Kennington Smith - The Voice of the Future

Tue, 10/28/2008 - 3:11pm
By: Michael Boylan

Kennington Smith - The Voice of the Future

When you’re a young boy and you think of what you want to be when you grow up, the options seem to be superhero, cowboy, professional athlete or a combination of all three.

As you grow up and you start to realize that capes don’t make you fly and there are no cattle drives in your neighborhood, your options broaden to the jobs you see and, sometimes hear, every day.

Kennington Smith, an eighth-grader at Whitewater Middle School, wants to be a sports broadcaster and stated recently that this has always been his goal. His parents and his school have helped him begin his journey to become a broadcaster. This fall he has served as the voice of Whitewater Middle School football, calling the game from the press box at the school.

“I have always loved sports, especially football, baseball and basketball,” said Smith, who like many sports broadcasters has gone from the field to the press box. He was a member of the seventh-grade football team at Whitewater Middle School last year, playing tight end and cornerback.

Smith said his favorite announcers and sports personalities include ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Stuart Scott and former UGA football announcer Larry Munson.

His parents, who are very supportive of his dream, sent him to a camp this summer, the Emory Scholastic Play by Play camp, which allowed campers to attend a staged press conference with Philadelphia 76er Louis Williams, meet sports broadcasters like 680 The Fan’s John Kincaid and Voice of the Atlanta Thrashers Dan Kamal, do write-ups and tour the press facilities at Turner Field, as well as do play-by-play and make a DVD of highlights from the week.

Smith was so jazzed by his camp experience that an idea struck him that first weekend after camp.

Although the beginning of the school year was a few weeks away, Smith had his father call Steve Greene, the athletic director at the school, with his idea of doing the announcing at the school’s home football games.

The deal that was worked out was that Smith would call the games with his father overseeing the process, working as a spotter and helping keep track of stats. Smith would then talk to the coaches of both the eighth- and seventh-grade football teams and write up a summary of the games for the following morning’s announcements.

“Kennington has been wonderful since day one,” said Whitewater Middle School Principal Sandra Kidd. “His clarity and pronunciation are terrific and parents of opposing players have sought me out after the game to tell me how wonderful Kennington was doing and to ask how he got the opportunity.”

Smith created the opportunity with an idea, one the school has gotten behind full force. He has been such a popular addition to the sports program at the school that Smith was asked to call a softball game that took place at the high school.

He also got the opportunity to call the championship football game at the high school yesterday, giving him a taste of the big time.

Things will change for Smith as the football season ends, but his next opportunity may be doing the introductions at the beginning of the basketball games this winter.

Next year he will be a freshman at Whitewater High School, a little fish in a bigger pond, but he is already looking into being the voice of the freshman football team so he can continue to follow his classmates as they make their way on the high school gridiron.

Smith hopes to continue pursuing his career choice in college at either the University of Georgia or the University of North Carolina, and one day ending up in Bristol, Conn., home of ESPN.

He has read about how his idols got their start and knows that he will need to pay his dues, most likely as a journalist, before getting his shot on television.

“He has a plan and has set a goal, which is very important,” said Kidd. “He also keeps his grades up and being a good student helps. When opportunities like this come up, if the grades weren’t there, he would never have got the chance.”

That’s good advice from the principal to the dozens of students who have expressed interest in following in Smith’s footsteps next year, presenting the school with questions on how to find a student or group of students that share Smith’s aptitude, talent and passion for bringing the game to life with their voice.

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