Off-camera hobbies: Big Weather controls the loud speaker at Holly Springs football games

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What does Big Weather do outside of the office?

You know Don Schwenneker as your friendly morning meteorologist on ABC11, but what you may not know is that he is a man of many talents. Not the least among them: a volunteer stadium announcer for the Holly Springs High School football games.

"I've been doing it for three years, now, and I really enjoy it," Don told me one recent Friday afternoon before the Golden Hawks' took on Fuquay Varina. It was Senior Night at Golden Hawks stadium, and there was lots of activity on the field even before the opening kick-off.

"Attention, Senior parents," came Don's booming voice over the stadium loudspeaker, "If you are the parents of senior player and cheerleaders, we need you in your places now for our ceremonies."

Don says stadium announcing is fun, but it's also personal. His daughter Maddie is on the sports medicine squad for the Holly Springs team. His younger son Mason is a sophomore on the football team, and his older son Michael was second-string quarterback before he graduated in 2016. There's a little more pressure when you're calling the game and family is involved.

"You know, (Michael) did throw one pass for a completion in one of the games, and I was like, 'Pass by.....SCHWENNEKER!!!' You know, the Dad came out."

And, as ominous-looking clouds hovered overhead on this Friday afternoon, the meteorologist came out, too.

"Everybody plays in the rain," he said, checking out Doppler radar on his ABC11 phone app. "The hardest part is if it lightnings. And if we see lightning, then they have to clear the stadium and it's a 30-minute delay."

Another tricky part of the job is the music. Don serves as a kind of stadium disc jockey, spinning tunes to get the crowd and the team pumped up.

"The hardest part is finding songs in today's music that can be approved by the school administration. I mean, some of the top songs today have lyrics that you cannot play at a home game."

Holly Springs would go on to win that game against Fuquay, and the next one against Garner, and that grin on Big Weather's face can only mean one thing: the Golden Hawks are going to the playoffs!

"For the first time ever, Holly Springs High School has won their conference championship, first time in the history of the school," he told me, beaming. "And they will play their first ever home playoff game a week from this Friday, and it'll be the first time I get to announce at a playoff game. So, pretty excited about that!"
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