Moaks form ‘Cougariffic’ duo

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 2, 2009

It’s doubtful that scientists and historians will ever study theCougariffic Index.

But Brookhaven Academy’s sports loving father-son duo of Dr. Edand Edward Moak are learned practitioners of this highly localizedsocial science.

As defined by the doctor, the academy’s sports announcer for 11years running, the Cougariffic Index is measured when “the flow ofa sporting event is clearly going BA’s way, the number of times onesays ‘Cougariffic’ increases.”

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As defined by Edward, the school’s five-year veteran mascot,data on the index is recorded when “everybody’s going and into thegame.”

And so, though a mysterious and intangible study, theCougariffic Index is promoted by father and son from two verydifferent disciplines of the science – the doctor and hisbroadcasts, keeping the crowd up on the action with clear,informative announcing; the son and his stuffy Cougar suit,spiriting up the kids and urging the crowd to stand up and beheard.

“It’s true at most schools but especially true here – there’s aculture where everyone wants to do as much as they can to supportBA with whatever skills they can utilize,” Ed said. “We can allcontribute in different ways. For my function, my role is from thetraditional journalism/information side, while Edward’s is from theentertainment side, which serves to enhance the global value of oursporting events.”

For the doctor, his tenure as the academy’s sports announcerbegan 11 years ago when the first of his three children beganparticipating in school sports. He began as the No. 2 man alongsidecurrent Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop and calledjunior high sporting events.

As his children moved through the school, Ed moved with them. Hecalled junior high sports for seven years and is now on his fourthyear of being the undisputed Voice of the Cougars, the one-manbroadcast analyst for high school football, basketball andbaseball; the postgame radio reporter; and the master of ceremoniesfor various academy events.

Ed’s style of announcing changes with the Cougariffic Index.Broadcasts begin with calm, reserved reporting of the play-by-play,and as the boys on the field or the girls on the diamond begin totake charge of the game, his voice intensifies and his style getsrowdy. The success of the Cougar football team has resulted in muchrowdiness in 2009.

“It’s an athletic competition, but it entails an entertainmentvalue,” Ed said. “The first word in the initials of ESPN is’entertainment.'”

Entertainment is the primary of focus of Edward in his mascotduties, though his role may be more of a challenge than hisfather’s.

While the doctor arrives at the game an hour before kickoff andmakes ready on the radio, Edward’s game day begins at 7:30 a.m.with face painting for the academy’s younger grades. And his jobonly intensifies with the coming of night, stomping and jiggingaround the stadium in his heavy suit.

But Edward’s got the goods. His father attributes his attractionto the role to his background in entertainment. The young Moak hasbeen a member of the Focus Show Choir, the Studio Men and is aregular performer for the Brookhaven Little Theatre. His work insong and dance goes back seven years, when he was 10.

“I’ve always felt drawn to it,” Edward said of his performancehobbies. “You can be somebody else, you don’t have to be you allthe time. You can try out something different.”

There wasn’t always a Cougar mascot at BA, Edward said. Whileplaying on the junior high football team, which held its peprallies on Thursdays, he noticed there was an unfulfilled role forFriday’s varsity pep rallies.

“I decided we should have a mascot,” he said. “I had been ingames here and went to games at (Louisiana State University) andthought, ‘You know what, where’s our mascot?’ The first year was alot of learning, but I couldn’t give it up. Who else could do it?How could I just stand here and watch someone else do it? “

Now, both Moaks are part of an important aspect of BrookhavenAcademy sporting events – advancing the Cougariffic Index. And theywork together every time a Cougar suits and takes the field.

“Edward has helped me understand what the mascot does, what thecheerleaders do. He’s allowed me to have a lens into the emotionalside of what’s happening in a sporting event,” Ed said.

Likewise, Edward steps in for his father.

“He has all these huge words in his vocabulary, and I tell himafter he says something, ‘Dad, they’re scratching their heads,'” hesaid. “Whatever group he doesn’t reach, I try to reach.”