Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:29

County Central High School athletics gain exposure

Written by  Craig Albrecht, Palliser Regional Schools
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Boys' action from a previous John Wark Memorial Basketball Tournament. Boys' action from a previous John Wark Memorial Basketball Tournament. Photo courtesy Vulcan Advocate

County Central High School is looking for greater exposure for its athletics program. The online television network, vTV, wishes to increase community content and engagement. The result is live stream coverage of the John Wark Memorial Basketball Tournament finals Feb. 12-13.

The online basketball action is available at on a donations basis going to CCHS athletics through the school’s sports council.
Angie Seaman, the school’s athletic director, jumped at the opportunity to raise much-needed funding and potentially allow more people to see the Hawks play. Just as important, however, is to bolster pride in the program, which wasn’t able to field a varsity girl’s basketball team this year.
“What I’m really hoping for is that athlete recognition and for people to come see the games; to get that culture back and get bums in the seats,” she says.
The pay-per-view offering is the second-ever by vTV, which featured a country music performer as part of its launch in the fall of 2015. Gail Wark, managing director for community relations, says the online network is looking for ways to further engage the community and schools are a large part of that.
“The school is very much a community hub. And if (it isn’t) , it needs to be,” she says. “That’s your seed crop for the viability of any community and it needs to be supported.”
Seaman, a CCHS graduate and former Hawk herself, says sports provides an avenue for community engagement in the school system and is often a reflection of a school’s culture.
“I think that’s what a strong sports program does for a school, it creates positivity,” says Seaman, adding it also creates goals for students. “Even if the goal is I want to get on that basketball team or I want to be there for my team so I’ve got to go to school, or I want that banner next year.”
The fact vTV’s first foray into sports coverage is a tournament named after Wark’s late husband is just
a coincidence. John Wark, like Gail, played sports at County Central and so did their children. He was a long-time supporter of the school’s sports program.
“The fact it is named after John is almost secondary to me, in some respect. This is about the kids,” says Wark. “Our kids are athletic and I know the importance of the connection of sports to education and the connection of how that builds community within a community.”
She is hoping this first venture with County Central won’t be the last, with rugby tournaments and other school sporting events other possibilities for vTV content. The online network has video equipment it could lend to the school so students could showcase their school, whether through sports or video coverage of events like the school’s upcoming Habitat Humanity trip to Trinidad. Perhaps that could eventually lead to a Career and Technology Studies program and a possible career path. It might be a natural, Wark adds, given the way teens take to posting video on the internet.
“The youth of today have produced more film than
has been produced in the history of the world. It’s their platform — a platform that’s available on any remote, digital device,” says Wark.
Coverage of the John Wark Memorial Basketball Tournament will allow grandparents and others who can’t make it to the gym to take in the action. The television network was also going to contact the out of town teams to share that same opportunity with their parents. While vTV is starting out in Vulcan, Wark would like to expand to offer coverage across southern Alberta.
Live stream coverage of the John Wark Memorial Basketball Tournament will be provided on vTV for the boys’ and girls’ finals beginning 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13.

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