Teaching digital skills to young people is at the core of our partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. One Club member, Anaa Jibicho, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see those skills in action at Super Bowl LII, and to shadow members of the NBC Sports team as they used leading-edge technology to deliver the biggest game of the year. Read about his experience below.

Whenever I watch a great football game, basketball game, or just about any sport being broadcast on TV, only the players and, every now and then, the coaches are recognized. No one says, “Wow, what a great performance today by the camera crew. I was blown away by the cross-fade from the establishing shot to the close-up.” There’s so much more that goes into making a major sports event a good experience for the fans than people realize. Funny enough, the scarcity of recognition of their work may be a testament to the talent and diligence of the crews.  

I consider myself a filmmaker, or at least I want to be. Prior to my Super Bowl experience, I already had some form of appreciation for film production. However, when I was invited to the control room at the Minnesota Wild game by NBC Sports the Friday before Super Bowl, I quickly came to terms with my under-appreciation of sports production. This was, no pun intended, a new ball game. Everything had to be done at the right time, with precision and perfection, or else everyone watching the game would see the mistake. In spite of this burden, the production crew operated smoothly. It was like art! You would expect there to be some sort of tension in the air when you walk in and see these crews practicing their craft, but you can see the ease and calmness as they laughed and enjoyed themselves working in a high-stress environment. I was more nervous for them than they seemed to be themselves!

On to the big day: Super Bowl LII. I was very excited for the game, but I also arrived with a new perspective. This lens allowed me to picture someone in the control room rewinding the tapes quickly as they have about five to ten seconds to replay the touchdown. It allowed me to see someone on the crew promptly putting together visuals to throw on the screen. While some people in the audience were busy enjoying Justin Timberlake’s half-time performance, I was much more engaged in appreciating the lighting, sound, logistics, and overall production that had to be put in to make that performance even remotely possible.  It was as if I was at two different games; one was Super Bowl LII and the other was Super Crew LII. Going to the Super Bowl is definitely an experience that I will never forget, but getting a peek into the nuts and bolts made me further appreciate the unseen people making the magic happen for over 100 million people and helped build on my passion for video production.

On another note, I often hear kids in my community say they desire to be professional athletes when they grow up. This behind the scenes experience puts a new perspective on wanting to be in the sports industry. I wish for a day when a kid in my neighborhood says they want to be in sports, not just as an athlete, but for the many other aspects of sports that help players function. That’s what I aim to get across to my friends after this experience, that there are more career options in the sporting world than what meets the eye.

This whole experience was really important because it not only allowed me to share the impact the Boys and Girls Clubs has had on me, but it also helped me get a more in-depth experience in the field of media, technology, and engineering that I’m greatly interested in. Thank you, Comcast NBCUniversal for this amazing experience!

Anaa is a junior at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul, Minn. and an eight-year Club member as well as the 2017 Youth Of The Year of the Twin Cities Boys & Girls Club.