Letter from the Editor
The week before the 2015-2016 school year started, Andrew Murphy and Sam Lindwedel approached me about joining a new club they were founding: the SLUH Sports Network. We met in Mrs. Ann Murphy’s office the Monday before the first football game of the year, the Running of the Bills. We literally signed the school organization papers, found broadcasters, ordered equipment, received permission, learned how to use the equipment, designed graphics, and were broadcasting within 5 days.
Football and soccer were off to a rough start with connection drops, software issues, and all the other kinks any brand new broadcasting club had. I recruited my good friend and fellow nerd Patrick Rottman to help me, and the both of us found current Technology Director Nick Wilmsmeyer while troubleshooting a dropped connection. We dealt with issues not only technical but human as well, learning the ways to prep commentators and how to work with faculty and staff.
Something we didn’t have to fix was soccer commentators. The duo from the heavens of Sam Tettamble and Kevin Strader is, what I believe, shot SSN to the forefront of SLUH Athletics. Their witty yet informative commentary had the whole community cheering “JOINK!” at every goal, leading to SSN’s debut on KSDK’s sports highlights and the still record high of 347 live viewers at one time.
Following a thrilling fall season, winter brought the biggest upgrades of them all: Wirecast and the Mac Pro. Wirecast gave us the ability to take advantage of the sheer power of Apple’s Mac Pro (affectionately known as “Our Baby”) and introduced aspects never before seen in a student-run broadcast that we’ve found: full HD 3D graphics and an integrated running clock as well as top notch graphic designs. I still remember the excitement I felt hitting the command and hearing “You’re watching the SLUH Sports Network” in Andrew’s best announcer voice, the music playing and the 3D “SSN” graphics showing up on screen, LIVE to the internet for everyone to see. It was thrilling every single time George and Justin would yell “It’s a St. Louis U. High POWER PLAY” and I’d hit the flashing lights and “Twilight Zone” and everyone would go nuts. Hockey was also our first sport away from SLUH, proving our versatility.
Basketball has been my personal favorite sport to broadcast. We decided not to travel until the playoffs, resulting in the highest quality live streams I have ever seen, let alone produce, right from our own Danis Field House. I had designed my heart out in the scoreboard graphics and people loved them. We found the perfect commentators in Miles and Sergio and I’ll never forget when Sergio made the comment on air “He needs some milk” and I had to clarify to KSDK what he meant while laughing like crazy. The Elite 8 matchup at Lindenwood was the first broadcast where I couldn’t be there, and trust me it was hard to let her go but it was made up and then some by getting to watch it as the fans do, resulting in the most pride I’ve ever felt in my life.
Baseball and Lacrosse were routine, by this time we had our process down pat. Perfect broadcasts were not uncommon. They were so perfect in fact I figured out another first for SSN: live aerial shots from a quadcopter on a student-run broadcast.
My final broadcast was from Lindenwood University, the state semifinals for Lacrosse. We finished on a well fought victory, the perfect way to end a miraculous year.
I think I speak on behalf of everyone who worked with SSN this year: Thank you. Thank you to our loyal fans who stuck with us in our shaky beginnings and had us jumping for joy as the viewer count went higher and higher. Without our viewers we wouldn’t be the best student broadcast organization we’ve ever seen. Thank you St. Louis University High who literally threw money at us to follow our dream. We also want to thank Mr. See, Mr. Dickmann, Mr. Chura, Mr. Muskopf, and all the other faculty and staff who gave their time, effort, patience, and even a little bit of their own money to make this organization happen. Thank you coaches and players who without them we wouldn’t even be here doing this. Thank you Larry Thornton of KSDK, Mr. David Laughlin, and Mr. Mark Zinn for the countless retweets. Notably thank you broadcasters for making us laugh and keeping us entertained in good games and in bad. It will be a challenge to find such an enthusiastic group of individuals who will fill your shoes.
Personally, I want to thank Andrew Murphy, Sam Lindwedel, Sam Perry, Nick Lally, Charlie Wagner, Jake Wilmsmeyer, and especially Nick Wilmsmeyer and Patrick Rottman for their late nights, sacrifices, and patients in order to make this amazing organization a reality.
I wish good luck to all the players, coaches, and fans next year, and especially the SLUH Sports Network team of 2016-2017. Thank you.
-Tom Hillmeyer, SLUH Class of 2016