Game 113: at Central Connecticut State 72, Binghamton 68 Thursday, December 22, 2005
Detrick Gymnasium - New Britain, CT
The voice is unmistakable - the rich and folksy tones brighten the corners of CCSU's home court with warm, gooey honey poured all over a chilly December night.Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to tonight's game between theBinghamton Bearcats and theCentral Connecticut State Blue Devils.
Jasper "Joe" Arnone is an unknown legend, one of many unsung heroes in Mid-Majorville. He's the best public address announcer in the country, and one of the longest-running. He arrived at CCSU in 1956, and never left. He's been manning the mike for 42 years, and I don't care who Duke has running P.A. at Cameron Indoor Stadium - Arnone is, was and always will be The Voice Of The Blue Devils.
Arnone makes players feel special... each and every player, home or guest, regardless of the amount of playing time their coaches give them. He introduces each player to the crowd on their first check-in to the game, giving each benchwarmer just as much fanfare as the regular starters.Now checking in for the Bearcats, number 33, Giovanni Olomo. Giovanni is a 6-8, 245-pound sophomore forward from Yaounde, Cameroon. Number 33, Olomo.
Indeed, Arnone is a storehouse of information, with a thick stack of organized game notes on his wooden podium. He makes sure all fans are informed - even the small clutches of opposing supporters. Even during non-conference games against America East teams that have home courts that are four hours away.The Blue Devils play next Thursday, December 29 at 7:30 pm in Delaware, and will be back home on January 12 against Monmouth at 7:00 pm. And for you Binghamton fans, your next game is Thursday, December 29 at 7:30 pm against Idaho State, at the Utah State Gossner Foods Classic.
According to the CCSU staff, Arnone shows up an hour before game time, undergoes intense preparation for each and every game, and doesn't leave afterwards until there's nobody left to talk to. He gets on himself whenever he makes a mistake, wincing and upon realization of his errors - and as he advances in age, he makes more and more of them. But nobody gets on him, just like they never got on Harry Caray when he hopelessly mangled someone's name.
But when Arnone speaks, he's not some creaky old relic who continues to mumble away into a microphone because nobody is brave enough to kick him out. Simply put, he is the Vin Scully of basketball public address announcers. Arnone's voice makes all the hip-hop and commercialism and sparkly dance teams around him seem strangely out of place. At halftime, when he reads a promo for the sponsored booth out in the Detrick Gym lobby, and when he trips over the words "Geico gecko," it sounds like the most ludicrous thing in the world. And it really is ridiculous, when you think about it... it's only constant media conditioning and repetition that makes a stupid little green CGI shill seem like perfectly normal entertainment. That's the magic of Jasper "Joe" - he exposes things as they really are.
He's also one of the most effective snack salesmen ever, making a trip to the concession stand seem like a vacation in paradise.It's halftime, so don't forget our concession stand... they've got delicious hot dogs, sandwiches, and Tom's famous pizza. You'll also find chips, candy, and ice-cold beverages. So visit the concession stand, and enjoy the game.
Arnone is many things - a family man (three daughters and eight grandchildren), a war hero (he served in Korea), and a former football star for the school (he played Blue Devil football from 1956-58, and was the team's MVP as a senior). He's served as assistant baseball coach, assistant football coach, and as a member on coaching search parties. For his service, he was named to the CCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
I know it would pale in comparison with the plaque in the hallway at Detrick, but I had any way to honor him, I would. So this I promise - if there's ever a Mid-Majority Hall of Fame, Arnone would be the first inductee. Because he is, without a doubt, the best public address announcer in Mid-Majorville, and perhaps in all of Division I as well.