NSA’s youth invasionPublished 10:37pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s varsity boys’ basketball team has benefited this season from freshman contributions on the court, but there is a youth movement taking place on the sidelines too.
Home games this year have had an energy that is fueled by announcer Patrick Suttle, a sophomore at NSA. Additionally, Jack Hutchinson, a fifth-grader, is serving in his second year as manager of the basketball team.
Suttle’s announcing career began last year when NSA’s new varsity boys’ baseball coach David Mitchell told him that he needed an announcer for the games.
“‘Let me see what my parents think,’” Suttle recalled telling him. “My parents said, ‘Patrick, you should take this opportunity because this is once in a lifetime. You may never get this opportunity again.’ And I said, ‘Let’s take it while I have it.’”
He told Mitchell that he would do it and he announced the latter part of the season. This year, assistant athletic director Tim Davis asked him to announce the varsity basketball games.
The foundation for Suttle’s turn as a sports announcer had already been laid.
“I’ve just practiced public speaking throughout my whole life,” Suttle said. “I’ve given prayers at several different occasions; I’ve given speeches at a few different places.”
He spoke at the Suffolk Masonic Lodge 30 about the Boy Scouts in 2010 and also delivered remarks at his Eagle Scout Ceremony this past November. Suttle believes public speaking and announcing are linked.
“Because in my opinion, announcing — the only thing it is is public speaking, but with spirit,” he said.
Suttle played sports when he was younger, but figures announcing is actually a better opportunity than playing because it could last longer.
The job also has a natural appeal on a social level.
“Really what attracted me was that I get to interact with the team, the team members and the team coaches, anybody else who’s sitting at the scorer’s table,” he said. “I get to interact with a lot of different people.”
NSA varsity boys’ basketball coach Randolph Davis spoke to what Suttle brings to the games.
“Patrick is one of the most enthusiastic students we have at the school,” he said. “He’s a true blue-and-gold Saint there, all the way through. He’s real enthusiastic about just everything he does. He’s always in the halls talking to people, he’s a positive influence, he’s always upbeat.”
Just down the sideline from Suttle, 10-year old Jack Hutchinson can be glimpsed manning his post next to the Saints’ bench. His story began last year with former coach Clint Wright, who now coaches at Lakeland High School.
“So my dad was looking for people to help me practice basketball, and so Coach Clint volunteered, and he was also the head coach of the varsity basketball team,” Jack said. “And he said he was looking for a manager, and I was like, ‘Well, sure, I’ll do it.’”
Coach Davis took over this year and kept Jack on.
“Jack does a great job for us,” Davis said. “He comes to practice every day. He’s at ball games. He makes sure the guys get water and towels. He’s around to help pick up the balls and do anything extra we need him to do at practice and that type of stuff. The guys really like him, he’s a really good kid, so it’s a real pleasure to have somebody like that working with you.”
Jack displays real commitment, as game days can be long and even practice sessions frequently do not begin until 5 p.m.
The appeal of the job for Jack is similar to why announcing is a draw for Suttle, but adjusted for the age difference.
“I like interacting with the team members,” Jack said. “I think it’s nice to be interacting with people much older than me.”
He does see an end date for his time in the role, though, because he is eying an on-court position.
“I think I’ll do it next year, and then the year after you get to the point where you can join a basketball team,” he said. “That’s where I’m going to step up a little notch.”