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Belated Giving of Thanks: 2022

November 28, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The week before Thanksgiving is always an extra busy time for those of us in the ATVN studio.

Thanksgiving weekend is typically our first “full” week of state playoff games–which means contacting schools outside our coverage area.  (This sometimes creates for very interesting stories, as we have to prove ourselves to coaches that we have never met before that we are not spies nor trying to get “inside information” for the teams that they are going to face).

It’s also a “tricky” week because the schools are closed, at the very least, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and it creates a rush trying to get all these NEW schools’ information and compile everything in less days (and also try to have at least part of one day to spend with our families).

In any event, the item that often gets pushed to the back burner is the blog I like to write giving thanks to the many people I come in contact with throughout the year and those who are so incredibly helpful in assisting us bring local sports coverage to our viewers throughout the year.

And I DEFINITELY did not want to blow this off this year!

First of all, I want to thank the coaches, athletic directors, statisticians, administrators and all the people we deal with in preparing and producing our sports broadcasts.  It was great to get through a sports season without a single game canceled because of COVID, but that still doesn’t mean it was an “easy” year.

We’ve talked with quite a few local personalities on our “SportsTalk” show about all the things that they have had to deal with…from a shortage of bus drivers keeping kids from traveling to scheduled games to the lack of officials, which also causes games to be canceled or rescheduled.  These and other “new” issues have wreaked havoc with a “normal” fall, and many of these administrators have had to deal with many issues, while still trying to be super accommodating and as helpful to us in the media as they could possibly be.

Secondly, the people within our Astound family have been unbelievably helpful to me and our studio staff over this past year (and I hope they know who they are).  From promoting our sports programming to allowing me to bring in new voices to our on-air sports family (more on that in a minute) to allowing us to try new scheduling techniques (more on that next week).  We have been able to do a lot of great things this year.  PLUS, we are working on more new vehicles to enhance our local sports coverage over the next few months–details to follow soon!

Next, I’m very thankful for those new on-air staff members who have joined us over the last 12 months.  From a national Hall of Fame inductee and former ESPN announcer to a former Major League Baseball player…from one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in our area to a former Division-I standout football player who just a couple years ago was in NFL training camps…just a few of the new editions to our announcing staff.  We are still working on bringing in a few more new faces to our broadcasting lineup in the new year!

Lastly, I am thankful for the behind the scenes people at our ATVN studio.  For over 20 years now I’ve seen them do amazing work on our productions while bringing you all of our local sports and community programming.  But this year, they have overcome some incredible personal challenges–a couple have been made public, but most have not.  Trust me when I say that it has not been an “easy” last few months for these men and women, who continued to work through adversity while continuing to do their best this fall AND prepare for everything that is coming up as part of our winter schedule.

It may be a few days late in coming, but this year, more than ever, I am extremely grateful and very thankful for the people who I work with.  Hopefully, things can go a little “smoother” all the way around for our upcoming season.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Check back next week for more exciting news on upcoming projects for the Astound TV Network as we move into our winter season!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Final High School Football Poll 2022

November 21, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

It was an interesting fall season again here in 2022.

While there were definitely some surprises (as there usually are) as this season’s high school football season unfolded (with several teams still playing–and winning–as the state playoffs opened this past weekend).

But as is often the case, thanks to the time, effort and insights of our rotating selection of pollsters each autumn, we pretty much gave our audience a very accurate overview of who the top teams were in each league, both before, and throughout, the season.

Don’t believe us?

That’s fine, because we ALWAYS hold ourselves accountable and look back at our preseason polls before we unveil our final poll results.

So here we go with our pre-season polls posted online back in mid-August.

EPC-LV TOP 5 (PRESEASON POLL)

  1. Freedom
  2. Nazareth
  3. Parkland
  4. Emmaus
  5. Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

And here is how things ended up…

EPC-LV TOP 5 (FINAL)

  1. Parkland
  2. Freedom
  3. Nazareth
  4. Emmaus
  5. Central Catholic

In defense of selecting Nazareth ahead of Parkland, I would still say it was a good “pick” as the Blue Eagles lost their best player (and league “MVP”) Sonny Sasso the week before the playoffs started.  The Blue Eagles were the undisputed EPC-South Champions at the end of the regular season.  During the regular season, Nazareth beat Parkland (who did have several injured players at that time) but the Trojans returned the favor in the first round of the playoffs, when Sasso was the player who was sidelined.

