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From the OUA to the Olympics (and 3 lessons I learned along the way)
I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2015 with a Master of Mathematics degree, but I've always been involved in sports in some way. People usually think I'm looking to work in analytics, but I'm more interested in game day presentation — player intros, hype-worthy music, Jumbotrons, and all. This past August, I became the first public address announcer from an Ontario University Athletics program to ever announce at the Olympic Games.
I started announcing because I wanted to work part-time during my undergrad at Western. I loved sports, but was tired of doing stats, so I tried announcing. My first gig was a women's basketball exhibition against IUPUI, and I was terrible. I couldn't keep up with all the baskets and fouls, and even said the name of my own school wrong. After laughing at me for a week, my boss was forgiving enough to give me another chance, and I stuck with it. My dream was to eventually work up to men's hockey and football and be a huge deal at Western, but I was "stuck" with women's hockey and other seemingly minor sports. That's when I learned my first lesson.
Lesson 1: If I'm doing it for myself, I'm doing it for the wrong reasons.
There's a saying that goes: "In humility, count others more significant than yourselves." The games that sucked the most for me were always the ones where I went in thinking I was God’s gift to mankind and deserved way better than low-profile sports teams. So instead of moping, I decided to do the announcing and music for every game like it was the most important game of their lives. It was also a personal mission to get to know UWaterloo student-athletes as people, not just names on a box score. (I even tutored a few of them!) It not only made things a lot easier, but cheering on friends makes games a lot more fun.
Lesson 2: Knowing the right people matters, but the right timing matters a lot too.
When I arrived at UWaterloo, I lucked into announcing women's hockey because the guy who was going to do it suddenly bailed. I lucked into basketball the year after because the regular guy moved away from the Waterloo area. When I applied for the Pan/Parapan Ams, I recorded my audition clip at the MAD Sound Studio, included some UWaterloo hockey and basketball announcing clips, and got an offer to announce in French and Spanish. During the Parapan Ams, my co-announcer at Wheelchair Rugby mentioned applying to Rio. I asked him if he could forward the email they sent him, and he did.
If I didn't announce at UWaterloo, I wouldn't have access to a free recording studio, wouldn't have announced at Wheelchair Rugby, wouldn't have been able to email Rio 2016, and certainly would've never ended up at the Olympics. Timing's important.
Lesson 3: University of Waterloo Athletics taught me how to make the best of what I've got.
The amount of staff we had at UWaterloo hockey games could usually be counted with one hand — two if it was a big promo night. So if someone was busy helping someone else, you'd better know where the referee locker rooms were if they asked. It created a nice mom-and-pop working environment, but it also taught me that for every role, there were 95 other things you learned to do. People say it's an economy of specialization, but when the going gets tough, there will always be a place for versatile people.
I'm now at George Brown College studying Sport & Event Marketing, and looking to work full-time in the sports industry, but I still make time to drive down the 401 every weekend for Warrior home games. In fact, I announced my 99th and 100th home games for the Black and Gold on November 26. If you're ever in town to watch Warrior basketball or women's hockey, feel free to drop by, say hello, and enjoy the show.
Alumni Relations would like to congratulate In-Ting on all his accomplishments. In-Ting is currently in PyeongChang, South Korea for test events for the 2018 Winter Olympics! Making him the first PA announcer from a U SPORTS athletic program to work in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.