“The Voice” might bring to mind Whitney Houston or a popular television show. For Booker T. Washington High School football fans, “The Voice” is local and familiar — yet they might not know his name.
He’s the unseen legend in the shadow of their
Friday night lights, and it’s time he receives a proper introduction.
Lawrence “Night-Train” Lane has been the man behind the mic at BTW football games for the past 47 years, and he has only missed one game.
“It started when I was a child living in the neighborhood,” Lane says. “On Friday nights, going to the football games was the thing to do. They won a lot, and everybody wanted to be a Hornet.”
At home, Lane practiced his announcing skills.
“I had an old tape recorder, and I would pretend I was announcing a game,” says Lane, who graduated from Central High School. “I eventually talked to someone in the press box and said, ‘I think I could do this.’ They needed a new announcer in 1966, and I have been the voice of the Hornets ever since. I have gotten to see some of the greatest athletes to ever play football in the city of Tulsa.”
Memorable expressions, like “tackled by a whole nest of Hornets,” help Lane entertain the crowd as he reports the action on the field.
“I like to put something into it,” he says. “I don’t want you coming away from the game thinking you can’t hear the announcer or he doesn’t clarify things.”
Lane, who teaches at Checotah Public Schools, says there’s a simple reason for his dependability and longevity as an announcer — he said he would do it.
“If I commit to something, I’m going to do it,” Lane says. “Young people look at that. Your word is your bond. That’s the only thing you’ve got.
“You can do a whole lot of things with your mouth, but if you don’t back that up with actions, it’s nothing but air.”