Due to COVID-19 restrictions on sporting events, McNicholas has chosen to begin using an online streaming network called the National Federation of High School Sports.
The NFHS Network gives fans the chance to watch their friends and family play sports without actually being in the stadium during the game. There is a fee of $10.99 a month and $69.99 a year to subscribe. Those interested can subscribe by clicking on this link.
“It’s a great opportunity for the situation that we have currently,” said school counselor and coordinator of the McNicholas Broadcasting Network Matt Wehrman. “We have a lot of parents that travel, and they don’t always get to see their kid’s games.” With the streaming service, parents who are out of town and other family members who can’t attend due to ticket restrictions because of COVID-19 still have the ability to watch sporting events.
“Through some donations… the school was able to get a contract with this company to put the cameras in the gymnasium and the football stadium,” Wehrman said. The cameras are an automated system that track the most movement taking place on the field or court. All sports that take place in these two locations are broadcast with the system.
Athletic Director Drew Schmidt said, “It’s definitely a different atmosphere when we don’t have students in the stands… I know it’s not high school as we know it, or what we’re going to know it as when we move forward here, but our fans have been awesome, and I’m glad that we could at least provide them with some outlet from McNick athletics.”
Freshman Langley Esterle said, “I think it is a good idea because you can watch school sports and support your classmates.”
The NFHS Network also helps to connect the fans. On Friday, October 17, a freshman watch party was held in the cafeteria. Freshmen were able to watch the McNicholas football team’s first playoff game through the network, as well as participate in various socially distanced activities.
“I enjoyed going to the watch party because I got to see some of my friends there, and it was just a fun time,” freshman Amanda Zerhusen said. A senior watch party was also held earlier in the year.
Just like with anything, the NFHS Network does have some flaws. “There’s been some issues here and there,” Wehrman said. “Occasionally the cameras just can’t keep up with the speed of the action, so the ball will go off-screen sometimes.”
The NFHS Network gives some students the opportunity to get experience in announcing. Senior Ian Phillips is one of the commentators for the network. He said, “I decided to take the leap of faith and try it… from there I just kept doing it because I had a lot of fun with it.”
Sophomore Andy Edwards is also a commentator. “I thought it was a really good idea to do it,” he said. “The seniors that couldn’t come got to experience actual games that they didn’t get to see.”
This streaming service will be used for at least five years by McNicholas High School. Despite the setbacks, the NFHS Network gives student athletes a chance to shine in the midst of COVID-19 regulations.