Commentator Series: Becky Thompson
I started playing ultimate in 2008 and played all through high school. I have competed in Canadian nationals seven times, winning three gold medals at the junior level and a bronze at adult nationals in 2015. I played for five years at the University of Guelph, winning Canadian university nationals in 2014. Internationally I have competed in the USAU series, UKU Indoor Series (gold in 2017) and was a captain on Team Canada U24 Mixed in 2018 in Perth, Australia, winning the bronze medal.
My first experience commentating was at the Canadian Ultimate Championships (CUC) in 2016. Having stayed to watch the adult portion of the event after coaching juniors, I got pulled up into the booth to help out and didn’t expect that I was going to fall in love with it. The following year I returned to commentate at CUC, where I was mentored by Kevin Underhill who pushed me to continue to pursue this further. In the fall of 2017, I accepted a job as the communications manager for Ultimate Canada which allowed me to commentate on all Canadian events.
In 2018, I commentated Canadian indoor nationals (C4UC), High School nationals (CHSUC), junior nationals, single gender nationals, mixed nationals and university nationals. Apart from my work in Canada, I freelanced as a commentator and this year I worked at WUCC in Cincinnati, the US Open and USAU Nationals in San Diego.
San Diego was an amazing tournament. What was the best part for you?
The best part of nationals in San Diego was being a part of the incredible Fulcrum Media team. Fulcrum made equity a priority in everything they did, including hiring two female play by play commentators to work on every game and creating the equity through visibility project.
Becky and Tom Styles owning the commentator booth at WUCC
Did you see something different this year than other years? More people attending certain games, more or less spirit, changes in how people are playing, etc.
The main thing I noticed was the use of WFDF hand signals, and the increased use of hand signals in general, by the teams at USAU Nationals. It was extremely useful from a commentary standpoint to see the hand signals as soon as the call was made and be able to quickly communicate to the viewers what was going on.
How was your experience commentating this year?
Overall, 2018 has been filled with good experiences. I have been lucky to work many different events this year, which has allowed me to work with so many different people. There were ups and downs, and my confidence faltered on some occasions. I struggled with feeling that as a female that I could never be as good as the male commentators I listened to because I didn’t think I had the voice for it. I have spent time listening to other female broadcasters, getting used to the sound of my voice on tape and not beating myself up when I think I sound too high pitched (this is still a work in progress).
One thing I’ve learnt is that you can’t take online comments – positive or negative – too seriously. The feedback I have gotten from the people I have worked with this year is so valuable to me and I am so thankful for all of it. Being able to work with so many different people this year has also helped me to learn some tricks on how to practice my commentary, warm-up for a broadcast and improve my mental game.
2018 has been a really educational year for me and I have also realized how much I have left to learn. My experience in San Diego gave me a taste of what I would love to be able to do every day and it inspired me to work harder towards my goals.
Anything else you want to add?
Over the last few years of exploring my career, nothing has come close the feeling I get when I put that head set on. 2018 has been incredibly kind to me, I have been able to commentate on so many games, work with amazing people and learn so much – about commentating and about myself.
I want to thank everyone who helped me along the way this year and everyone I got to work with. The list is really long so I won’t dive into it, but every single one of you has contributed to my growth in one way or another, so thank you!