Sep 11, 2018

Behind the Microphone with Dan DeCrescenzo

By Lori Draz and Dan DeCrescenzo

Dan DeCrescenzo Middletown

Welcome to Teen Scene. Each month our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact the Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry, let’s just get to sharing.

This month’s author is Dan DeCrescenzo, a 16-year-old junior at Middletown High School South. Not everyone fits into a neat package. Many people are gifted with unique skills that can drive them to the top of their ranks, but finding those opportunities is not always easy. Sometimes you have to carve out your own place in the world. This month’s author not only found his voice, he is using his voice to create his own future. Here is Dan’s story:

I am a firm believer that everyone is exceptionally gifted at something; finding out what you’re gifted at is, admittedly, the difficult part. Maybe, in the worst of scenarios, you may not have the opportunity to even attempt something that, unbeknownst to you, is your true aptitude.

That was almost me.

When I didn’t make my middle school basketball team in seventh grade, I chose to be the manager. The coach soon randomly asked me to give a speech about the team at our school’s pep rally, kick starting my announcing career.

That summer, I was also asked to announce baseball games for my brother’s travel team, slowly learning the art of broadcasting. In eighth grade, I gave another speech during my student council campaign, started delivering morning announcements, and announced the school’s championship volleyball game. I continued to announce for my brother, who won his league championship in a game that provided me with great exposure.

Within time, my local Little League invited me to announce games being held during the All-Star season following a solid end to my run with my brother’s team. It turned out to be quite an adventure; it culminated in me announcing the 2016 NJ State Little League Softball Championship. My reputation as an enthusiastic and fluid announcer began to grow.

Announcing followed me to Middletown High School South. By sophomore year, I was doing pregame and play-by-play for varsity football, basketball, and baseball. I also have routinely introduced the marching band, cheerleaders, and dance team. In addition, I won a contest to broadcast my sports opinions on an Instagram page called All Sports News.

At the end of sophomore year, South hosted the NJ Girls Lacrosse Semifinals and I was bestowed the honor to announce those games and the All-Star game the next day. I was thanked by the state athletic association with an official NJSIAA shirt to wear when announcing.

My upcoming junior year of announcing, starting with football season, will hopefully bring more success. It is a privilege to be the guy everyone requests to announce their games, and I couldn’t be more thankful for every opportunity.

As the so-called “Voice of South,” I’ve had many great and humbling moments: I met reporters from Shore Sports Network and Jersey Sports Zone; I called several North vs. South rivalry games; I announced the departing seniors at the Middletown Thanksgiving Football Classic; and was given an announcing varsity letter by my basketball coach.

One moment, though, stands above the rest: One of our basketball players was set to score his 1,000th point in the next game, but I was home sick. To see his disappointment when he heard I would be unable to announce his achievement was agonizing. Determined not to miss it, I went to the game and pushed through it and tentatively called the first half, announcing his accomplishment in the process. To know that my voice was so meaningful to him was truly heartwarming.

I acknowledge my story contains many lucky breaks, but the lessons I learned ring true for anyone. When searching for your niche, if it does not come quickly, it is important to not focus so much on what you can do. It’s really about imagining what you could do, examining your entire character. What makes you excited? What are you not afraid of?

For me, announcing was an unforeseen opportunity; now it is something I’d like to pursue as a career. Never get discouraged – and believe in yourself. You might find your talent when you least expect it.

Another lesson I have learned is that people want you to succeed. For me, the support of so many different people opened doors for me to pursue my talent in its infancy. I could have never accomplished anything without my parents, school administrators, and coaches supporting me at every turn.

The same guidance and assistance can easily translate into whatever you are looking for or pursuing. You may not believe it, but so many people around you want to elevate you. They believe in you no matter what, and you need to believe in them. Success is not a lonely act.

Finally, embrace having a unique talent. Your talent may not be so clear for others to relate to, as mine certainly wasn’t when I first started announcing. Nevertheless, if you can do something at a high level, no matter what that is, that commands respect. The real key is that you always strive for excellence and be confident in what you do. It’s that simple.

The time will come when you finally realize your innate talent. It may be tomorrow, it may be next year, but when it occurs, it will be very fulfilling. The only thing that I hope for more than a career in announcing is that everyone reading this can find their own calling. It’s always been inside of you; you just have to set it free.