Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sports Saturday: Growing ESPN Broadcast Talent

I guess sportscasters have to get their start somewhere. But I never would have thought that it would be in a Massachusetts high school:
As Sunday changed to Monday, ESPN's Trey Wingo was broadcasting live from the Women's NCAA Basketball Championships in Boston. Less than 12 hours later, he was live on the air again, this time from West Roxbury's Media Communications Technology High School.

From the school's cramped TV studio, Wingo sat beside student reporters, answered questions and offered guidance to aspiring sportscasters. Students had only a few hours to prepare for the event, which was sponsored by ESPN and Comcast. The broadcast was transmitted live to the school's 25 classrooms.

"We've never done anything of this magnitude; our broadcasts are usually prerecorded. The students were really excited about who was going to do what," said their teacher, Margaret Hoyt, who has taught at the school since 1991.

The first segment of the broadcast featured Wingo being interviewed by Eleni Saridis, 18, of Roslindale and Venus Trent, 17.

Questions for Wingo ranged from who would win the NCAA basketball Final Four to what he does for fun.

"Sports is my hobby. You really have to have a passion for what you do. I like to travel, and read, but really, my hobby is my work," said Wingo.

As the student-run production rolled on, aspiring student journalists took turns calling the plays of a taped West Roxbury basketball game. Sitting back to listen, Wingo, an ESPN veteran of nine years, was encouraging and supportive.

After Tyrone Fleurimont, 18, of Roslindale called the action, Wingo announced that Fleurimont deserved a round of applause.

"When calling the play-by-play, it's important not to say too much. Sometimes people talk and talk. You did a nice job, try again, but don't force too many words and enjoy it," advised Wingo.

For the students, trying challenging things is part of learning. "It was really this morning that they pulled this stuff together. This is how you learn stuff. Kids are afraid of making mistakes, but they have to make mistakes to learn. Every time we get a guest like this, they'll do a better job each time," said Sung-Joon Pai, the school's headmaster.

While all of the students benefited from Wingo's visit, two students were especially lucky - their names were drawn to receive a ticket to the Women's NCAA Basketball Championship Game on Tuesday night.
When I was a middle school-age KidWonk, imitating sportscaster Howard Cosell and boxer Muhammad Ali was all the rage.
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