Indoor Track Bids Farewell to a Legend

For the last time, the voice of Jay Rogers, Instructor in History, boomed across the Case Memorial Cage floor, announcing the calls for the Andover Boys and Girls Track teams’ races. Rogers’ voice, unmatched by any track announcer ever heard before, will be sorely missed. It was a fitting way for Rogers to go out, as the Big Blue downed Exeter handily in both meets, but it was a bittersweet time nonetheless. Rogers has been an Andover treasure, injecting the announcing role with vibrancy and excitement, and a bit of personal touch. On a campus where mythic athletes rule for only four years at most, Rogers’ voice powered the Big Blue track team for longer than anyone can remember. Rogers will announce for the Boys and Girls Track teams in the spring, but there is something magical about the echo of his voice off the ancient support beams of the Cage, reverberating in such a confined area. “I grew to love the excitement, the passion of the athletes, and the rush when we won,” Rogers said of his time at the mike. At the same time, the runners grew to love him and his voice. “When I found out about his retirement, my first reaction was– who is going to be the announcer for our track meets?” asked team member Cassie Tognoni ’05. “All I can say is that the rolls of his r’s for us to rrrreport to the starting line always made me smile, even after a disappointing jump or run. He will be greatly missed.” Hurdler Marty Schnure ’06 thanked Rogers and his voice for calming her nerves before every race. Said Schnure, “Whenever he said, ‘All young ladies participating in the fifty yards hurdles race rrrrrreport to the starting line…NOW.’ I always laughed despite the fact that at that point I was nervous to the point of nausea.” “Next season will not be the same as this or any before it,” Sprinter Greg Hsu said. “The entire track team and its fans sigh in sadness as something great moves elsewhere. There will be no change to the list of events or to the track itself, but Mr. Rogers will no longer be with us to announce the events with his grace and style that has for so long permeated the lively scene.” Hsu continued, “In his retirement, he leaves behind a legacy of over-emphasized r’s and extremely long pauses between certain parts of his announcements. His resonant voice will no longer echo in the stuffy air of the Cage. 2007 will be the last class to know that this is their ‘2nd call for all young ladies competing in the 50-yard dash.’ The slight but characteristic nuances of Mr. Rogers’ speech and the resonant voice will be sorely missed. His eloquent and unique choice of words amused us at our first meets, and became common throughout our seasons here, displaying a professionalism that seems unfit for our humble team.” Rogers had many favorite moments in the cage, watching a generation of Andover runners and jumpers run their hearts out. “Experiencing a student exceeding his former best performance, watching a student break a meet or school record, watching the team erupt when it won a meet thought impossible to win…. Wow! Just watching the young people mature and gain pride in their abilities.” Rogers continued, “I guess the greatest moments for me are when the timid beginners learn to trust themselves and believe that they can be competitive. There is nothing like that look of pride in their eyes and the smiles on their faces. I love it.” Rogers first announced an Andover track meet at the Interscholastic Championships in Andover after an offer from then Head Coach John Strudwick. At that time, Rogers coached both the triple and long jumps for the Big Blue. Following the retirement of Karl Krumpe, Rogers took over the announcing duties in both the winter and spring seasons. “Style ? What style?” Rogers questioned when asked about his vocal mannerisms. “I’m just being vintage.” He certainly was. Rogers took a thankless job and performed brilliantly. Upon his retirement, he leaves a mark on Andover track, a legendary announcer that watched over many legendary teams. As Hsu stated, “Hats off to the voice from above that brought us to our races on time.”