Duff, Deloach serve up special moments at CWS
For the two intern videographers from Ole Miss Sports Productions, getting the opportunity to document the Rebels’ experience with hours of behind-the-scenes footage was very special indeed.
The journey to reach Omaha, Neb., started at two different points, but with a similar genesis.
Duff played soccer at Ole Miss until her eligibility ended two seasons ago. It was then that she decided to find a way to get back into sports. Her answer started when she walked into the office of Micah Ginn, the associate athletics director for sports productions and creative services at Ole Miss, and asked to shadow him.
“I missed the competition of sports,” Duff explained. “Micah had worked with soccer doing The Season-type stuff, and I told him I wanted to make videos that give you the chills and get you excited about playing. I just sat in his office for a semester, and Micah is very entertaining. At the end of the semester—it was around the time of the Rebel Choice Awards—I got to see how the all-sports video was produced.”
Being a persistent shadow paid off, and last fall Duff started to cover the football team. The experience carried over to baseball, the sport she feels most connected with now after Omaha.
“It felt like we were a part of the team; it was really cool to feel like we were needed there,” Duff said. “The College World Series was awesome because my dream one day is to shoot for the Red Sox. It was really cool for me to have an opportunity to shoot on such a big stage. It was also kind of a, ‘Yes, I’m going to be able to do this for a job.’”
Deloach, who first started shooting men’s basketball back in January, has always been involved in sports, dating back to her high school days in Columbia, S.C. She went from not knowing a single baseball player by name to not needing to see a number to identify who a player was.
“I really didn’t follow Ole Miss baseball my first year. I’m sure the players were all thinking, ‘Who is this girl following us around?’” Deloach said. “Growing up in Columbia, I followed South Carolina baseball a lot. I saw them tweeting from Omaha. It was just so cool. There were so many moments I was sitting on the bus thinking, ‘Am I really here? Am I really doing this and with them on the bus and not just a fan in the stadium?’” she added. “Omaha was just such a big stage. There were so many times during that week that I couldn’t believe I was there.”
Like Duff, Deloach found out about being an intern through Ginn. She originally wanted to be in front of the camera, but that has now changed to being a videographer.
Chris Sabo, a producer and director with Ole Miss Sports Productions, was also credited by Duff and Deloach for his help in the process.
“Sabo really taught me in the ins-and-outs and the tedious things I need to know,” Deloach said. “I had never picked up a camera.”
Sabo came to Ole Miss from Ohio University, where he was involved in an intern program that helped mold students into becoming more talented shooters. He and Ginn want the experience to increase in the future, with the goal of making Ole Miss and the students better.
“I told the kids that I want them to be better than I was,” Sabo said. “I want them to have such an advantage and head start that when they get out of here, they are the most-eligible media professionals looking for a job. The more kids we graduate through the program, the bigger the network gets for Ole Miss.”
Ginn was hoping that after four years, and then potentially two years working as a graduate assistant, the students will be extremely ready or the kind of candidates that can have their pick of jobs.
“We tell them, ‘Don’t think that your career starts when you graduate. Your career started now and you have a chance to get six years of experience,’” said Ginn, who also emphasized the importance of the students building their reel. “Employers are going to want to see their work. We have high hopes for the freshmen that we have coming in and that want to be developed. We want them to push us, and we want to push them to be the best.”
Ginn and his staff have won a bevy of awards the past couple of years for moments just like the CWS. The goal is to enhance the personal aspect of a student-athlete and project it to the fans in a more human fashion.
“One of our charges from a marketing/communications standpoint from our boss, Michael Thompson, is to humanize and personalize the student-athlete,” Ginn said. “That engenders the most connection between the fan and the player. It gives you inside knowledge of the coaches and the players and lets people know who they are as a team, as coaches and as a family. It expands the family of Ole Miss. Being able to fold young adults into that is critical because. to do that, we want to be as ever-present as we can.”
Sabo added that the goal was to let fans see what they couldn’t during a game in Omaha.
“There were plenty of fans in Omaha, but the reality of it is, the majority of them couldn’t go,” Sabo said. “People that haven’t had the experience of playing in college—it’s hard for them to fathom how much these guys have to do,” Sabo said. “Being at all these places is a way we can give people who have an interest to see what else is happening. The mission is to personalize and humanize the student-athletes of Ole Miss.”
Duff and Deloach understood that, and both went about trying to capture those “big” moments during the nine days the team was in Omaha.
“It’s like you get that adrenaline of when you used to play,” Duff said. “You get the passion of when they win (and) the team camaraderie. It’s really cool to be responsible for getting all that emotion.”
“It’s fun to look back at your shots, waiting for the moment. We both have gotten shots of Aaron Greenwood, the most emotional player out there probably,” Deloach said. “When he gets that strikeout, he goes crazy. It gives you chills every time. It’s fun to realize which players are going to give you emotion. We’re around the team so much through the year, we know who to have the camera on in big moments.”