If you’ve been to a Wethersfield High School athletic event over the past three years you’ve heard the distinctive voice of Jimmie Clark.
Clark has been the public address/play-by-play announcer at nearly every Eagles home game since 2018.
The polished product you hear now has been refined from his early days announcing a ‘Hoops for Heart’ event in middle school.
His first official announcing gig came in 2017 as a freshman at WHS, “The first game I did was soccer at Cottone, and I was a nervous wreck.”
Upon getting home from the game, his mom told him she got a call from Athletic Director Mike Maltese, “I thought ‘oh no, what did I do now?’ but he told her that I was a rockstar and that they are keeping me for the rest of the year and in the future.”
Since that day, Clark has been the official voice of the Eagles.
Clark’s origin story is similar to that of an athlete. He fell in love with announcing at an early age, listening to Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien announce Boston Red Sox games. It’s then when he discovered his talent and began sharing it with the world.
“Growing up I was diagnosed with Asperger’s and one of the things I would do religiously was verbatim do the games I heard on the radio,” said Clark, who has a knack for recalling random facts and information from yesteryear, “My mom first noticed because my kindergarten teacher called and said I had to talk to your son today because he was doing a game verbatim today in class and the only reason I noticed this is because I stayed up to watch the same game last night on NESN.”
Clark’s play-by-play days date back to elementary school when would record himself calling his classmates playing soccer during recess at Charles Wight Elementary, “The teacher would read a story after recess and I would be sitting outside of class listening to the recording going over the games, skipping ahead to the highlights.”
All the practice has paid off for Clark, who has developed his passion and is now voicing some of the biggest games in the state. His idol is legendary ice hockey play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick, who Clark would listen to during the Staley Cup finals.
He channeled his inner-Emrick when the WHS ice hockey team avenged a tournament loss to Branford, erasing a two-goal deficit to win an overtime thriller in February 2020.
“We really packed the Newington arena. I remember getting chirped at by one of the Branford players as one of their big stars came over to the penalty box,” recalled Clark, who called this his favorite moment thus far in the booth, “We went into overtime, and I remember just yelling at that point. There was no calm commentary at that point. Aaron Cholewa got the puck on the opposite side of the rink, brings in up through the neutral zone, gets passed everybody and he forehand-backhands it on the goalie and the goalie dove for it and fell out of the crease and Cholewa shovel shots it, as Emrick would say, to top shelf of the net. It was deafening in the Newington Arena.”
Clark was also on the call during ice hockey’s epic five-overtime game against Newington in last season’s conference tourney.
Clark worked a double header that day---also calling the girls ice hockey game---and was exhausted by the time the marathon game ended in the early hours on the next day.
Wethersfield came out on the losing end but Clark remembered a defining moment as he went to go say goodbye to the Eagles in the locker room, “As the Newington kids were walking by one of them saw me and came over, took his glove off, shook my hand, and said ‘you’ve got a fantastic voice, we loved hearing you on the bench, and you’re going somewhere’. That meant so much even though I was incredibly sad that point.”
Over the years, Clark has received the occasional criticism from opposing parents or coaches, but the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
His smooth delivery and ability to make things up on the fly are universally liked by Wethersfield’s athletes, coaches, and fans. He’s voiced nearly every sport, sometimes having to learn the rules of the sport as he calls the games, and his commentary has created opportunities outside of the school.
This summer he served as a production intern and got some play-by-play practice with the Norwich Sea Unicorns. He’s has also announced Connecticut Twilight baseball games, Wethersfield Dodger games, Tri-State League baseball, and other various sporting events over the years.
This winter he will expand to college sports, calling games for the Blue Devils ice hockey at Central Connecticut State University.
When he’s not in the booth, he’s updating the WHS sports happenings for the Blue Eagles News, which airs on YouTube.
He credits his parents for allowing him to follow his dream, “I’ve been lucky to have parents that are supportive. They’ll take me to Dodd Stadium a couple of nights a week or take me to Municipal Stadium in Waterbury for a few nights, anywhere I need to go.”
Clark’s father is a second-generation firefighter. His older brother, Matt Clark, is currently in fire school in Fairfax Country, Virginia and he has a twin sister, Erin Clark, is also entering her senior year at WHS.
Despite having deep roots in Wethersfield, Clark is looking into a variety of colleges across the country with communication and journalism degrees, as he hopes to turn his passion into a career.
But before that, he’s got one more season left on the mics at WHS
“I can’t explain how awesome it’s going to be for that first football game,” Clark said of the Eagles home opener against Berlin on Sept 17, “It will be so good to be up in the press box and welcoming everybody back in the stadium, hearing the roar of the crowd.”
10/21/2021 09:21:58 am
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin