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WHS sport: A new look for the best seats at Warrior Field
By Roger Greene
Waccamaw High public address announcers Brian Henry and Matt Giltmier had the best seats in the house for the Warriors season-opening football game. Though the outcome didn’t go Waccamaw’s way – North Myrtle Beach won 50-14 – Henry and Giltmier were still able to enjoy their perches inside Warrior Field’s refurbished press box.
Offseason changes to the press box called for more of a face lift than an overhaul. However, the fresh paint, new ceiling tiles, leather swivel chairs, and freshly scoured floor and counter provided the look and feel of new accommodations.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Henry said. “You can’t even compare the look in here now to what it was last year. It gets you excited and makes you want to raise your game.”
High school budgets being what they are, the upgrades were a hands-on project for Henry, several of his family members and a few other volunteers. Chores like scraping off the old wallpaper, sanding things down before painting, and washing away layers of dirt that were caked on the floor and counter called for ample amounts of elbow grease.
But there were no complaints about the effort required or the end result.
“It’s part of wanting to change the culture of the program,” Henry said. “The desire is here to take things to another level. Fixing up the press box is a small part of that, but it is another step toward creating a more positive attitude.”
The press box even withstood an onrush of North Myrtle staffers, whose numbers continued to multiply as the starting time for the game drew near.
“We had to bring out some of the old metal folding chairs we were using last year,” said Henry with a laugh. “We tried to get rid of those skeletons and put them on top of the booth. But we had to bring some of them back down. I guess it’s a good thing we kept them around.”
Giltmier is new to the Friday night atmosphere and was recruited into the booth by Henry, a longtime friend. The duo operate a DJ business on the side and try to bring the same energy to Warrior Field that they do to their musical gigs.
“Brian said he needed somebody to be his right-hand man,” said Giltmier, who spots and provides audio support while Henry mans the PA. “I was happy to help out. It’s fun being up here. It’s a new way to see the game.”
Though the final score got out of hand, Henry and Giltmier were able to keep the crowd engaged. Their humor helped lighten the mood, particularly when the jersey numbers on the field didn’t match those on the roster, a common problem for high school announcers.
But as Giltmier pointed out, the job does come with somewhat of a learning curve.
“The jerseys and yard lines aren’t always easy to see,” he said. “When everyone gets in a big scrum and piles up, it can be tough to tell who is who. And you need to move fast. There isn’t much time between plays.”