Sports Media: Embrace The Nerves & Produce

BY OLIVIA JANSEN | Ball State Sports Link

The past month has been filled with many firsts. My first time living three hours away from my family, my home and — most importantly — my dogs.

My first college class? That was overwhelming.

My first time working for Sports Link Gameday. There’s been a lot of adjustments in the first month.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to see much hands-on action in Sports Link as an incoming freshmen. Besides, I’m just a freshman with minimal experience.

IMG_7098However, my expectations were surprisingly far different from reality.

My first assignment in Sports Link came less than three weeks into the semester as a camera operator for SL GameDay Live, presented by Stoops Buick GMC.

During the game, I also managed Sports Link’s Snapchat and Instagram stories.

In high school, my experience mainly centered around play-by-play and other on-air positions. So, this would be my first experience to step behind-the-scenes into the sports broadcasting industry.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous.

Not only was this a learning experience for me, but the majority of the crew was composed of other first-year students. Not to mention, Sports Link was expanding and changing the show to a new location inside the stadium and adding halftime and postgame shows this year.

During the first practice run through, things were awkward. Are we sure we can handle this? I questioned internally. I guess that’s the expectation of a crew crafted together with unseasoned 18 and 19-year-old freshmen. The roles were new and unfamiliar, but our instructors and the show’s producer, junior Erinn Casey, guided us.

The setup and location was far larger than anything we had worked on in high school. With everyone sitting in the same boat, our chemistry worked. We were able to learn from each other. We helped one another problem solve on set, on the sidelines and on the air.

The final product ended up being — in our opinion — satisfying. Perfect? No. It will never be. For our first time, we were encouraged with where the show could go in coming weeks.

It may have been my first time operating a camera on a live show. It may have been my classmates first time running replay. I had never stepped behind-the-scenes. They had never worked on a college-level production. But it didn’t limit us from stepping out of our comfort zone.

Yes, the nerves were present, but a simple scan left and right showed we were all in the same boat. We had to embrace the nerves and produce.

In fact, from that first show on Sept. 9 through the end of the semester, my classmates and I are scheduled to produce as many as 15 live productions with the majority airing on ESPN 3 and the Watch ESPN app.

This weekend, Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, Sports Link produces its first live games of the year on the “worldwide leader” with two Ball State Soccer matches.

Many of my peers across campus are still trying to adjust to dorm life.  I’ve learned nerves must be set aside.

There’s a first time for everything, even if it does come a matter of weeks into college on the sidelines of a college football game.





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