While football is more than one person, there’s not a person in the Valley who would say this team was clearly not the same by losing their leader the week before.  It also didn’t help Nazareth’s cause by being paired with a surging Parkland team–one that had several injuries themselves during the regular season, but got healthy at just the right time.

*****

As for the Colonial League…

COLONIAL TOP 5 (PRESEASON)

  1. Northwestern
  2. Notre Dame-GP
  3. Northern Lehigh
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

And here are the final results…

COLONIAL TOP 5 (FINAL)

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Clearly, there weren’t too many surprises for our Colonial League poll-from start to finish.  In fact, the only other team that entered our poll at all, was (for two weeks) Saucon Valley, before losing several games in a row mid-season, including one to Southern Lehigh and fell back out of the poll.

While the teams did rotate spots throughout the fall, (especially when Northwestern beat Nolehi week two and Notre-Dame beat Northwestern week six, etc), our Colonial picks were as close to spot on as you could get.

Both Northwestern and Northern Lehigh ended up winning their respective district classifications, so it was appropriate that both schools ended 1 and 2 in our rankings–similar to the way they had started the year for our preseason poll back in August.

Thanks to all the people who participated in our polls for both their time and their insightful opinions throughout the football season.

Feel free to email me for your thoughts and check back to the SportsTalk Shop over the next several weeks as we recap the fall season in other sports and bring you the area’s “All-Star” lists as they become available to us.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Football Playoff ‘22 Polls: Week 3

November 14, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We had a great week of high school football playoff action last week!

While the weather continually altered plans leading up to last Thursday night’s action, it made for a bunch of entertaining (and rain-free) games over the last few days.

Considering:

  • The District XI 6A semifinal went down to the final position and a one-point win for Freedom
  • A 62-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left for a dramatic come-from-behind win in the District XI 2A championship game
  • A come-from-behind, one-point win by underdogs from Northwestern in the 3A semifinal
  • A 4A championship that was a 4-point game up until the final three minutes, and the losing team driving down the field for a third time in the fourth quarter–only to have each drive result in an interception

We talked last week about how it’s not easy to pick which games we can and cannot broadcast this time of year.  But in terms of excitement and entertaining ball games, there were clearly no other games that were as close nor any other contest that was settled by less than three scores by any of the other games in our coverage area!

Be on the lookout for this weekend’s broadcast schedule posted soon right here on our website

 *****

   Next up, here are highlights from some of our recent high school football broadcasts on ATVN…

  1.   Astounds Sports:  Emmaus vs. Nazareth (10/22)

  2. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Bethlehem Catholic (10/22)

  3. Astound Sports: Freedom vs. Bethlehem Catholic (10/22)

  4. Astound Sports: Nazareth vs. Whitehall (10/22)

*****

That brings us to this week’s input from the ATVN SportsTalk pollsters — a random (and rotating, each year) collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “crossover” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

With all that said, here are our second to last poll results for this fall’s high school sports season.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Emmaus
  3. Parkland
  4. Nazareth
  5. Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we the playoffs roll on.

 

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Football Playoff ‘22 Polls: Week 2

November 7, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football game highlights and poll results for teams in the ATVN viewing area, a quick heads-up regarding this weekend’s coverage on ATVN.

There will be a number of big playoff matchups coming your way on Friday night and Saturday. I have already been asked quite a bit over the last 24 hours which games we will broadcast this weekend, and, when you get to this time of year, there are always some tough decisions that have to be made.

