She will soon be the “voice of Houston County softball.” She was already its embodiment.
That is, Brenda Arnett, who will be announcing/calling about a dozen – or more – games on SportsMic radio and its app when the season officially gets under way in August. (Aug. 3 is the date allowed by the GHSA for first contests.)
“HoCo had made it to the playoffs and they were in Columbus,” she said in regard to how this came about. “I tuned in to listen to them and heard Mike Davis (the “voice of Northside football” as he’s often referred) calling the game, but I knew he had to get back for the football game that night. I mean, you don’t blame him. That’s just what he had to do. Friday nights are some of the busiest times, and some of the softball games are played on Friday nights.
“So, I texted him (somewhat lighthearted, somewhat serious, somewhat curious) during the middle of the game and said, ‘Hey, you need to hire me to do this job.’”
Davis’ response: “Talk to me next year.” It was a seed planted, one that really took root in the spring. Arnett, a fan of all sports but with softball and baseball sort of the cream of the crop, was listening to Greg Elrod and Tom Mobley (the “voice of the Bears” and the “voice of the Demons”, respectively) broadcasting a baseball game. She asked could she come over and kind of “hang out … see what you do.” They eagerly agreed. She did, and, she ended up on the radio.
“At first I was like um … uh,” she said, “but in the end I was like, ‘Wow! This might be fun.’”
So it grew, until now, here we are, getting ready to hear from the “voice of Houston County softball,” the “embodiment” of Houston County softball.
Okay, so she’s really too humble to speak of herself in such terms. Regardless, she can’t escape the truth. And they tell the real story of what she’s been able to accomplish.
Arnett coached Demonette softball for 28 years. During that time she led the girls to two state championships. One was in 1986 and one was in 1997. And oh by the way, the last is a story in and of itself. It was a finals against non other than Northside. To add to the drama, the Lady Eagles came through the loser’s bracket.
“We (in the winner’s bracket) sat around and watched them win, win, win,” she said. “Everybody kept coming up to us saying, ‘This is exciting! We may get to play Northside.’ And I was like, ‘You’ve lost your mind.’ And of course it was exciting, but we had already played four to six times that year and it was like we’d win one, they’d win one. Plus, we were sitting and that worried me, too. We weren’t moving. We were just watching.”
On the plus side, the Lady Eagles had to beat them twice. Good thing, Arnett said, as Northside did win the first game.
“So we won. It was a good win and I know it was horrible for Vicki (Jones – another softball legend in the county; the two were longstanding competitors and were and still are good friends) but she was a good sport. Probably better than I would have been if I’d been on the other side.”
In addition to the state championships, Arnett coached squads to six region titles and countless trips to the Sectionals in Columbus. A member of the Georgia Dugout Club Softball Coaches Hall of Fame (recommended by another county softball star coach, Angela Crawford), she left Warner Robins High to become the Board of Education’s special needs coordinator – ensuring they had the proper sports equipment, et cetera. She also became the school system’s Special Olympics coordinator and took on duties as the Houston County Sharks’ coach. In the nine years she served in that capacity, she helped the adapted sports girls and boys win 20 state championships spread out over three sports – football, handball and basketball.
Now retired, she has two goals in her new role for SportsMic. One is to have fun. Two is to ensure the girls “get the recognition they deserve,” she said, “just like everybody else.” Referring back to what got it started: “And like I said. Mike was calling that one game but he had to go back and cover the football game.
“If they had won. Had there been another game (or another). Me doing this (one benefit), for those kids and those people (family members, et cetera) not able to travel, they would have still been able to listen.”