The 'H' in Gene Honda's last name might as well stand for hustle. Honda -- the public address announcer for the Chicago White Sox and Blackhawks -- has a laundry list of jobs that allow his incredible voice to be heard.
"I feel very lucky to have the Final Four, the White Sox, the Blackhawks – any of those positions," Honda says.
The 65 year-old's resume is awfully impressive. Next season will be his 32nd with the White Sox. He started with the Blackhawks in 2001.
Those may be his two main gigs, but he also lends his voice to Illini football and men's basketball, DePaul men's basketball, the Maui Invitational basketball tournament in Hawaii, the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, and the Chicago Marathon.
Of course at the moment, he's not being heard at any of them.
"I’m missing the games, but I’m finding out more so I miss the people I work with," Honda said. "So many of these people have worked with us for five, 10, 20 years. I miss those people."
The Chicago-native and Senn High School-grad was really bummed about the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament because it meant he didn't get to use his iconic voice at the 18th straight Final Four.
"Seeing the excitement around town and seeing all the different events and different activities that are set up around [town] – you miss all of that, and I know I do too," said Honda.
Like so many people who work in sports, the coronavirus pandemic is keeping Honda from doing what he loves. Instead of spending his days and nights at games, he jokes he's redirected his time and energy toward some long overdue spring cleaning.
"Some people have been putting off a lot of organizing, cleaning, and things like that for about 10 to 15 years," Honda says with a laugh. "So I’ve got time to do that."
Honda says he's grateful to Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz because they've taken care of him during this uncertain time. He says he wishes he could contribute to the economy by getting out on an Illinois golf course.
Above all else, he can't wait to when sports -- and his beloved work -- returns.
"I want to hear fans cheering for their teams," Honda said. "I miss that. That’s what I want to go back to. You’re not cheering for me – you’re cheering for Jose Abreu or Jonathan Toews. That’s what I want to hear, I miss that."