest to the iconic players and teams that have graced its floors. And for broadcasters, calling a match at the Breslin Center is as sure a sign as any that you've officially made it.

The MSU volleyball team will take to the hallowed floor of the Breslin Center tonight at 7 p.m. when they face arch-rival Michigan. It's likely to be the largest home crowd volleyball crowd this year - and no wonder since anyone with an MSUFCU membership or credit/debit card gets in free, while the first 500 fans get a free "Bust Breslin" shirt.

With all that in mind, we asked the nation's best volleyball broadcaster, MSU's own John Kreger, what it's like to call a game at the Breslin Center, and what it means to be doing so for a game involving the always-hated Wolverines. His remarks are reprinted below.


I'm very excited to get the chance to broadcast another match at the Breslin Center. As someone who has a great respect for the traditions at MSU, to be able to call matches from a building that has seen so much success makes the Michigan-Michigan State match mean even more. I'm also at the scorers table, as opposed to in the upper deck at Jenison, so I'm right on top of the action, and I feed off of that. It makes for a fun night.
The Michigan-Michigan State matches are the highlight of my broadcast year. This will be my 17th State Pride match (The annual competition between the two schools) and the energy I get from being a part of these matches is unlike any other. I think, however, that's because I get to enjoy them as a fan. When I've asked the two coaches I've worked for about their feelings on the match, they've told me that playing Michigan presents unique challenges. It's important to do well against your rival, and understand the tradition that goes with competition between the two schools. That said, they do their best to keep the routine as normal as possible. Athletes sometimes rely on routine to get them ready for a match, and so they keep things relatively static no matter who is on the other side of the net.
Last year's UM-MSU match was one of the top 5 matches of my nine years behind the Spartan microphone. When you factor in the fact that MSU had just lost Jenilee Rathje for the season with an ACL the night before, the heart showed by Cathy's team as they won in four sets ranks as one of the all-time grittiest performances I've ever seen.
The crowd at the Breslin will be key. Last year a school record 5200 plus fans packed Breslin, and believe me, they had an impact. You could see the players being lifted by the crowd all night. The student presence was HUGE, and we need that again this year.
What does Michigan State-Michigan mean to me personally? When it comes to sports, If I could only watch two teams play against each other, in any sport, for the rest of my life, I'd choose Michigan State-Michigan. I have been on both sides of this rivalry. One of the reasons I got in to broadcasting was listening to longtime Michigan football play-by-play man Bob Ufer. My Grandfather on Mom's side lived and died with the Wolverines, and my mother has three Michigan degrees. On my dad's side, eight members of our family, including my father and myself, over three generations, have called MSU home. To have the rivalry I hold most dear also be a part of my profession is a true blessing.
Michigan brings the #11 team in the nation into Breslin tonight. They are the second of three straight ranked teams we'll play, and they present a stern challenge. The Wolverines were within 3 points of ending Penn State's 80 plus match win streak this past weekend, and are the only school to take the Nittany Lions to 5 sets this year. They say though, that when these two teams meet none of that matters, so the only thing I'm sure of is that both sides will leave everything on the floor.

I can't wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment