DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

In the sky or on the wall, sports eyes everywhere

 Fear not, fans of the Xavier Prep Gators . . . just because you won’t be able to see some of your favorite XCP sports teams in person at the Activity Center or at Petznick Field this school year doesn’t mean you will be shut out altogether.

The school has entered into an agreement with the National Federation of High Schools Network and the Pixellot company that produces sports competitions throughout the country to live stream XCP home games in volleyball, badminton, basketball, soccer and lacrosse on the school’s Web site,

And who will be watching?

“Fans from all over the planet. Now you will be able to see Xavier athletics from just about anywhere,’’ predicted long-time Xavier Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor.

Winsor said the Diocese of Phoenix is not allowing spectators for sporting events “at this time.’’ Only a limited number of essential personnel will be in attendance at the home games – that includes athletic trainers, scorer, timer, announcer and the XCP spirit lines.

Viewing will be by way of a subscription, be it for one specific event or an entire season. Winsor said fans will be able to pay by credit card, although the final fees have not been determined.

The installation of equipment has begun, with one pole that will have a video camera affixed to the top at Petznick Field for soccer (winter) and club lacrosse (spring). The location for the Activity Center will be on the south wall, behind the scorer’s table area, and the camera will serve as the eyes for badminton and volleyball (fall) and basketball (winter).

The new video camera pole that will be used to live stream events at Petznick Field, left, looms over the equipment truck (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

It is hoped that the equipment installation will be complete during the week of Sept. 14. Winsor and the athletic department staff hope that badminton and volleyball will have their first home games available on Sept. 22 (badminton vs. Phoenix Pinnacle) and Sept. 23 (volleyball vs. Scottsdale Chaparral).

Believe it or not, the genesis of the video system came in December of 2019, before the invasion of the COVID virus.

Winsor said regular school funds were used to purchase the system and it was obtained through the state athletic directors’ convention rate.

You have to make sure the pole is deep and secure in the ground.

“It seems that a lot of schools around the country were having good luck with it,’’ Winsor said. “We went to Sr. Joan (Fitzgerald, current Xavier President and former Principal) and she thought it would be a good idea, so we went ahead. It was strange how it all played out later. This is going to be exciting for us.’’

It is Winsor’s goal to live stream the freshman/sophomore and junior-varsity games in addition to the varsity.

So get ready to round up your laptops, grab a slice of pizza or some other culinary delight and your favorite soda, but please don’t spill. We want all the thrills to be during the games.

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