We sat down with Chris Marshall to learn more about the life of a well-known lacrosse broadcaster. Chris has been covering games for The Lacrosse Network and is building a reputation as the West Coast’s answer to Quint Kessenich. Check out our back-and-forth conversation with Chris Marshall below.
How did you get into sports, and more specifically lacrosse, broadcasting? What was your first gig?
I wanted to work in sports broadcasting so I chose the major Television Production and Broadcast Journalism. All my electives were in sports broadcasting, but I thought I would be a reporter or sideline guy. The very first game I ever did play-by-play for was a Mission Viejo vs. Santa Margarita Catholic high school lacrosse game for a class in college in 2006.
It’s funny to look back on that old game now. I was terrible, but that was the first time I really got an understanding for how much work needed to be done to be a really good broadcaster. After my last year playing in 2007 I wanted to keep contributing to the program, so I volunteered to do radio play-by-play through the Chapman Radio website. I ended up doing 3 or 4 games that season and at the end of the year I flew out to Dallas and did stats for the old Collegelax.us broadcasts and for the FOX Sports broadcast with Leif Elsmo.
I continued doing the radio for Chapman in 2009. I did almost every home game that season but the game that really stuck out for me was the Michigan game. It was #1 vs #2 and it was the first time people really started tuning in. The following year Chapman started doing streaming video for the games. 2010 was also the first time I started interacting with the listeners. We had an email set up and the listeners could send in comments and questions. One of the calls from that season is to this day one of my favorite all time calls.
The attention that the “Oh my Martin” call got is what really got me thinking about how I could make this into more than a hobby. Fun fact the color guy for that call is Steve… from the Con Bro Chill band. Small world!
Did you think that you would pursue this as a career? Or was it just for fun early on?
Honestly it’s still something I do for fun. I love broadcasting the games. When I started it was really just something I did so the parents could hear what was happening and a way I could stay involved with the Chapman lacrosse program. Because of my major at Chapman I always knew I wanted to work in TV but I always figured I’d be an anchor or a reporter.
Play-by-play is one of those things there isn’t really a class for. That’s one of the things that makes it so fun. You just have to try it, and if you like it, work on getting better. There isn’t one “right” way to do it. Everyone’s style is a little different.
How have you found ways to improve? Do you watch film of yourself on camera like a player might, in order to learn what you need to do better?
I’m probably my biggest critic, I always think I can do a better job. I really have kind of have a chip on my shoulder. I want to be the best lacrosse broadcaster out there. I watch all the broadcasts and other videos I do and take notes on where I think I can improve. I even read all the comments on the videos. I’m always looking for feedback on how I can improve. I have been taking hosting classes here in LA to improve my on camera work any way I can. It’s been unbelievable how generous the lacrosse broadcast community as a whole has been.
Joe Beninati took time out of his busy schedule to not only give me advice but to break down my play-by-play. Chris Day from the MLL helped me find ways to help cover the league through radio and hangouts and has always been a great resource for career advice. I’ve also been very lucky to have guys like Hamilton Pollard and Samir up in the booth with me for high school and college games. Hamilton is an unbelievable resource to have not only for his knowledge of the game but his knowledge of the West Coast growth of the game. He really makes me look good out there.
Where can this go for you? What are you shooting for now?
Obviously I’d love for this to be my full time career. My goal for the next two seasons is to break into doing television games. I’d love the opportunity to call MLL, NLL and NCAA D1 games.
This is a tough industry to break into… what has been your biggest success so far?
I’d have to say I’m most proud of the role I’ve played in the growth of TLN and the LXM PRO tour over the last two years. The broadcasts improve every time we go out and I think the sky is really the limit. We have come a long way from shooting and calling games from the back of a car and spray painting tank tops.
If YOU have a question you want to see Chris answer, drop the Q in the comments section below and we’ll make sure that the one and only Chris Marshall replies back to you!