Fellow alums take friendly approach to live-stream commentary

RodHammBruceJost876

RodHammBruceJost876

When Bruce Jost and Rod Hamm step into the media press box at Joel H. Wiens Stadium Saturday evening as commentators for the live-stream video broadcast of Tabor College?s home football game, they?ll go in first and foremost as buddies.

?The magic is we?re good friends,? said Jost, the play-by-play guy, of the repartee that has characterized their work in the past. ?We talk sports when we?re not on the air, and we talk sports when we?re on the air. It?s low pressure not to feel like you have to have the right catch phrase, or that you have to know everything.?

Hamm adds in true ?color man? style: ?Some of the sports we talk about isn?t necessarily happening on the field. We talk a lot about the antics that happen in the realm of sports?like the NFL and college. ?

The local duo aims to supply informative and entertaining commentary with every Tabor home football game this season when it?s streamed live over the Internet at hillsborofreepress.com.

Broadcasting Tabor sports is a sideline that combines their love of sports and their love of the college. Both are Tabor alums, former Bluejay athletes and former Tabor staff.

Jost graduated in 1997 with a business finance degree and was a standout basketball player at Tabor.

Hamm played baseball for four years before graduating in 1982. He also was talked into playing one year of soccer, stepping in as a goal keeper with limited experience in the sport.

?The clincher for me was when one of my own teammates scored on me in a game,? Hamm said. ?That?s when I said, ?I?m done.??

That kind of deprecating humor has characterized their broadcasting style. Their ?big break? came when they were asked to broadcast Tabor men?s basketball when the team made it to the national tournament almost a decade ago.

Hamm said his partnership with Jost was sealed after he tried to team with another announcer in the area.

?It totally busted,? he said of the experience. ?I was supposed to be doing the color and I didn?t have any idea what to say?and he never led me into anything. It was the most horrible experience of my life.

?That?s why I refuse to do color with anybody but Bruce.?

 

Jost and Hamm agree that what makes them work well together is that they feel free to be who they are.

?I also think what maybe works is that neither one of us are football experts,? Hamm said. ?We?re not big Xs and Os people. We know basic formations and things like that, but if you?re going to start breaking it down like (the professional analysts), we?re not there. We don?t study film and do that kind of stuff.

?We?re lucky to know the players? names.?

Yes, humor is part of their schtick.

?The goal for me is to include a little bit of humor, because we like that in each other and we like that in general,? Jost said. ?If we can do respectable humor?if that?s the right way to put it?that?s important to me.

?Of course, being accurate and giving people a feel for what?s going on, on the field and off the field, that?s important to me.?

Both men have day jobs. Jost works for MB Foundation, Hamm for Baker Bros. Printing. They said they try to spend at least a little time preparing for their broadcasts.

?Our prep is that we usually print out the stats for both teams, which you can get off the Internet,? Jost said. ?Maybe we circle a few things on there, and maybe look over headlines and sports stories and that sort of thing for the lull times during the game where we might need it.

?Some years we?ve needed to do more of that than others,? he added with a smile

As the play-by-play guy, Jost said he tries to capture the entire game-day experience, not just the action on the field.

?Everything I?see that?s in the stadium is fair game,? he said. ?Who?s sitting in the stands, what the cheerleaders are doing, if they?re selling muffins for some kind of fundraiser?all of that goes into it for me.?

As for the color commentary, Hamm said, ?If it goes quiet (on the air), you know you better come up with something.?

Personal experiences are a good source for material.

?Just being in Hillsboro, you pick up on a few things,? Jost said. ?Having seen all the past (Tabor football) seasons, we can draw on that, and talk about how that game reminds us of this game or that game.?

Some approaches are off limits, though.

?We know the adminstration side of things, so we?re not going to hammer staff because we know what it was like to be staff,? he added.

Also, they try hard to avoid ragging on the officiating.

?That?s what we want to get away from,? Jost said. ?The officiating is never the issue. You have to deal with it, and work around it.?

What both neo-broadcasters really enjoy is interacting with the audience during the games.

?We try to get people to shoot us an e-mail, tell us where they?re listening from, and then we can read it,? Jost said. ?It doesn?t happen a lot, but we love it when it does.?

They agreed that one of their most memorable TC football games as announcers was the year Joel H. Wiens Stadium opened. The facility?s namesake was on hand for the festivities, but it was dreadfully cold and the Bluejays were taking a beating.

?It might have been one of our better days?we were in the groove as far as bouncing off each other,? Jost said.

At one point, they called the stadium VIP room to ask what the refreshment menu was for the day.

?Jules Glanzer (Tabor president) eventually brought us food,? Jost said with a laugh.

?Now, that?s what makes Tabor, Tabor,? he added. ?It?s community, its respecting one another, and being able to laugh at yourself a little bit?and it?s poor football.

?That hasn?t always been the tradition, thankfully,? Jost was quick to add. ?But for any number of us who attended way back when, that was the lineage.?

Added Hamm: ?Hopefully, that?s going to change.?

To watch the live-stream broadcast of the football game between Tabor College and the University of Saint Mary at 7 p.m. Saturday, go to hillsborofreepress.com, find the ?Breaking News? portion of the home page, and click on the appropriate link.

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