BY JARED FRANK | Ball State Sports Link
It’s amazing how seemingly insignificant moments can have such a profound impact on one’s life.
My seemingly insignificant moment came my freshman year at Petoskey High School in Michigan, when my friend asked if I wanted to help broadcast a volleyball match with him.
I had never pondered the possibility, but, for some reason, the idea of being on a broadcasting team clicked with me. Without hesitation, I said yes. All we had was an old laptop, a small camcorder and two mics, but we made it work. Despite the low production value, I had a blast.
We broadcasted the varsity volleyball and basketball games, and my involvement included working the camera. I use the term “working” lightly”. I was basically just moving it back and forth and commentating.
After my sophomore year, lack of funding and participation meant the end of the broadcast club, but I wanted more. After a little bit of research and meetings with my counselor, we found out about the Rambler Sports Network, commonly shortened to RSN.
RSN is a student broadcasting program for juniors and seniors at Boyne City High School, about 25 minutes from Petoskey, and about half the size.
Through a program between the two school districts, I was able to join the class while still attending Petoskey. I jumped at the opportunity to make new friends and move forward with something I’m passionate about, and that’s exactly what I did.
Every school day my junior and senior year, I got in my car during my lunch period and drove to Boyne City, where I became a member of BCHS’s Visual Imaging program, better known as Team BCVI. One half was the yearbook team and the other half was RSN.
From the first day of class, I realized this was different than any other class I had taken in high school. Instead of lectures, PowerPoints and worksheets, my instructor chose to emphasize actual “doing.”
After a brief introduction to Adobe programs such as Photoshop and AfterEffects, he let us work independently and learn by experience rather than instruction.
Our grade in the class wasn’t based on quizzes and tests, but by what the public thought of our work – both our live broadcasts and other content such as features or commercials.
We livestreamed the home football and basketball games out of our production trailer with an emphasis on telling a story — quite similar to a certain program in Muncie, Ind.
I quickly worked my way up from operating one of the four cameras on the broadcast to the role of Technical Director. My senior year, I produced and edited a behind-the-scenes feature (link below) that illustrated the process of an RSN broadcast from start to finish.
I loved the idea of working on a team to create content for others to enjoy. Thousands tuned-in to our RSN broadcast from all over the world, ranging from deployed soldiers overseas to BCVI alumni watching from their college dorms.
My passion for sports production led me to Ball State Sports Link, where in my first few weeks I’ve already been the Technical Director for two Sports Link GameDay live productions from Scheumann Stadium and a slash camera operator for two productions of women’s soccer on ESPN 3 and the WatchESPN app.
Would any of this have been possible without RSN? Absolutely not.
I’ve become one of those proud alumni watching from my college dorm. I will continue to watch long after I graduate, witnessing just how far this small-town program can go.
Also quite similar to a digital sports production program in Muncie.