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Spring 2009 | Finding the balance

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Jordan Vater
Jordan Vater ’09, at left, calls the action with fellow announcer and Matt Panure ’07
Live! from Schuldes
By Jordan Vater ’09

Student broadcasters pilot conference-wide webcast programming

It was one of the most hyped college basketball games in the region in a long time. One of the top teams in the nation was about to battle a very talented but underachieving rival.

The Green Knight men’s team, picked to finish fourth in the Midwest Conference in a pre-season coaches poll, was 16-1 and hosting defending conference champion Lawrence University. David was inviting Goliath into his house, and I had the best seat in the place, directly above the action inside the press box of the Schuldes Sports Center.

For three years now, I, alongside Matt Panure ’07, have had the privilege of broadcasting men’s and women’s basketball games for St. Norbert and the Midwest Conference on a live, streaming internet video feed.

Athletics director Tim Bald approached Matt and me in December of 2006 about the opportunity to run the pilot program of MWCTV, the first conference-wide, pay-per-view broadcast program. We both quickly agreed, and what followed was a year and a half of learning – learning what to say, what not to say, when to speak and when to let the action speak for itself.

In 2008, Matt and I spent the fall broadcasting Green Knight football games for MWCTV and Time Warner Cable’s “Wisconsin On-Demand” so when basketball finally rolled around, we were ready. As the men’s and women’s teams jumped out to early leads in the Midwest Conference standings, we realized we were beginning to be a part of something special.

Flash forward to the Feb. 3 battle with Lawrence. The preparation began two days in advance, as I scoured statistics, scouting reports, game previews and everything else I could get my hands on. A quick e-mail to the Lawrence sports information director landed me the proper pronunciations for each player’s name, and after a little homework and some memorization, I was ready for game time.

We arrived an hour before the first tip-off to give us enough time to set up and go over what we would talk about in our pregame show. The St. Norbert women were clearly the dominant team in the conference, so their game would not be much of a contest, but the men’s game was much more evenly matched. After the Green Knight women doubled-up Lawrence, 84-42, Matt and I excitedly discussed game strategies, player tendencies, and “keys” to the men’s showdown in our pregame show.

For one of the first times all year, Schuldes was packed. Many fans sported Lawrence blue, but the majority donned green and gold and appeared just as excited for this game as I was. Unfortunately, for the majority in attendance, David, apparently, does not always defeat Goliath. Lawrence dispatched the 11th-ranked Green Knights, 75-52, in what I described as one of the most deflating losses in my sport-crazed life. While we normally do not get overly-emotional as broadcasters, this one was hard to take.

The beauty of sports is that despite a tough loss, the next game is usually right around the corner. The St. Norbert men went on to finish the regular season 18-5, earned a spot in the conference tournament for the second straight year. On the way they defeated the nation’s top-ranked team, UW-Platteville, on Dec. 30. The beauty of broadcasting is that you get to be a part of the growing success of a program like St. Norbert, every step of the way.

Spring 2009 magazine

Web extras Web exclusives
Look here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine (PDF).

Video Student research
goes Galapagos

Reporting from one of the world’s best natural laboratories.

Audio Accessible and affordable
An interview to share with anyone considering a college education.

Text Extra Sports and their fans
An excerpt from a new book on the history, economics and culture of the relationship between spectator and sport.

Photo Gallery An aardvark a day
In this gallery of images, animal spirits prevail.

Text Extra Journalist in disguise
A look at two books authored by President Tom Kunkel.

Video Stepping out of the picture
An artist reflects on his recent work.

Story ideas? Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.

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