Live streaming high school sports has gone from a rarity to a necessity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It certainly sped up the timeline," said Ridgefield High School athletic director Dane Street.
As fan attendance has been limited at best, schools have scrambled to get streaming systems off the ground.
“This is something that we always envisioned was going to be part of our journey through the use of technology,” said Street. “Admittedly we weren't in a position where we thought this was going to happen this year.”
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Though, there are few people who would say this past year has gone to plan. Ridgefield senior Michael Conciatore certainly isn’t one of them.
As he readied for his senior season on the school’s boys hockey team, an injury during an offseason practice cut those plans short. He broke his femur and had to come to terms with a season ending before it could begin.
“As soon as I hit the boards there, I knew I was done,” said Conciatore. “When I was sitting in the hospital bed, it was definitely tough.”
His coach asked if he’d bring his helmet and still sit with them on the bench. Conciatore had an idea for a different perspective. He put down the helmet and picked up a headset.
“Ever since I was younger I always wanted to be a broadcaster,” said Conciatore. “I always wanted to do something with it but I didn't really have the opportunity.”
So he made one. In a year full of missing out, Conciatore went all in. He started with the home hockey broadcasts streamed on YouTube but as streaming has gotten more popular, schools have started to collaborate. The New Canaan High School TV station even invited Conciatore to join their broadcast during the FCIAC playdowns.
“You'll hear me during the streams and I’ll get really excited because it’s like I’m still really still in that locker room, still getting dressed,” said Conciatore. “That helps me come to terms with ending my career...streaming the games, it's fun, it's a whole new way to see the game.”