Nothing compares to football in the Jungle. I’ve been to college football in Death Valley with 100,000 fans screaming through the pouring rain. I’ve been to Arena League games in which the players rappelled to the field. I’ve lunged for t-shirts and foul balls in ballparks from Camden Yards to Memphis, from Yankee Stadium to whatever park the Shreveport Captains played in. I’ve cheered for Ryne Sandberg and yelled insults at Dennis Rodman. I’ve seen post-game fireworks from Toledo to Greensboro. I’ve slurped melted ice cream from those little batting helmets and eaten more little league BBQ after 8 p.m. than my doctors know about.
And I have never, in my life, seen any sporting event as amazing and surprising as Louisa Lions football.
Game balls being parachuted in. Lions – both flame-breathing and real. Cannon fire. Top-flight cheerleaders. Award-winning field. Highlight-reel plays. Stands of rabid fans. And holding the night together, quite possibly one of the best announcers I’ve ever heard.
I’ve been to games in The Jungle with the Lions up by multiple touchdowns, when interest in the game tends to wane, and I’ve heard Chuck Moss rally the crowd back to life. I’ve been there when the stands shook with “THIRD DOWN IS OUR DOWN” stomps.
The job of an announcer is not easy. You have to keep up with the action, knowing who just did what. You have to know where in the game you are – time for a comeback or time to warm up the bus? As an announcer, you have the burden of being just as exciting and entertaining as Harry Caray or John Madden, with the resources of, well, not exactly network.
Recently, the excitability of the game announcing at The Jungle has been called into question. People are entitled to their own opinions, even if they seem to be misguided. That’s how we end up with Redskins fans, I guess.
But to describe the Lions game announcing at The Jungle as anything less than fantastically entertaining misses the point of Friday night lights. You go there to see the game. To sit under the lights with friends and family. You go there to be involved in the game, in the team, in the community. You go there for hotdogs and BBQ and stomping and yelling. And Chuck Moss is as important to that experience as just about anything in the stadium. You can’t have the game without the lights, without the award-winning field. You can’t have the game without the players, the coaches. You can’t have the game without the cheerleaders, without the fans. And you certainly can’t have the game without the number one cheerleader and fan, Chuck Moss, leading the roar of the crowd.
Here’s to you, Mr. Moss. Scream yourself hoarse.