A few weeks ago, Skowhegan Area High School athletic director Don Finley went to Mike Walker and said he had some news about the school’s upcoming football hallf of fame induction. Jared is among the inductees, Finley said.

“I said ‘Jared who?’ because it didn’t really strike me. He said ‘Your son,'” Walker said. “So I was thrilled about that.”

A few days later, Finley went back to Walker, with more Skowhegan football hall of fame news. You’re being inducted too, Finley told Walker. For a minute, the man who has done so much talking on behalf of Skowhegan Area High School was speechless.

This is Walker’s 29th season as the public address announcer at Skowhegan football games. On Sept. 25, at halftime of the Indians’ homecoming game against Brewer, Walker joined the hall of fame he’s announced so many times. The honor was made even more special for Walker because he was inducted with his son Jared, a 2004 Skowhegan graduate who was a Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist as a running back.

“We had just a tremendous crowd here. It was a great event,” Walker, now in his 40th year teaching German at Skowhegan, said. “It’s one of those memories, it’s something that I’ll never forget. I get tickled thinking about it even now. Jared hadn’t been back to a game since high school.”

Walker was an assistant coach with Skowhegan’s state championship teams in 1977 and 1978. He went on to to do some radio work, broadcasting Skowhegan games on WTOS with Chandler Woodcock. In the mid-1980s, Walker was asked if he’d do the PA at football games.

“I said sure, because I have the kids in class. I love football anyway,” Walker said. “Here I am, 29 years later… I think maybe because I have a big mouth.”

During the game, Walker is constantly reminding himself what to say. The ball carrier’s name. Who made the tackle. What’s the down and distance? Keep people informed, he tells himself. At some point over the last 29 years, Walker must have thought to himself, I have this down. I’m pretty good at this. Right?

“I don’t know about pretty good. I’ve got to say, the spotters help a lot. They help tremendously,” Walker said.

The public address announcer giving credit to the spotter is the equivilent of the running back deflecting credit to the offensive line. The spotter does the dirty work, often watching the game through a pair of binoculars, making sure the correct players are indentified throughout the game. Walker’s spotter now is Tom Keene.

Walker has called a lot of great games over the years, too many to narrow down to one or two favorites. When pressed, Walker said a memorable game was a heartbreaking loss to rival Mt. Blue in the late ’80s. The Indians had a two touchdown lead in that game, only to see the Cougars come back and win on a last second touchdown.

“We’ve had some great games here over the years. We’ve just seen some great ones. In fact, the Brewer game on homecoming (a 21-14 Skowhegan win), that was a special night,” Walker said. “When you play Lawrence, that’s typically a great game. Some of the Brunswick teams have come up here for hard-fought battles.”

Calling his son Jared’s games a dozen years ago was special, Walker said, because it helped him relax.

“When you’re a parent, and your own kid’s playing, you get nervous. It gave me something to do. You’re always here, you’re always doing the next play. That helped calm the nerves, believe it or not,” Walker said. “It was just fun watching him compete.”

Walker isn’t sure how long he’ll continue to be Skowhegan’s public address announcer. The hall of famer knows retirement, from the classroom and the booth, will come sooner rather than later.

“When I retire, we want to travel,” Walker said. “I can’t tell you, but whenever I get done, it will be a sad day.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

<URL destination=””>[email protected]

</URL>Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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