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"Voice of the Tigers" Peter Kania

posted May 4, 2014, 4:41 PM by Aaron Press   [ updated May 5, 2014, 5:02 PM ]

By Darryl Mellema

Wheaton-Warrenville South fans have come to appreciate the work Pete Kania does as the “Voice of the Tigers” soccer program for the past three seasons.

But what makes Kania's work even better is that fans of opposing teams can't find much to quibble with Kania's work announcing Tigers boys and girls matches.

Now consider that Kania is a high school senior and the quality of his work becomes even more special. In an era when many stadium announcers delve into ridiculous showmanship or extreme hometown partisanship, Kania shows how to announce for the home team and appreciate the away team as well.

“He's very talented,” Wheaton-Warrenville South coach Guy Callipari said. “He knows where the boundaries are and he does it exceptionally well.”

Kania's roots within the program. His brother Mike played for Wheaton-Warrenville South, and was a senior in Pete's freshman year.

“I would come to his games, and I came to his first game, and it was one of the dads who did the starting lineups and that was it for the game,” Kania said. “I really love talking and I've been involved in public speaking my whole life. So I went and talked to Mr. Callipari and said 'I'm Mike Kania's younger brother and wondered if I could announce for you guys.' He said we'd give it a try and he liked how it sounded and I've been doing it ever since.”

Working as the stadium announcer means committing to roughly 10 matches per season – and Kania has worked both boys and girls soccer the past three school years.

“I really like it,” Kania said. “It's a lot of fun. The girls, a lot of their friends will come to the games and so someone will say something in the halls at school about one of the comments I made in a game, and that's just really rewarding.”

While not part of the playing portion of the soccer program, Kania is very much part of the program.

“I know all the girls and all the boys on the soccer teams,” he said. “It gives me another group of people to hang around with.”

Kania admits he likes talking, but he also enjoys the “performance” aspect of being a Public Address announcer.

“I do musicals and plays,” he said. “Public speaking or singing in public, I thoroughly enjoy it. When I came up here the first time, I asked 'who does the National Anthem?' They said nobody did it, the had a CD. So I just started doing that too.”

Kania said he especially enjoys prematch announcing.

“That's when I get to welcome everybody, do the starting lineups and do the anthem,” Kania said. “That whole sequence is a lot of fun.”

Then there is his famous sign-off following every match: “I'm Pete Kania, the voice of the Tigers.”

“Just to see all the visiting parents, their reaction to this that there's a kid doing this, that's a lot of fun,” Kania said

Through his match announcing, Kania said he does try to not put down the other team, though it is apparent he loves the Tigers.

“You try to inject some humor into it,” Callipari said. “But outside of that, there's no harm and no foul in what he does. If we put one between the football uprights, it's 'three points' – and that's for us as well as for the other team and that's comfortable.”

In three years, there have been some mistakes, but Kania says those tend to be forgotten quickly.

“There was one time I mispronounced one of the boy's names,” Kania said. “I was all 'I'm sorry I did that' after the game, and he didn't seem to care. I've learned over the years that they enjoy the announcements and hearing their plays getting announced, and they don't mind if I mess up, so that's pressure off me.”

But there have been a few embarrassing moment, one of which stands above the rest.

“My sophomore year, there was a Saturday afternoon game at home,” Kania said. “I showed up to announce it and there must have been a half-dozen people in the crowd. At halttime, I'm playing music as always. 'Don't Stop Believing' comes on. I decided 'what the heck' and started singing along with it over the PA. Without me realizing it, my dad turned the music off and I continued to sing the song, so everyone got to hear my version of it.

Kania graduates this month and heads to the University of Dayton to study Business and Communications.

“I ran cross country and I was a captain for two years,” Kania said. “Besides cross country, this has been one of my big, defining moments for high school. It has really given me a chance to offer the school something no one else has offered before. I get to leave a little bit of my legacy behind.”

For this year's Senior Night Contest against West Aurora, Kania said Callipari will give him a questionnaire to complete.

“I'll be able to announce myself on Senior Night and that will be an awesome crowning moment,” Kania said.

Kania has one other job left before he graduates – find a replacement.

“I want him to seek out somebody with his ability,” Callipari said. “I told him to bring some recommendations and we'll conduct some interviews and go from there.”