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The Aquilian

Students’ involvement in sports spans past the playing field

Michael+Wilbon+cohost+of+Pardon+the+Interruption+joined+a+recent+broadcast+with+juniors+Collin+Smith+and+Owen+OKeefe.+Photo+from+%40gonzagagoodnews+instagram+account+
Michael Wilbon cohost of “Pardon the Interruption” joined a recent broadcast with juniors Collin Smith and Owen O’Keefe. Photo from @gonzagagoodnews instagram account

Story updated on March 8, 2023.

Many sports fans have a favorite sports memory. Whether it’s your team hitting a game winning buzzer beater in March Madness or your favorite football player scoring a touchdown late in a big game, one element often makes these moments extra memorable, the broadcast call. Broadcasters elevate the experience of watching sports on TV by adding insight and energy to the game they are calling.

Here at Gonzaga, the Sports Broadcasting Club broadcasts Gonzaga sports games which many students don’t know about. The club broadcasts the games on the Gonzaga Sports YouTube channel. While the teams on the field get lots of attention, rightfully so, another team works behind the scenes to provide access to Gonzaga games to people who could not attend the game in person.  

The club was founded by Mr. Jonathan Spencer, assistant director of instructional technology, and Mr. John Kilroy, assistant headmaster for academic affairs and fine arts teacher  in 2021 in part because over the pandemic Gonzaga live streamed events on campus that people could not attend in person. Using that same technology used in those livestreams,  they created the Sports Broadcasting Club. 

In the 2021-22 school year, the club was mostly informal and relied on students signing up for games they wanted to help produce. The club only broadcasted a few games last year, but it was a solid foundation to build on. 

This year, the club consists of roughly 20 committed members who have broadcasted many football, soccer and basketball games. On most game days, a team of six or seven guys will assemble to broadcast the game. Two members provide play by play and color commentary while the other members are in charge of the audio, camera work and graphics. Like all team efforts, everyone has to be on the same page while broadcasting games to avoid slip ups and sloppy work.  

The club is a great opportunity for students who are interested in the sports broadcasting industry as it gives them the opportunity to be involved while still in high school. Collin Smith,  junior and one of the most active members of the club, spoke about why he decided to join the club. 

“It’s something I’ve always been interested in, something that I’m considering doing in college and maybe professionally,” Smith said. “I just enjoy you know, kind of the whole idea of doing sports on TV, whether it’s analytics or play by play broadcasting.”  

A lot of preparation and work goes into making sure the broadcast goes smoothly. Smith said that he usually spends time a few days before a game as well as the two hours leading up to the game looking at stats for the competing teams on maxpreps.com  and looking at rivals.com to see if players have collegiate offers for their sport. Using information gathered from their preparation, the play-by-play commentator and color commentator are able to provide the viewers with accurate stats and can highlight key players on each team which enhances the viewing experience. 

During a recent broadcast of Gonzaga’s basketball game versus Bishop McNamara High School on Jan. 11,  Mr. Michael Wilbon cohost of the sports talk show “Pardon the Interruption” joined the broadcast booth with Smith and junior Owen O’Keefe. Wilbon gave Smith and O’Keefe advice on what they can improve on in future broadcasts. 

“That was a really cool opportunity just because I’ve watched ‘Pardon the Interruption’ since I was a kid,” Smith said. “Getting the chance to meet with him was really cool and inspiring.” 

Just like sports teams review game film, the club rewatches previous broadcasts to correct mistakes and improve on weaker areas for the upcoming broadcast.  

Mr. Paul Buckley, one of current the moderators for the club, spoke on how the club prepared for the PVI basketball game and how members noticed what they could improve on after watching the previous broadcast. 

“All the tech people looked at their camera angles, and when they were switching the cameras, were they on the right people at the right time? And how can they handle the cameras smoother?” Mr. Buckley said. “The announcers were listening to the broadcast and were like ‘Oh wow, I didn’t need to say all that while I should’ve been saying this.’” 

After reflecting on their work, the next broadcast was a basketball game versus PVI, which Mr. Buckley thought was the broadcast team’s best production thus far. It is fair to say that like most things, putting on a live broadcast can be rough at first but has gradually improved over the past two years.  

Entering the spring season, the club plans to broadcast some home lacrosse and rugby games, and Mr. Buckley is hoping that the club will be able to broadcast baseball games at Nats Academy where Gonzaga’s baseball team plays their home games.  

The club is always looking for new members, especially for the spring season as some of the most active members play spring sports so they will be unavailable to be a part of the broadcast team. Any students interested should reach out to one of the three moderators, Mr. Paul Buckley, Mr. A.J. Powers and Mr. Stephen Pope.

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    Paul V BuckleyMar 2, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    The club was actually founded by Mr Kilroy and Mr Spencer – Mr Pope, Mr Powers and I signed on to help run it this year. Mr Buckley

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