Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Think (Audio) Visual

Extraordinarily entertaining afternoon spent at Holmdel Park this past Saturday.  Liv and her Hillsborough Raider teammates were not able to defend their Group IV Championship but they were able to finish 2nd in the "Group of Death", which earned them a place in this Saturday's Meet of Champions.  I know not how many high schools in New Jersey field a Varsity Girls Cross-Country team.  I know simply that this Saturday morning, only twenty teams shall be on the course competing for the Meet of Champions crown.  Nice company to keep.  And damn fast as well.  

A lifetime ago, when I was a student at W-H, one of the extra-curricular activities in which I participated was the school's A-V Club.  We had one camera, which (if memory serves me correctly) recorded on VHS tapes, and was part of an apparatus that weighed just south of 1,000 pounds and required a team of Hannibal's most capable pachyderms to move from Point A to Point B.  The purpose of the A-V Club was to provide coaches with game films they could use for preparatory purposes with their assistants and with their players.  

Fortunately, our faculty adviser was Link Keur and Mr. Keur had an imagination that was not confined to the four corners of our club's stated purpose.  It was thanks to Mr. Keur that I had the chance to do play-by-play on games during which I worked the camera.  I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I did it on at least two or three varsity basketball games, which led to Head Coach Ray Kovonuk making an observation I have heard countless times in my life ("He talks too much"), which observation led to me not doing any more play-by-play for basketball.  Lucky for me, Mr. Keur was the Varsity Baseball Coach.  During either my sophomore or junior year, he green-lighted my request to do play-by-play of one of W-H's home baseball games. 

The camera position for baseball was dreadful.  I hauled the camera up on top of a container that was used for the storage of equipment, which container was located down the third-base line, about twenty-five feet past the third base bag and approximately twenty-five feet into foul territory.  It was a vantage point from which home plate was essentially obscured by a batter in the right-handed batter's box.  It was also a vantage point from which an unwary broadcaster/cameraman could get plunked by a foul ball.  My over-sized cranium and Mr. Keur's directive that I was to protect the school's camera equipment at all costs combined to make it, all in all, a slightly tense afternoon.  But as I remember it, I had one hell of a good time for even at the high school level, baseball is a sport that lends itself to the telling of stories and to the setting of the scene.  

I regretted that, in spite of my forays into basketball and baseball, I was never permitted to lend my voice to any of W-H's football games for which I manned the camera.  Well, I was never permitted to lend my play-by-play.  On more than one occasion, I blurted out something while rolling tape that I am sure got a chuckle or two when the coaches and players reviewed the game film.  

On Monday morning, as I was sitting drinking my first cup of coffee of the day,  I came across a piece of video on-line that, immediately, I found incredibly appealing. I am a big enough person to admit that when I saw that it was video produced by "MKA TV" I was more than a little bit envious.  Thirty-years ago, W-H had an A/V Club.  Today, Montclair Kimberly Academy (a school that thirty years ago W-H used to compete against in a number of sports) has its own television station.  Dylan was right.    

But I digress. 

Montclair Kimberly Academy hosted Mater Dei in the first round of the State football playoffs on Saturday afternoon and as the game ticked down to its final few seconds, the home-standing Cougars trailed 12-7.  They had the ball and time for one final "Hail Mary", which play inspired reactions from MKA's team of student broadcasters that were (for my money) as memorable as the play itself. 

Whether any of the kids on the MKA football team has a future on the gridiron, I would not pretend to know.  Similarly, whether any of the kids behind the microphones has a future in broadcasting (sports or otherwise) I could not begin to hazard a guess.  But for one moment on a mid-November afternoon, they combined their talents to tell one hell of an engaging tale.  

Pictures and stories.  May it continue to be a relationship that never grows old. 


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