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Turning an idea into reality

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If you ask someone who attended Southern Nash High School over the last 50 years who’s moved away from the area what he or she misses most about his or her alma mater, the vast majority will answer in the same way — Friday night football.

Good years or rotten years, there simply is no place like Firebird Stadium on a cool fall Friday night. The stadium holds at least four times as many spectators as it did in 1969, the facilities are the envy of many visiting schools — and the energy levels from the crowds are legendary. What’s not to miss?

Unfortunately, not everyone gets to stay here in southern Nash County. In fact, most folks move away after they graduate and start lives in other places — I myself made it as far away as Hilo, Hawaii before I came home, left again and came home again. What I would have given to be able to watch the Firebirds play from 5,000 miles away. Now, those who are far from home or just physically not able to attend can enjoy Southern Nash Firebird Friday night football again — in its entirety — live.

In January, I approached Southern Nash Principal Hugh Scott and Athletic Director Robbie Kennedy with an idea — let’s broadcast the football games next year. While Coach Kennedy was looking up the NCHSAA rules governing such streams, we decided to push it a little further — let’s see how many different sports we can live-stream this year, not just football, though football is the largest draw.

At first, our production team planned only for home games, but then the team thought about the schools we play and the fact that they had athletes who deserved a chance to be seen on a larger scale too, so we started contacting the away schools — only Rocky Mount turned a negative eye to it, proving that all us little country schools can hang right there with the big-money schools in Wake.

With a large production comes a large bill. Equipment and licensing fees were huge — but sponsors begin to sign on. Unfortunately, they only lined up for football. Soccer was quickly dropped for this year and volleyball looks to most likely suffer the same fate next week. Football, however, is on and has a large following with roughly 5,700 opt-in notifications from all over the country for how to view a game; and basketball’s list is steadily growing. Our January idea had become a working machine racing toward an Aug. 23 kickoff at a breakneck pace until here we are — game time.

We will never be able to replicate the feel of a cool October night, the smell of fresh cut grass or the rock-concert energy that courses through Firebird Stadium every night — in fact, if you are in Nash County, we expect to see you in the stands — but now Firebirds all over the globe can tune in and cheer on the ‘Birds every Friday night. After all, that’s what All-In is all about.

To watch the live streams, simply go to YouTube, search for the Southern Nash News channel and click subscribe. You can watch it right there on your smart TV and it doesn’t cost a thing to enjoy a single game or every game — well, except for Rocky Mount. You’ll have to settle for audio for that one.

Mark Cone is owner and operator of SouthernNashNews.com.

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