The concession stand’s open,
for your enjoyment tonight,
with lots of taste treats,
for you palate’s delight.
There’s hot dogs and popcorn,
candy and pop,
enough calories to make
your bathroom scale yell, “STOP!”
If you’ve ever been to a Mayer Lutheran home football game, you’ve certainly heard some rendition of this concession stand poetry.
For Tom Marcsisak, the brains behind the poetry and the voice of the Crusaders, announcing LHS home games is simply something he does for fun.
He doesn’t even remember exactly when he got started. Friends with some of the other guys in the booth, Marcsisak finally caved to his friends’ persistent invitations to attend a game.
So sometime in the late 1980s or early 90s, Marcsisak attended his first Mayer Lutheran football game, the last of the year on the Wednesday of MEA weekend. Up in the press box, Marcsisak noticed that while the equipment was there and ready to go, no one was calling the game. When he asked, he was told there was no regular announcer.
By Friday, word had gotten around and Marcsisak was asked to announce the following Tuesday’s section game.
“You don’t want to host a section football game and not have an announcer,” Marcsisak said. “Who would’ve guessed I’d be doing it twenty-some years later.”
Still with essentially the same team of Jerry Jensen, Tom Hoernemann, Dan Kimball, and Mark Bartels in the box, Marcsisak was originally asked to simply advertise the concession stand. That soon became a poem, which over the years has become an expected, and even anticipated, part of the break between the first and second quarters.
Marcsisak’s penchant for poetry didn’t begin at LHS however. It began when he was working summers at Travel Easy in Waconia, and would write whimsical wrap ups about tours he had taken. But it’s not just his concession stand announcements or tour wraps that rhymed. Marcsisak’s annual Christmas card to family and friends rhymes, along with the toasts he’s given at each of his three daughters’ weddings.
For Marcsisak, the poems come easily, sometimes written in the car on the way to the game, but many times written during the week. He likes to read them to the seventh and eighth graders at Zion Lutheran in Cologne, to gauge a reaction. The more groans and laughs, the better the poem.
“They’re my test market,” he said. “There’s only so much you can say about hot dogs, popcorn, candy, and pop.”
One of Marcsisak’s greatest announcing memories is when he was privileged to announce a football game at the Metrodome. Back in the days of the Tri-Valley Conference, there was a Tri-Valley Day at the Metrodome each year. One year, Marcsisak was able to announce a Mayer Lutheran game against Randolph.
He loves calling overtime games, as well as bizarre plays and close calls from the referees.
“There’s nothing better in high school football than an overtime,” he said.
While mistakes sometimes happen, Marcsisak tries his best to meet with opposing coaches prior to the game, to go over pronunciations of players.
“I understand when people butcher your name,” Marcsisak said, recalling the days when his name was read incorrectly. “There’s nothing worse than the whole other sideline yelling the pronunciation of a name.”
Occasionally, Marcsisak or his spotters will misread a jersey number on the field, as it can be difficult in Mayer Lutheran’s home jerseys of red on black.
“And suddenly you have this 98-pound freshman making a tackle,” Marcsisak joked.
But Marcsisak makes it his goal to give players, regardless of team, acknowledgement for good plays, and also to recognize players who may contribute greatly on the field, but are rarely announced.
“Offensive lineman get beat up a lot,” he said. “If I do see someone make a good block, I try to say something. I’m pro-Lutheran High but I will acknowledge plays both ways. If that was a good play, I don’t care who you are.”
Outside of calling LHS games, Marcsisak certainly stays busy. He is an avid drummer, golfer, and slow pitch softball umpire, in addition to working at Island View Golf Course in the summers and as principal and fifth/sixth grade teacher at Zion Lutheran during the academic year.
“I don’t go to work,” Marcsisak said. “I tell parents I do what they would if they didn’t have to go to work. I play with their kids and their grandkids.”
His daughters all live in the area, so Marcsisak is lucky to spend a lot of time with his family and two grandsons.
“Yeah, life is pretty good,” he said.
As for his gig at LHS, Marcsisak plans to keep on announcing for as long as the school will have him.
“It’s fun, we have a good time,” he said.
So if you missed Marcsisak and his poems this season, never fear, for he will be back in 2014 when the Crusaders kick off the football season in August.
So hurry on over,
and bring with you your mate;
because dining out at the game
is a pretty cheap date.
And since this is likely
the last game at home,
this will also be
our last silly poem.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com