Amityville Athletics Are on the Air

Amityville Athletics Are on the Air photo
Reporting live from Amityville Memorial High School, it’s Justin Bethea and Devontay Rickenbacker. The two students have added a new dimension to Amityville athletics by broadcasting several Warriors contests. 

Justin, a sophomore, and Devontay, a junior, called all of the home games for the boys and girls varsity basketball teams as well as select road games. They were also able to travel with the boys team throughout its playoff run that culminated in a state championship. In addition to calling the plays and providing in-game commentary, the duo conducted postgame interviews with players, coaches and administrators. 

The games were livestreamed on The Cube and filmed using Padcaster, a kit that includes an iPad, case, tripod and microphone. Justin and Devontay were supported by fellow students Brian Portillo and Sabitha Joseph, who operated the camera, and technology teacher Paul Cimmino. 

“I found something that I enjoy doing,” Justin said. “Broadcasting is what I now want to do as a career.”

Devontay, who used to make YouTube videos about the NFL and NBA when he was younger, said he has always had an interest in sports commentary and this experience opened his eyes to the preparation that professional broadcasters must undertake. He and Justin both spoke of the importance of good pronunciation and cutting down on saying words such as “like” and “umm” while on camera. Additionally, they had to learn to be unbiased by referring to the team as “Amityville” or “the Warriors” instead of “we.” 

The pair learned how to fill an entire broadcast with commentary. For each game, they had statistics at the ready for both Amityville and the away team. Because they are classmates with Warriors players, they also had several anecdotes they could tell when there were breaks in the action. 

Although they weren’t able to broadcast the state championship game in Binghamton, Justin and Devontay both were given seats on press row, in which they were able to take photos and videos and network with members of the media. Devontay said that one of the greatest moments of the season they did get to call was when senior captain Josh Serrano scored his 1,500th career point.

Evan Farkas, the director of athletics, physical education and health, said a group visited Harborfields High School last year to learn about their broadcasting program, and this year’s goal was to livestream a handful of games.

“Little did we know that Justin and Devontay would come in and take it to a whole new level,” he said. “We’ve quickly become a model school for broadcasting.”

Mr. Farkas said the goal for next year is to add even more sports to the broadcasting lineup. Additionally, they are looking to add some new equipment such as noise-canceling headphones. 

Justin said that having several hundred people tune in to the games and hear him and Devontay’s commentary was a rewarding experience. It was just as thrilling as being on the sidelines for the basketball team’s title run. 

“There was a huge learning curve,” Justin said, “but it was a great experience.”