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Decades of service to Livingston High thrown away

POSTED September 23, 2009 12:03 a.m.
I am half Portuguese, part Norwegian and part Dutch. The sea is in my blood by heritage; football by birthright.
I wasn’t even a month old when I attended my first Livingston High football game, sat under the lights, and heard Joe F. Alvernaz and his 40 years of announcing mastery.
It all started when Joe talked the school into putting a speaker on the goal post. In those early years there was no press box, so Joe sat on the visitor’s side. In the following 50 years a press box was built, coaches changed, even the grass was replanted. But one thing was constant: The voice of the Livingston Wolves. Year in and year out people heard that voice and remembered it. Some said Joe was their favorite high school football announcer and every year they looked forward to hearing him.
During all that time Joe never missed a single home game. By 1995, several strokes had affected Joe’s speaking and the man behind the mic decided his time was done. That year his son Jim offered his expertise.
Jim, like his dad, started announcing when he was 13. He got even more experience when he became the Sports Information Director at Fresno City College.
For 13 years Jim lived up to the legacy his father left him and never missed one home game. He proved his dedication seven years ago when he scheduled his daughter Heidi’s birth around the football season.
As a kid I loved hearing my Grandpa Joe and then my Da announce. Sometimes my brothers and I would argue over who would be the one to take over the mic. When I was in high school I got to be a part of the press box magic when I became one of the spotters. It got to me so much I even closed our church Christmas pageant with the same phrase that hundreds of fans heard as they left the stadium — “Drive carefully as you leave the area. Remember, the fender you save may be your own.”
All Jim and Joe wanted to do was serve. And serve they have, faithfully. No one can tarnish their commitment. But now, after 63 years of family service, Jim’s dedication is no longer necessary, because the current head coach doesn’t like his style. If 63 years without missing one home game isn’t enough, nothing ever will be. It’s too bad the Livingston head coach is expressing his thanks for their sacrifice with the words, “get out.”
The sea is in my blood by heritage; football by birthright. This is the Alvernaz legacy and I am proud to be a part of it.
“Drive carefully as you leave the area. Remember, the fender you save may be your own.”
— Nicole Alvernaz

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