Moving from calling football games for radio listeners and television viewers to announcing games on Friday nights for a stadium full of parents, students and fans can come with a learning curve.
Currently traversing that curve is Larry Lynn, the personality behind the microphone for the Johnson High School Knights the last two years.
Lynn took the position after longtime Johnson announcer Robbie Foster stepped down two years ago. But, he said, it wasn’t easy to say “yes” at first.
Lynn had done radio and television announcing before, making him a prime candidate for the job. He also had a daughter in the school, with another one moving up through the middle school.
But with his position as a church leader, his job and his family, he didn’t know if he would have the time to acclimate himself to the job. It wasn’t until he remembered his first interview as the radio announcer for Gainesville High School football that he took the job.
“I remember meeting the late Bobby Gruhn from Gainesville High School where he was the coach at the time,” said Lynn.
“I was doing my first interview. He was the man, and I was so intimidated by him. He was a big man, a stature of a champion. He just had that aura of success, and he could tell I was nervous. He looked at me and he said: ‘Son, don’t worry about it. I’ll help you out,’ and he began to talk and I never said a word. All that I remember, and I don’t remember what he said, but I looked back and thought: ‘You know what? I can see why the Gainesville Red Elephants are fierce competitors because here’s a champion of a man who can instill championship qualities into someone.’ Here I was feeling like a champion and I walked out feeling like I could do this.”
So he took the job as the voice of the Knights.
“I’m still learning now,” said Lynn. “PA announcing, radio announcing and TV announcing is quite different because radio you’re describing what’s happening. With PA you don’t have to do that because people can see what’s happening.”
And for Lynn, it’s easy to get excited while in the booth. In fact, he said, it’s something that he’s still trying to control.
“I won’t forget Friday nights because Friday nights is what they call ‘Friday Night Lights,’” he said. “It’s the excitement and exhilaration. One of the things people know me for and my personality is I tend to get a little too overly exuberant. I’ve been constructively criticized to where I’m working on that and I feel like I’m better for both the visitors and the home team.”
But that excitement and passion for Friday night is what attracts Lynn to the booth.
“When you look on the field and you see those athletes and you begin to see tomorrow in their lives; when you begin to see the cheerleaders and see beyond their cheering; when you begin to see the band and see beyond the years and what they do there, it’s easy to get excited,” he said. “I want people to say: ‘Well, why is he so excited?’ It’s because I see tomorrow in these young people. That’s the most important thing to me.”