Blogs | 2/9/2010 9:45:13 AM | John Gurtler
Good signs coming from this “can’t-get-a-bounce” team despite on the end of five losses, which includes Saturday night’s 14-10 decision to Toronto.
Talk about good bounces, Toronto follows the path you have to be good to be lucky.
Speaking of lucky, the Bandits are such to have one of the hardest working PA announcers in the business. Not withstanding the full house serenade from the faithful Bandit fans game in and game out, it is the man behind no curtain who keeps the vocal embers stoked with great passages and commands.
Chris Swenson is that voice – and the only voice since the team stenciled the Bandits logo on the carpet in the Aud in 1992. 19-years as the public address in-game announcer with one team - very impressive.
Bob Sheppard of the New York Yankees comes to mind. Talk about saying it all – and somehow he comes up with more sequences to queue a response from the Bandit fans. True, a great house of fans to work, “Swennie” is most dedicated to his craft.
I was introduced to Chris back in the 1980’s when I was working with the Sabres. With a middle name of persistence, Chris was eager to hone is voice-craft in any capacity possible. I admired his relentless efforts to gain a position in the business and his eagerness to represent anyone who needed his talent. And I thought he was very talented.
Chris was very confident of his talents and the Bandits offered a fit. And as Keith Jackson would say in fashionable style “the Bandits found vocal gold; and the rest is history.”
Without question the NLL game and Bandits game-night environment is a blast. Other cities can only attempt to emulate the electricity and enthusiasm the Bandits game staff present and fans take care of the rest.
But they have a mistro at the mic that pokes at the faithful like a blazing cattle drive fire at night. And the Bandit fans love it. I like to hear it, too, following a save or goal. Chris can move some air.
While the Bandits work on eliminating time and space in preperation for Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia, Chris deserves some time and space with this volley of questions and answers.
JG: Where did you develop some of your in-game chants?
CS: Most just come to mind, typically after seeing something special the field or in the stands. My mind is always racing and I’m continuously looking for ways to help involve the fans and energize the players. The key to it all is striking a balance between enough and not too much.
JG: How do you read the Bandits crowd on game night before you get them going?
CS: The core Bandit fan is always ready for each and every game. Bandit fans are second to no other in the league and I venture to say in sports. Bandit fans love the fact the players are so approachable…signing autographs, flipping balls in the crowd or parading around the arena after a game expressing their appreciation for the fan. Banditland is a family atmosphere where everyone that just wants to have a good time is welcome.
JG: How can you tell it’s going to be a wild night – crowd wise?
CS: I can tell as we begin to approach pre-game. In most cases the fans will begin to chant, “Let’s go Bandits”. From the amount of participation I can quickly get a sense. Once the pre-game begins and we hit face-off I’m already fairly in tune to what I can expect for the night.
JG: Do you feel you’ve got keep the crowd pumped even more so than previous seasons?
CS: I always feel the pressure to meet fan and player expectations. Players feed off the energy of the crowd and fans feed off the performance on the field. There’s no doubt fans come to the games to see them win, but they’re also there to have a good time.
JG: Give me your perspective of the Bandit fans – as incredibly passionate as they are.
CS: Bandit fans are absolutely UNBELIEVEABLE. They unconditionally love the team, players and the game. The real Bandit fan comes win or lose, for better or worse. The fact that Buffalo has continually been one of the top drawing (in attendance) cities in the NLL is a testament to the dedication of the Bandit fan. I talk to many players from the opposing teams and to a man each tell me that there’s no better place to play than in Buffalo…the atmosphere and fans are second to none.
JG: What is your ground floor perspective of the Bandits and their 1-5 status?
CS: I’m far from a being a qualified expert, but I can tell you from watching nearly 19 years of indoor lacrosse; this is one of the hardest working teams I’ve seen. Looking at the games they lost, with the exception of the season opener, they could’ve just as easily won those games. The team needed to get a bit younger and faster, losing some veteran leadership and most important not having Johnny T for the first six games hasn’t helped. Darris will get this team to [perform to their potential. There’s not many driven or as focused on winning like Darris. I’m encouraged by some of the rising young talent like; Kyle “King” Clancy, a resurging defense and getting John Tavares back soon. With the help of Banditland I’m confident the Bandits will gel in time to make the playoffs.
JG: Any other comments you want to add about the overall Bandits game-night experience?
CS: It’s hard to do anything for 19 years. The organization, players and most importantly fans make it an easy decision for me to do this year after year. A sincere thank you to all!! BUFFALO WHAT?
Fans will be ready February 27th, when Chris will get them going.
A look in on the Bandits performance and game this week:
I was particularly impressed last Saturday night with the Bandits drive in the third quarter where they put a four-goal run together, coming back from a 9-6 deficit and taking the lead into the fourth quarter. Blaine Manning was a bit too much that night and the Rock’s power play continued torrid pace, going 9/16 over their two-game weekend.
Shoring on the left side improved with Kyle Clancey’s seven-point night. And a couple of rights and lefts from John Harasym going toe-to-toe with Rock’s Stephane Leblanc.
It’s the little things that are keeping the Bandits going forward. 14 Bandit players figured in the scoring Saturday night, which shows a lot. But costly mistakes cloud their progress and most frustrating I am sure.
This Saturday’s opponent, the Philadelphia Wings, have found it difficult to catch a run of wins as well. Former Bandits Jason Crosbie and Dan Teat lead the Wings, who were postponed over the weekend and still smarting from their 19-11 loss to the Rock. Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first minute of the game – and Geoff Snider’s 22/31-draw success, they were hit by a multiple-goal barrage in each quarter by the Rock.
More importantly for the Bandits, win one on the road and do it convincingly- and then bounce.
Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 PM on KB 1520. Gametime is an 8 PM start.