“Lets meet your Spartans!” Tom Fones roared at a recent girls basketball game. In the Fall and Winter, two St. Paul Academy and Summit School teachers lend their voices to Spartan Athletics. Upper School debate coach and history teacher Tom Fones and 3rd/4th grade teacher Tim Rongstad have both worked the scorer’s table announcing basketball, volleyball and soccer games for a combined 20 years.
During the basketball and volleyball seasons, Fones, Rongstad and Upper School History teacher John Finch alternate dates to announce games. Each announcer works alone at each game, along with a student who keeps the official scorebook. After announcing the starting lineups, Fones, Rongstad and Finch run the scoreboard and keep track of posessions.
Fones has announced both basketball and soccer games for 16 years, enthusiastically naming the starting lineups for the Spartans. His experience working as an announcer on a radio station helped Fones learn how to use a microphone and perfect his voice. “I announce the opening line ups and then I run the scoreboard and work with the person who does the [score]book,” he said.
Fones likes to think of this job as a way to support Spartan Athletics and his way to be involved in sports. “It really keeps me concentrated on the game,” Fones said. His favorite kind of basketball game to watch is “a fast paced, close game, although an SPA won blowout can be fun too,” he said.
Lower School teacher Tim Rongstad shares similar experiences to Fones as he watches athletes develop throughout the years. In his fourth year of working the electronic scoreboard at basketball and volleyball games, Rongstad gets to watch many former students on the court.
“One of the most exciting things that I think happens on a regular basis is that I get to see and watch and enjoy and observe some of the kids that I used to see as kindergarteners, first graders and then all the way through the Lower School,” Rongstad said. “Its really exciting for me to see them as high school kids.”
From all these years watching Spartan athletics, Fones advises athletes to “play hard all the time,” he said.