Behind the Screen: Henry DaMour

Henry DaMour is a professional sports broadcaster. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He spent the summer of 2019 broadcasting for The Chicago Dogs (AAIPB). He now works as an e-sports broadcaster in Los Angeles, CA.

You can follow him on Twitter or check out his portfolio.

5 fun facts about Henry

  1. He was born in Brazil. Didn’t move to the United States until he was 9.
  2. Can speak two languages – English and Portuguese. (“Three, if you count Pig Latin”)
  3. Can’t tell the difference between a $3 bottle of wine and any other.
  4. Die-hard Detroit sports fan.
  5. Until the end of his freshman year, he was convinced he was going to be a brain surgeon – “I don’t know if it’s because I watch too much Grey’s Anatomy”

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

When I started college, I was a biomedical engineering and pre-med student. I wanted to be a doctor. I originally wanted to go to Michigan because that’s where my Dad went and I grew up rooting for them. I had gotten accepted there and had already put down the deposit and gotten a roommate. My dad actually pushed for me to go to Northwestern. So I transferred there before my freshman year even started.

How did you get into sports broadcasting?

I have a bunch of different passions, and I didn’t know that broadcasting was one. Student Activities was a big part of student life at Northwestern. The student radio station had a table set up, and I went over and asked. I wasn’t a Journalism major, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to join. They said it didn’t matter what my major was. The first game I called was a game against Missouri State doing color commentary. The summer after my sophomore year (2017), I worked in the Northwoods League. After my junior year, I got to call games for the 2018 Cape Cod League Champion Wareham Gatemen. Then after I graduated [last year], I worked with the Chicago Dogs.

What was the inspiration to become a sports broadcaster?

Like I said, I stopped at the student radio station’s table at a Student Activities event. I loved being in front of a camera with a microphone. I loved sports. I figured it’s college, it’s a no-risk choice. I’ll see if I like it – and I did.

Who has impacted (or influenced) you most in your career?

The first person that comes to mind is Sam [Brief]. When we first met – believe it or not – we didn’t really like each other. Sam was (and still is) “Mr. Sports Journalism.” A lot of the people we went to school with knew who he was, because they all went to the same high school. So for me to be this guy who just came in and ended up winning “Freshman of the Quarter,” it was like, “Who the heck is this guy? He won against Sam freaking Brief?”

Sam has such a great work ethic and personality. There’s the old saying that “you should surround yourself with people you want to be like.” Sam is one of those people to me. Whenever I had questions, he was someone I could go to and he would give me an honest answer. He’s just a well of knowledge.

If it weren’t for Sam, I wouldn’t have been with the Dogs. I wouldn’t be where I am as a broadcaster. Everything he did was out of love.

Henry and Sam on Opening Day 2019 for the Chicago Dogs.

Do you have a favorite moment that you’ve called?

Oh, gosh. I think calling Victor Roache’s walk-off last year. It was an unscripted, sort of off-the-cuff moment. It was the first “Wiener Wednesday” of the season and in my excitement I said, “The Wieners are winners tonight.” Actually, that’s a close second.

I think my number one overall was a call I made that made it onto ESPN SportsCenter. It was part of the Cape Cod League Championship Series. It was a best-of-three series, and the Gatemen (the team I was broadcasting for), had won Game 1. Four runs had come off of a grand slam from a player that went #3 overall in the draft. That ball – it’s like it never went down. It just kept going up and up and eventually it went into the trees. In Game 2, we were up 2-1 in the bottom of the 3rd. A player on the other team hits a hard bomb to right field. Our right fielder, who was a second baseman from Creighton [Cape Cod is a summer collegiate league], tracked that ball all the way to the wall. He jumped up and absolutely robbed that homer. That catch kept us in the game. That was the last call that I made that summer. It was such a great moment because I had announced him for the two years. We had the same host family, so I got to know him.

What kind of advice do you have for anyone who wants to become a sports broadcaster?

The best way to get better is to do it. Do play-by-play and color commentary for different sports. I’ve done baseball, softball (one game), men’s and women’s basketball, and lacrosse. Do your research on the sports you’re going to be covering if it’s out of your norm.

Also, do your prep. The more you do it and the more you work, it may start to show if you don’t. People notice when you don’t do your prep work and pull things out of your rear. Your confidence and the fun you have will go through the roof if you do your homework beforehand.

Go back and listen to your old tape. Ask others to listen as well, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

What’s your favorite part of the job? What’s the hardest?

This is sort of a half joke, but I talk a lot as a person and can sometimes get self-conscious about it. This is a position where I get paid to talk. It’s a way to tell stories that I like.

