For the past thirty or so years, student-athletes competing at the state track and field championships in Albany have been welcomed by a friendly, albeit different, voice.
Glen Phelps has served as the championship meet's public address announcer for 33 years. In that time, he's announced thousands of winners, and to each one, he's added a little bit of his own unique flair.
"Boy did he like to chunk a discus. He spun, he twirled, he stooped, and he let it rip for 158 feet, five inches!" booms Phelps over the stadium's speakers. "I think they had a UFO blip at the airport. From Screven County, our state champ: Mr. C.J. Wright!"
Announcements like that have become the norm when acknowledging state champions on the podium, and Phelps' unique reports have become adored by fans, coaches, and athletes.
"I want the people in the stands, I want the kids on the podium especially to feel the moment," he explains.
Phelps' announcing has become as much a part of the meet as the pole vault, and though he's not seen by many, his voice has made him a fan favorite. Longtime Dougherty County Schools athletic director Johnny Seabrooks says during the one meet Phelps missed in the past because of an illness, dozens of folks asked where the regular PA guy was.
"The way he puts it together with the hop, skip, jump, flop, chunk, whatever, people love that," Seabrooks explains. "That's a flavor they don't hear."
Phelps admits he enjoys hearing the crowds react to his way of saying things, but he always wants the focus to be on the athletes.
"If I can help them better enjoy the moment, then it's all accomplished. Because it is their moment," Phelps says.
After more than three decades at the mic, Phelps may be calling his last meet. He says he's not sure if he'll be asked back by the new Dougherty County athletics administration.
Phelps says if Saturday is his last day making the announcements, he'll rest easy.
"I have been blessed so much by these kids, these coaches, and these parents," he smiles. "I have enough memories to last me the rest of my life."
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