|Matt from Iowa alongside Big D and Ryan from Wisconsin|
Much of what I wanted to say has been covered in a recent article on ESPN.com. Being a member of a college video staff can at times be anonymous. We are those who hide behind the cameras, rarely being seen in front of those. While many have their eyes on the on-field action, there are those recording every move of the players, seemingly non-stop throughout a practice or a game. That footage is edited and shared out to coaches and players on your own team, and games are exchanged with teams throughout the conference and country.
While many eyes constantly play, replay and review each play over and over, it is a small group of people that watch their footage. Coaches and players are the target audience for this video, but fans rarely get a glimpse of this behind the scenes world.
This tragedy strikes very close to home. While I did not know the young man who lost his life, I do know his immediate boss. He has been at Notre Dame for as long as I've been at Iowa--around twenty years. All of us in the profession have been atop those lifts getting everything a coach would want to make his team better. And whether or not we continue to get into scissor lifts, boom lifts or other shooting towers, we send other students up to capture every step, route, punt and hit. When I began working at Iowa the saying was, "Whatever the Hawkeyes are doing, we're shooting it." Big Brother we became.
The unique part of the job is the comraderie that binds video staffs across the county. Coaches may like one another, but they also want to beat their fellow friend. But in our profession our rivalries must be put aside as it is important to help one another out. We need our opponent's video as they need ours. And in the process of helping one another out, we become friends with each other.
This two-week period on the schedule features Wisconsin and Michigan State. Our team goal is to win the game, but at Iowa we share a booth as well as assisting each other to ensure they can do their job quickly, efficiently and correctly. And at the same time, we form a bond of friendship. Some greater than others, but for these consecutive weeks we host two staffs we consider friends and not opponents.
For those who follow this blog know Wisconsin's and our video staffs meet in Dubuque every Summer for a friendly, yet competitive game of golf. A lot of fun is had on that day, and that continues over to a great time in the booth during a game. Michigan State will also provide a fun experience within the booth on Saturday regardless of the outcome of the game.
Tomorrow when Iowa and Michigan State put their cameras atop their tripods, nothing will have changed. I will be standing next to MSU's Tom and our students will be in the end zones side by side. That is our normal. We will be thinking of what those in South Bend must be going through as their normal will never be that again.