A challenge is that baseball is a sport that many people can find to be boring. I try to flip it and make it a cool sport. I think, “How do I get people to care?” I try to find the storylines around players and the team, to sort of fill down time when there isn’t too much action going on in the game. Vin Scully is the GOAT for so many reasons. He carried the broadcasts for the Dodgers for 60 years. SIXTY years. I think one of the reasons is because he was such a good storyteller. He made you feel like you were part of it. You know, it’s the memory of the moment and the call. Scully made you find a way to care about something. It was like listening to your grandpa or someone you’ve known forever tell a story.

My thing is – okay, so here’s this thing I love. How do I humanize it – the game, the player, the moment – and make people care about it too?

As for the hardest part… I’ve never really been one for change. Which is a funny thing coming from someone who’s lived all over the world. In the world of sports, there’s always the potential of switching jobs – and that may mean changing locations – every year.

What’s your favorite stadium to visit and what’s your favorite stadium snack?

The Banc of California Stadium. The LAFC [Major League Soccer], plays there. I like them a lot because some of their goalies went to Northwestern around the same time I did – I don’t think our paths ever crossed, though. They have the “3252” – which is the supporter section. It. Is. WILD. I’ve never seen a group of people who go so hard. Flags, drums, every goal. They throw up their hands and their drinks spill everywhere. They’re like that the whole 90 minutes of the game. The atmosphere is just insane.

As for stadium snacks, you can’t go wrong with peanuts and beer. The peanuts have to be salted, though. Unsalted peanuts taste like cardboard. A close second is Ben’s Pretzels at Gary-Southshore [Railcats]. You feel the weight you gain, but it’s so worth it.

What was your favorite thing about being a broadcaster for the Dogs last summer?

Broadcasting at Impact [Field] was awesome. The team was good and the fans were awesome. Shawn and Trish gave Sam a lot of freedom with the broadcasts, and in a sense they were giving it to me as well. Of course they had parameters and we followed them. So there was a sense of trust and structure from them; but we still had a lot of fun with it.

Another thing is just how great the players were. They treated Sam and I as equals. If we were in the clubhouse with them or on the bus, they wouldn’t treat us differently. They would joke around with us. There weren’t any players on the team that acted like they were better than anyone else that was there. I honestly can’t say a bad thing about any of them – they are such a great group of guys.

What are some challenges you’ve faced in the industry? How have you worked to conquer them?

Time management is one for me. Giving myself time to prep ahead of time and not leave it until last minute, hoping that I can charm someone and make them laugh in hopes that they don’t call me out on not being prepared. Self-discipline over motivation is super important. Motivation can come and go, but it’s up to you to make sure you hold yourself accountable. Asking someone for accountability and help is great, too. I’m glad I had Sam there for me. I was able to go to him for help and he held me accountable for a lot of things.

What are some of your goals?

Professionally? I have a lot of different passions and interests. I’d love to be able to tell stories with my voice – either over a headset or in front of a camera with a microphone. Music, sports, and e-sports are three of my biggest passions right now. I want to be able to bring what I love to people. Ultimately, I would love to have a full-time job talking about something that I love and care about.

When you got to the ballpark, what would your workflow/routine be?

When I first got up to the booth, I would plug in my laptop and get that ready for the game. I would make sure I had my notes in order. I would have the tabs in my browser set up in a certain way; that way if I wanted or needed to pull up something about a player, I had it readily available. I made sure everything is where I want it to be. Then I would fill out my scorebook. It’s one of my simple joys. Then I would do soundcheck and make sure our stream was set up and ready to go. Making sure I have enough water. If we weren’t at Impact, I would find the bathroom closest to the booth. Any time I have during or before pregame, I would catch up on any story lines or points to fall back on.

As a broadcaster/announcer, what do you think is your best asset?

I think that it’s that I can be entertaining – intentionally or not. I can enjoy it and let my personality come through. I don’t want to be just a voice. I want to give the fans a reason to listen; keep them engaged and want to come back and listen to another game.

That, and my sweet, chocolaty baritone.

How have you been staying busy during the quarantine?

I’ve been reading a lot more. As backwards as it may sound, it helps me fall asleep. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and playing video games. I play video games until pretty late, and it can make it hard to fall asleep. That’s why I like reading, because it helps me kind of wind down. I miss driving a lot – it gave me time to listen to podcasts. The other day I got in my car and drove, just to see how far I could go. I made it all the way to Santa Barbara. I’m sure I won’t be saying I miss driving once the quarantine lifts, because traffic here [in LA] can be brutal.

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After talking with Henry, it’s pretty evident that he has a passion for broadcasting. He has such a great personality and it definitely comes through during his broadcasts. We actually worked together in 2019 at the Dogs, and it was always fun to get to chat the morning after a game – whether about the broadcast or about other stuff. Whether it was a home or away game, I would listen to the broadcasts – sometimes just to listen to Henry and Sam’s conversations. Henry’s got such a unique perspective on sports and the world, and it’s always refreshing to talk with him.

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