by David Sisler

On Thursday night, October 14, 1999, Michael Buffer was in Augusta, GA, as part of the pre-game festivities for the Augusta Lynx' home opener. When Mike Tyson was hurting people with his boxing gloves, not his teeth, Buffer vaulted to prominence as an announcer, and made a career out of five words: "Let's get ready to rumble!"

His trademarked phrase, delivered with a "cool and smokey voice" is self-promoted (and most of us are accomplished at self-promotion) as "the ultimate pre-event energizer." A few years ago boxer Sugar Ray Leonard said, "When I heard [those five words] it made me want to fight. I couldn't wait to get it on." Little wonder then that The Official Michael Buffer Web Site boasts (with no small amount of justification) "as the 21st Century approaches, he is quickly becoming the voice of all major sporting, entertainment and corporate events."

If you want more than merely listening to Mr. Buffer, you can play his "Ready 2 Rumble" boxing game on your home video game system. Chose one of 20 boxers, each with a "hyper realistic fighting style." You say fighting is not your style, and you would rather not travel to Las Vegas or South Carolina to play the one-armed bandits? A Michael Buffer slot machine is now available from Bally Gaming.

Capitalizing on his star status, Michael Buffer has his own line of "Bufferzone" merchandise. You can chose from six t-shirts, a baseball cap, a "Jock Jam" music cassette or CD, a mouse pad or a key chain.

From his boxing roots, Buffer branched out. People were rumbling at the Aloha Bowl, at the University of Pittsburgh, Georgetown University, St. John's University, Oral Roberts University, the University of Florida, the University of Connecticut, the A&P Tennis Classic, and the Bremen 6-day bicycle tour in Germany. Even fans of kickboxing, horse racing, professional bowling, arena football, and pro volleyball can get ready to rumble.

And Michael Buffer is not just about sports.

Michael Buffer does television. He has appeared on Mad About You, Friends, Ally McBeal, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

Michael Buffer is in other areas of entertainment as well. He has been present for the unveiling of numerous Disney Theme Park Rides, made an Arista Records Promotional Video, and an Alphabet City Records Special Record Promotion. He hosted the 1998 worldwide premiere of Godzilla, the 1998 Hollywood Christmas Parade, the NFL 1997 Hall of Fame Awards, and the 1996 Cable Ace Awards.

Michael Buffer "energizes corporate gatherings." He has exhorted employees of Budweiser, Pepsi, HBO Sports, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, IBM, Federal Express, CNBC, Sprint, Mitsubishi, Miller Brewing Co., Time-Warner, and United Way to rumble.

Michael Buffer, who according to The Augusta Chronicle, was paid $10,000 for his services at the Lynx game, has built an entertainment conglomerate on a foundation of five words: "Lllllllet's Get Ready To Ruuuuummmble!!!!!®"

Jesus told a story one day about a provincial leader who was preparing to be away from his capitol city for a long time. He called in his three most dependable assistants and gave each of them a large sum of money, trusting each man to increase his holdings. Most Bible versions call the investments "talents." However you calculate it, it was a huge sum, each talent equivalent to one year's wages. One man received five talents, a second two and a third one. Each man received something. No one went away empty-handed.

When the day of reckoning arrived, the first two men had each doubled the size of their trusts. The third man whined, according to The Message by Eugene Peterson, "I was afraid that I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent."

The master was furious. "That's a terrible way to live!" he shouted. "It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?"

He turned to those who were standing nearby and said, "Take the one talent and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe' who won't go out on a limb."

We know the "master" in this story. His name is Jesus. None of us ever come from his presence empty-handed. We are each given at least one "talent," whatever that might be, even if it is only five words. He expects us, in his name, to go out on a limb, and increase, for his sake, what he has given us. When you understand that he risked the Cross, is he not worth a life-time investment in return?


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 10/9/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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