By Rory Sharrock
Take a trip out to Tara Stadium on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night and amidst the sounds of bone-jarring hits and symphonic tunes from the bands echoing throughout the stands is the electrifying voice of a woman who is pioneer not only in the Southern Crescent, but in Georgia.
She knows the X's and O's just as much as any coach or player. She can also recite the rule book like a seasoned referee. She's Clayton County's own Pat Sebo and she's an orator as well as a historian of high school football in the region.
While it's not on the same level as Sojourner Truth or Susan B. Anthony, Sebo has carved her own place in history as the only female football public address announcer in the state.
It's a prestigious and humbling title that she doesn't take lightly as a groundbreaking pillar for future women to follow in her footsteps.
"I never thought of myself as being a pioneer. It's been a lot of fun. It was really interesting getting started with the good old boy regime in the press box," said Sebo. "I think they were a little hesitant in welcoming me in the beginning. But they have with open arms and I guess I'm just one of the guys now. They're really good to me and it's a good time every game."
Sebo has had a bird's eye view to a host of games from the press box at Tara Stadium for the past four seasons.
A long-standing resident of Jonesboro, school district employee and avid high school football fan, Sebo began her athletic public speaking career upon the request of Clayton County athletic director Bob Brannon, who was inspired by the sound of her charismatic voice during casual phone conversations.
"She's done really well and we've received dozens of comments about how good a job she does. I'm just tickled to death to have her here and I hope she stays," said Brannon.
While listening to her call a game, it sounds as if she's been working in broadcasting for decades, however, outside of leaving the general outgoing message on her job's answering machine, she is a novice when it comes to public speaking.
Nevertheless, her exuberant passion for the sport and devotion to the community spills out in her delivery as she gives those in attendance vocal confirmation of all the action on the field.
"I went to South Cobb High School in Mableton and I grew up going to Friday and Saturday night ballgames. I always liked high school football and for me it's always a lot of fun. There's a lot of excitement from the players to the fans - I just really enjoy it," said Sebo.
During her time behind the mic, she's seen a host of players come and go, teams rise and fall as well as the revolving door of coaching changes throughout the district.
Along with these trends, she's witnessed a noticeable decline in the overall support from parents and faculty members, which is evident by the mass number of empty seats at Tara as well as Twelve Oaks Stadium.
However, Sebo is confident that things will turn around in the near future and the attendance numbers will increase with residents coming out to rally behind their neighborhood teams.
"It's good to see the number of fans that come out, but it'd be nice to see a lot more," she said. "It's sad. We as a school system are doing everything we know to do to get them here. I don't know...parents are busy and they have to work. I don't know what the answer is. That's unfortunate because they're missing out on some of the best times of their kids lives. We're going to get it together and things are going to work out well for us. I see nothing but positive things coming out of this."
When she's not calling games at Tara Stadium, Sebo works in human resources for the Clayton County Board of Education, verifying criminal background checks for all employees as mandated by the state. She also serves on the Jonesboro Housing Authority. Last fall she was heavily involved in politics and ran for the city counsel, losing out to Bobby Wiggins.
Sebo, who currently resides in Jonesboro, is also an active member of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers (NASPAA). She has one son, Jason, 24, who is a graduate of Mt. Zion High School.
Among the game's she'll be working this week at Tara Stadium includes Dutchtown at Mt. Zion (tonight) and Jonesboro versus Forest Park (Friday).