HOPKINS, Mich. — There are few constants in 50 years of anything on this planet, even in small towns like Hopkins.
However, Bob Beck has been one of those staples.
If you've ever attended a football game at Hopkins High School, you've likely heard him.
Beck has been behind the microphone as the public address announcer for the team since 1971 and how he started is hysterical.
"I told him, 'You know, you're kind of boring,'" Beck recalled about his encounter with the former PA announcer in 1971, "he said, 'If you can do a better job, get up there and do it,' and I've been here ever since."
Beck is a Hopkins High School alum who went on to serve in the United States Air Force, but quickly returned to the small village just years later.
"I graduated in 1957 and we had a very good football team," Beck smiled, "I went into the service in 1961 through 1965 and came back and started this in 1971, kind of by accident."
Since that day he took over in the booth, he has taken it very seriously.
"It's a commitment, when you take a job, there's a commitment to it."
In fact, he's only missed a handful of games over his 50 seasons and it took his father's funeral to miss his first game after 19 seasons at the time.
"It's a service to the community," he added on why he does it, "I've supported the school for a long time and the athletic program for a long time in different ways and I think people enjoy my announcing, so I keep coming back."
The 82-year-old says there's one main reason why he continues to climb up the stairs at Viking Stadium to the press box every fall.
"I have a good seat for the games, I never get rained on or snowed on," he chuckled, "but actually you never get to watch the games though, you have to watch specific things and you don't watch the games. I do however remember some outstanding football players here that I was able to observe."'
Beck has several stories during his tenure at the Hopkins games, including a referee throwing a penalty flag on him for publicly announcing an opponent's play call prior to a play.
The next is a crossover OK Conference game in 2003 when Hopkins beat Coopersville, 20-7 prior to the postseason.
"That's the best game I saw, they played so well," he added.
There's nothing like small-town Friday nights like in Hopkins and it's a big part of why Beck has stayed around his whole life.
"The school is the social focal point of the community," he said on the difference between small-town football and bigger schools, "the football games are where people get together. We don't have a lot of businesses in town where people can congregate, so this is where they've come."
After working years in manufacturing and several more as the mayor of the Village of Hopkins, Beck never thought he'd add public address announcing to his resume.
"I never thought I'd do this," he added, "but I haven't considered quitting. I'm in good health and can still see and call the games."
He adds that as long as the Hopkins athletic department continues to call him back every year, he'll plan on remaining behind the mic for the Vikings.
(5-4) Hopkins will be in the Division 5 playoffs beginning next week as the playoff pairings coming out on Sunday evening at around 6:00 PM.