Sports are an incredibly important part of Central’s history and identity. The “OOOSSS!!!” battle cry in wrestling, the track and field overlooking the downtown skyline, and many other aspects of sports at Central all come together to form this community of which the Eagles are incredibly proud. Therefore, being able to see these games and events is so important to the people at CHS. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic halted indoor events like basketball games from having any more than a few dozen fans, but this minor inconvenience wouldn’t slow down Eagle Nation.
This is where Striv.tv comes into play. Dr. Keith Bigsby has been a driving force in streaming games over the internet for the masses. “I have been working with the Central Network since I retired as Central’s principal in 2013. I wanted to live cast when I was principal, but we didn’t have the infrastructure to deliver a product. So, when I retired, I decided to work with the Central Foundation to make it happen,” explains Bigsby, “We have a lot of alumni around the world who are very connected and follow Central sports and activities. In addition to sports, we live cast Road Show, Senior Recognition, Spring and Fall plays, and anything else that might connect our community.”
People are still able to attend games in person, but livestreaming has definitely been the preferred form of watching these games. As Dr. Bigsby put it, “I did not expect the types of viewing numbers for the basketball games. They averaged over 1,000 viewers a game with our highest viewership at 3,100. The pandemic may have taken people out of the stands, but they were still watching their eagles!” These types of numbers were crazy to see but expected to say the least. If we were able to broadcast something else, the numbers might’ve gotten even higher. “I wished we would have had a football season. I think our numbers would have been in the to four to five thousand range,” says Bigsby.
It’s not just the streaming numbers online that were different from years past. The feeling inside the stadium or gymnasium was something I’ve never experienced before. As Dr. Bigsby put it, “The atmosphere at our games was very different. Much quieter and less of a home court advantage. No band, no students, no concessions. It was just different!” Hopefully by this time next year, everything should be back to the way it was.
Both Dr. Bigsby and I found it quite difficult getting used to everything about this year. There were plenty of differences from seasons past. “The pandemic has been a big difference, as well as working with a completely new crew for the first time in seven years,” says Bigsby, “A major reason for this was the elimination of the Career Center TV broadcast program in 2019. This past year the students involved were all Central High Journalism students that had no TV background.” Since the crew this year was a group of completely fresh faces for Dr. Bigsby, it was a new experience for everyone involved.
It’s a good thing then that we all adapted quickly since as Bigsby mentioned before, besides me who made the occasional YouTube video, no one had a strong TV background. “I have really enjoyed working with this year’s crew,” said Bigsby, “They were not afraid to try anything. The students rotated through all the broadcast spots (side cameras, main camera, producer, director, color and play by play) and did a fabulous job. They are probably the best group I have worked with in the last eight years.”
Just because this year has been unlike any other doesn’t mean the teams at Central didn’t create memorable moments just like any other season. When asked about his personal favorites, Dr. Bigsby mentioned, “The girls basketball team winning their district and going to state for the first time since 2012 was definitely a highlight. The girls are going to be state champions next year!” Also, like any other sports season, there were some heartbreaking moments to go along with the heartwarming ones. “The biggest disappointment was boys losing the district championship and not making state. They had a really good team this year. They just got unlucky at the end of the season,” said Bigsby.
It’s incredible to think how sports have managed to remain a driving force in the Central community even after every single roadblock was thrown in their way. This can be attributed to the players and coaches who lobbied for their seasons to remain intact, as well as the ones who helped get the games to those who wanted to see them. As Dr. Bigsby says, “I hope the students have had as much fun as I have this year!”