Creating an ‘atmosphere’: The man behind the voice of Bellevue West athletics

Owen Reimer, Entertainment Editor

When attending several home varsity sporting events, a major part of the environment is the announcer. For Bellevue West, that voice is math teacher and head tennis coach Steve Lemon.

Lemon, who has announced West sports events for around 20  years, has been announcing live events since he was a college student. 

“I started announcing actually when I was in college,” Lemon said. “They had students announce their basketball games and I thought that was cool to have students do that.” 

When Lemon started working at Bellevue West, he started announcing wherever there was a need for someone. He began announcing sports such as wrestling and swimming, but as other people retired or dropped out of certain positions, he moved to being the head announcer at most sports events.

From that point he connected with people in charge of collegiate programs and became a stand-in for certain Nebraska volleyball and track competitions including the Big 10 track and field championship.

“I started doing what some people would say the grunt work, you know, and then just kind of working your way up,” Lemon said. “That’s kind of the way it is at all places and somebody hears you, and they like you, then they ask you to do theirs, and it just kind of skyrocketed.”

While he has worked on this position, Lemon has made many changes to the way he conducts this duty. 

Through the years, he has learned to make sure the player’s names are always pronounced correctly. “The least thing you could do is get everybody’s name pronounced right,” Lemon said. 

Before a football game Lemon makes sure to email the coaches of the opposing team to get the starting lineup. He always makes sure to arrive early in person, and meet with their coaches in person to clear up any pronunciation errors.

Along with announcing, Lemon also selects the music played at every game. A lot of the music used is either from what the Huskers play during their games, or from his two sons. 

“My wife hates it, but I spent hours and hours and hours, even in the summertime, to try to keep updated with some music,” Lemon said. “But then I have some old standbys that I continue to use over and over and over.”

Another major factor in the music choice is where it will fit in the game. Lemon tries to choose songs according to where the mood matches in each game.

Lemon explained how he chose the music when Bellevue West hosted Millard West for a volleyball match. 

“We won the first set, you know, playing happy songs like ‘Can’t stop the feeling,’” Lemon said. “And then we lost the second set. So then I played if ‘You probably think that you better now better now’,” Lemon said. “I’m always thinking ahead of it. What’s a good song to play right now, you know, and for the moment in the game?” 

While at the moment Lemon works mostly on the high school level, he aspires and works towards announcing at a higher level.

“I’d love to be the Husker’s announcer or I’d love to be a pro-sports announcer at some point, hook up with some pro team,” Lemon said. “When I retire I would like to keep doing this. I mean when I retire here, I’ll see if I can still do this here. But if I can hook up with the Huskers or the Chiefs or somebody like the Storm Chasers, I’d love to do that.”

With the return of football during this time, Lemon’s job hasn’t changed much. Other than smaller crowds, which means less cheering, his task is the exact same. 

“I mean, obviously our team is great,” Lemon said. “But I feel like I have something to do with that. I want to help and make that atmosphere. The kids like it, the parents like it. People like to come and listen to that.”