Greetings and Salutations…
If you’re familiar with high school football in North Mississippi that phrase rings synonymous with one of the most colorful play-by-play guys on the radio. His name is James Paris, but to his family, friends and listening audience, it’s simply Ping Pong. Sit back as we take the time to catch up with the voice of the Charleston Tigers.
First of all, for some of our readers that may not know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
“I am a 55 year old father of four. My son is the oldest, along with three daughters. I live in Oakland where I have been the volunteer fire chief for the past 30 years. I LOVE to play disc golf and LOVE life! “
I have to say, your nickname, Ping Pong, is awesome. I dare to say it is truly one of a kind. What warranted the nickname?
“I got the nickname when I was in the 4th grade. I was playing football and was hit while running the ball, hit the ground and bounced right back up. Hence the name Ping Pong for bouncing off the ground like a ping pong ball.”
I am always curious as to how someone gets started in the broadcast business. Is this something you have always done?
“I was the Public Address announcer for Coffeeville High for ten years then my daughters started going to Charleston High. I was talking to the superintendent one day and told him I was PA at Coffeeville so he asked me would I consider doing it at Charleston. I did it for one year and then we were approached by a station in Grenada about doing us on the air. I knew the guy who was going to do the play-by-play so I called and asked could I be his color man. He asked how I knew so much about CHS and I told him I was the PA. He then said let me call you back, less than 30 minutes he called and said I was going to be the play by play dude to find me a color man. I was shocked but super excited and hence the journey began.”
How long have you been doing the play-by-play for the Charleston Tigers?
“This was my 6th year, the very first year we played Hazlehurst for the championship, but lost 14-0″
I know each Friday night is special and somewhat a family tradition as you share the booth with your son. How special is that?
“Doing the games with my son is so awesome because we know each other so well. We have fun and our broadcasts are a bit different, because we are having fun.”
Over the past six years there has been some really good players and teams to come out of the 3A school in Tallahatchie County. You mentioned the 14-0 loss in the State Championship your first year, that being said, is there one game or season that stands out the most?
“This year’s championship game is so far the best. The excitement leading up to it and the rush of being in the press box in Jackson was just awesome.”
We all know great teams have great players. Can you give us some of your favorite Tigers?
“There have been so many … Johnny Brown, Charles Harris, Percy O` Bannon, Cameron Myers just to name a few.”
We touched on it in our opening paragraph, but you are one of the most colorful broadcasters in high school sports. Do you pattern your style after anyone or is it something you developed?
“Thank you for the cool comment. If I was to say, ‘who do i pattern myself after’, it would be Jack Cristil and Chris Berman. Weird combo I know but love them both. I try to be the eyes for the folks at home and add some color to it. Too many dull drab folks out there so that is why our broadcasts are different. Feels great when folks tell you they listen every Friday night and enjoy the broadcast.”
Is there anything you’d like to share that our readers may not know about you?
“Hmmmmm that is a tough one lets see oh yeah told you about the fire department, love to play disc golf, love to travel. Oh I know I was a drummer for a couple of bands during the high school days . Also, I have been fortunate to emcee the State powerlifting championships in Jackson for the last 3 years.”
Last but not least, we are going to ask you five “random” questions. It’s a segment we like to call our “Relative Five”. So here goes.
a. If you had an autobiography, what would be the title? Pong
b. If you could have dinner with any three sports individuals (past or present), who would they be? Chris Berman, Willie Mays and Jerry Rice
c. What is your favorite TV show? Mash is my show! I could watch it for hours.
d. Did you have a sports idol growing up? If so who was it? Willie Mays. I got to see him play when I lived in California. I was in the 4th grade and have been a Giants fan since
e. What is your favorite movie or actor? Blazing Saddles is my favorite movie with Sean Conory being my favorite actor.
We want to thank James “Ping Pong” Paris for taking a few moments with us. We also want to encourage you that if you’re ever traveling along I-55 on a Friday night, tune your FM dial to 96.9, Supertalk Greenwood. You won’t be disappointed.