“Sweet, fancy Moses!”
It was a new phrase that came across Heartland’s Striv Channel this basketball season. Other popular ones poked good fun at the area’s Mennonite Heritage. But behind these entertaining comments was a local community member who observed a need and stepped into the gap.
When Troy Hiebner watched Heartland’s first streamed basketball games this season, he was concerned the audience might have trouble differentiating between Trev Peters and Trajan Arbuck on their screen. To remedy this, he called Secondary Principal Tim Carr and volunteered to provide commentary to the game online. “I felt like the teams deserved someone to call the game,” he explained. Mr. Carr thought it was worth a shot.
It didn’t take long for Troy to adapt to and even love his new winter hobby. With no announcing background, it provided him a completely different experience from his career of farming, and it definitely filled the need he perceived. The community response was quick and robust. Especially with regulations surrounding fan attendance this season, a lively commentator affixed the virtual audience to the gym.
Venturing through the season, Troy found himself spending up to six hours of preparatory work for each game. Pages of notes, facts, stats, and pronunciations evidenced a newfound passion. Once he became accustomed to speaking throughout the game, Troy added other features to enhance the viewer experience. This included starting lineups, halftime videos, and graphics.
While Troy did make it clear that he enjoyed calling both the girls and boys games, there was heightened excitement around the boys’ season that made it especially exhilarating. “It felt like I got to be an extension of the team,” he noted. Reflecting on the season, it was the boys’ game against Cross County that was the most thrilling for him.
Striv was founded in Henderson in 2012. It has grown into a company that serves countless students through media education and hands-on experience while the viewers benefit from the live streamed events. In this case, however, Striv afforded a community member an outlet to explore an interest. Troy has volunteered in his church and on local boards, but he recounted how this venture created a vast connection point to the community and beyond. In the end, a bit of bravery provided a slam dunk for all–with no celebratory Mennonite dancing necessary.
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