High School Sports

ESPNU fills sidelines with crew

Larry Dostert couldn't believe his eyes.

Dostert, the athletic director for Bishop Carroll, realized that hosting a nationally televised football game would mean a few more bodies than usual roaming the sidelines. Dostert wasn't expecting the crew of approximately 40 people ESPNU needed to televise the Kapaun Mount Carmel-Carroll game Friday night.

Carroll defeated Kapaun 36-34.

"When Liberal comes up here to play they always put the game on TV, and it's not much of a fuss. It's just like having another radio station here," Dostert said. "But I was surprised at exactly how big of a production this is."

The ESPNU crew started setting up for Friday's game at 11 a.m. While temperatures fluttered around the low 50s, the crew hastily worked to get five stationary cameras and hundreds of audio-visual cables in place. It was a far cry from the weather in Miami, where producer Jimmy Platt and several members of his crew were Thursday night, televising Miami Northwestern vs. Miami Central.

The ESPN family of networks televises 22 high school games this season. Seven members of the crew travel to every location. ESPN hires the rest of the technicians from around the area.

"It's really a team effort," Platt said. "We're only as good as our worst person."

Inside the production truck, Platt runs his team much like a quarterback. Sitting in front of six 42-inch plasma televisions, he directs his camera operators as though he's calling an audible at the line of scrimmage. With his stationary cameras set up in the high end zone, low end zone, right 30-yard line and left 30-yard line, Platt keeps his head on a swivel. It is his job to make sure that the at-home audience is getting the full game experience.

"The play on the field really dictates what we show," Platt said. "The game depicts what I do. The faster the teams move, the faster I have to move and the faster the telecast is."

Many of the people capturing the sights and sounds of the game are experienced television professionals. However, the crew also uses a few of the host school's students. Megan Hayes is a Carroll senior who jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the ESPN crew. Hayes, cousin of Kapaun player Chris Hayes, was one of two Carroll students in charge of capturing the sounds from the field. Hayes will receive $75 for her work.

"It's great. I've already been rubbing it in everyone's face," Hayes said. "Not only am I getting paid, I have the best seat in the house."

Not only is this something that she can brag to her friends and family about, it is also one that could help her professional.

"This is something that I can put on my resume," Hayes said. "I'm so excited that I have this opportunity. I never thought I'd have anything like this on my resume in high school."