The only thing Carol Rozek is interested in on Friday nights is watching her two sons, Tyler and Kyle, play football at Genoa.
Rozek, however, has multiple sclerosis and is bound to a wheelchair, and prior to this season she had to use binoculars to see her two boys in action on the football field.
“With binoculars I can only focus on one or two people,” Carol said. “I have one kid on one end of the field and another kid on another end of the field. Sometimes I miss things with binoculars.”
|Zeke Herrera, an injured sophomore lineman, uses a joystick
to operate the camera that is mounted on a 30 foot tall pole.
To Herrera’s left is Tom Baker, Genoa High School technology
(Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)
Tom Baker, the technical coordinator at Genoa, and Comets coach Tim Spiess solved that dilemma for Carol Rozek. The Comets this season have mounted an end zone camera on top of a 30-foot, four-legged device called a Sport Scope and are able to shoot live video of the game and transmit it locally via a WiFi network.
“The Ohio High School Athletic Association changed the way coaches are allowed to use video during the course of the game,” Spiess said. “Beginning this year, coaches are now allowed to have running video on their sidelines during the course of a game. It has been a welcome change to the rules which govern high school football. We purchased a new end zone camera as well as some Tablets to be used by our coaches during the course of the game.”
Genoa’s camera is mounted on the Sport Scope in the end zone, and cameraman Zeke Herrera, a Genoa sophomore, takes care of the rest. Herrera stands on the ground and monitors the camera angles on a computer screen. He controls the camera using a joystick.
“Coach Spiess approached me at the beginning of the year and said, ‘This is a new rule where we can watch the feed on the sideline. Make it happen,’ ” Baker said. “We broadcast the signal from the camera wirelessly. It’s not on the Internet. It’s only broadcast in the stadium. It’s strictly a private network we set up for Genoa’s use. Anyone with the credential to connect to the wireless router has the ability to connect to the website that has the streaming video.
“Mrs. Rozek has a Kindle device. I connected it to the network and then they just use a web browser to view the streaming video. It’s live as the game is going on. This gives (the coaches) a different angle to view the game, from the end zone. The end zone gives them a better idea where the offense and defense are lining up.”
Spiess said Baker has been “an invaluable asset in this process.” The third-ranked Comets (9-0) end the regular season Friday night at home against Woodmore.
“Tom’s knowledge in this field has given us a great advantage on Friday nights,” Spiess said. “Randy Rozek approached us about the needs of his wife, so we made this same tool available to Carol so she can follow her sons a little closer.”
Genoa uses the camera and wireless feed at home and away games. Carol Rozek, who uses a Kindle device to watch the game, is grateful.
“I really like it,” she said, “because I can see the whole field instead of just one or two people, like when we’re passing or my son makes a tackle.”
Randy Rozek, Carol’s husband, said the family is already planning to upgrade for next season, when Kyle is a senior. Tyler is a senior this year.
“I think we need to upgrade,” Randy said. “Carol’s using a Kindle Fire, and I think if we have an iPad it would work much better. The technology on the iPad would process it much quicker. She can watch the game much better than before. The quality of the picture is really clear.
“There are other people who could probably use the same technology we’re using,” he added. “They just don’t know about it yet. Carol can see the players’ numbers now, whereas with the binoculars it’s difficult to focus on the fast-paced game. This is a step forward for helping people see the game. It is definitely an improvement for people in her condition.”
Zeke Herrera, an injured sophomore lineman, uses a joystick to operate the camera that is mounted on a 30 foot tall pole. To Herrera’s left is Tom Baker, Genoa High School technology director. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)