David Polaski is a junior journalism and telecommunications major and writes ‘Dave’s Digs’ for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Write to David at dmpolaski@bsu.edu.

Few people can resist cracking a smile when they hear the Wizard of Worthen or the Orange Crush being introduced at Worthen Arena.

Public address announcer Steve Shondell has nicknames for nearly every player on the Ball State men’s volleyball roster and isn’t hesitant to use them after each play.

Shondell announcing the nicknames brings energy and humor to the matches.

There’s nothing more animating than watching Shane Witmer get a kill, then hearing Shane The Train Witmer with the choo choo, over the PA system, followed by a train whistle.

Shondell said he isn’t the only one to come up with the nicknames; some teammates come up with them. Before each season, Shondell approaches the team and asks what all of their nicknames are and also add some of his own.

Here’s a look at Shondell’s five favorite nicknames from this season, my own personal favorites and a list of the all team’s nicknames.


Shondell’s top 5


1 Larry Wrather: The Wizard of Worthen


2 Brendan Surane: The Rainman

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3 Shane Witmer: Shane The Train Witmer
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4 David Ryan Vander Meer: The Doctor
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5 Kevin Owens: The Big Orange
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Dave’s top 5


1 Larry Wrather: The Wizard of Worthen
He’s been casting spells across the court for several seasons.

2   Shane Witmer: Shane the Train
Is there anything more intimidating than a train heading for you at full speed?

3 Marcin Niemczewski: The Hammer
This one is a simple description of Niemczewski’s attacking ability.
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4 Jack Lesure: The Dancing King
Sometimes, the best nicknames have nothing to do with the sport. Shondell came up with this when Lesure was dancing to “Gangnam Style” during a timeout while the team and crowd cheered him on.
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5 Matt Leske: Matt the Cat
Leske has made a living over the past few seasons prowling the net.

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