This year is no exception and it’s even more of a difficult chore due to the high quality of the teams participating in this weekend’s playoff games and several other issues beyond our control. For Friday’s broadcast, we will have a rematch of last year’s District XI 6A title game – Emmaus versus Freedom, which also is a game featuring the two squads that nearly everyone in the area has been dubbing the top two teams in our region (both have also been ranked in statewide polls). On Saturday, with both games being played at a neutral site (Whitehall High School Stadium), we can cover both the 2A championship featuring Catasaqua and Executive Charter (both schools will be making their first appearances on ATVN this fall), followed by the 4A championship between Bethlehem Catholic and Allentown Central Catholic.

Unfortunately with so many games being played at the same time and at different sites, it is beyond our control to feature everyone this weekend. Hopefully, as many of our local teams keep winning as possible and we will have a chance to broadcast another one of the teams’ games that we will not be able to see this weekend.

Be advised that we will preview this weekend’s games on our Thursday “SportsTalk” show to feature all our local teams in action this weekend.

*****
Next up, here are highlights from some of our recent high school football broadcasts on ATVN…

1. Astound Sports: Northwestern Lehigh vs. Saucon Valley (9/22)

2. Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Bethlehem Catholic (9/22)

3. Astound Sports: Northampton vs. Bethlehem Catholic (10/22)

4. Astound Sports: Allentown Central Catholic vs. Nazareth (10/22)

5. Astound Sports: Bethlehem Catholic vs. Freedom (10/22)

*****
Last but not least, here are our poll results with two more weeks remaining in our “poll season.”

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Emmaus
  3. Parkland
  4. Northampton
  5. Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we the playoffs roll on.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Playoffs ’22 Storylines & Polls

October 31, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Before we take a look at this week’s high school football polls, here are a few of the storylines heading into this fall’s postseason action…

  • Can Freedom repeat its 2021 storyline…PLUS ONE?
    Last fall, the Patriots started the year losing two of its first three games before running the table through the remainder of its Lehigh Valley schedule, capturing a district title and coming within a whisker of upsetting a District 12 powerhouse.  Freedom has taken a similar course here in 2022, led by a great running back and solid defense.  IF it can win another title, can it also take the next step and win a state playoff game?
  • Can Northampton get over the “Southern Bump”?
    Northampton chose to play in the “north” division of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference a few years ago and played a much weaker schedule while setting school records in back-to-back seasons with new regular season win totals.  The gripe against the K-Kids’s success carries weight when they don’t beat teams from the southern division of the conference, but Northampton has proven itself with four wins over those teams in their last four tries.  Can they win one in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen?  Many insiders say this year’s team has the ability to do just that.
  • How will the expanded “3A” playoffs shake out?
    One of the changes to the District XI playoff structure this year involves adding more teams (and more playoff spots) to the 3A classification.  There’s a number of teams that had success, but with completely different styles.  Which team’s strengths will win out and which “side” of the district will bring home the gold medals this year? (there were no Lehigh Valley teams in last year’s 3A championship game).
  • Will it be an “All Lehigh Valley” 6A Championship game in three weeks?
    Another playoff change for this fall was the addition of a “sub-regional,” with teams from District 2 and District 4 competing for postseason spots with District XI.  Standings-wise, there were no non-Lehigh Valley teams in the top four spots, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see one of those teams going deep into the playoffs (anyone remember Nate Eachus from Hazelton?)  Any District XI team would be wise not to look past any “outsider” squads this fall.

We’ll be talking about these and other things to watch for as we embark on the playoffs this season (check out our website for our coverage schedule).  To further help you get ready for the local post-season action, we will have a special guest on this Thursday’s “SportsTalk” show. Former Easton Head Coach Steve Shiffert, one of the winning coaches in Pennsylvania history, still remains active watching and attending local games and will be a panelist on this week’s program to break down all the “film” from the regular season’s games.  He will be joining us to give his insights and predictions for many of this weekend’s big games.

You can email me, with your question or comment about local football and we may read it on this Thursday’s program at 7pm on the Astound TV Network.

Also, be sure to tune in this weekend for ATVN’s coverage of the first round of the playoffs!

*******

Additionally, a big “thank you” to our friends from the Pennsylvania Cable Network for selecting ATVN to broadcast our feed of last Friday’s Parkland/Emmaus game to a statewide audience!

It’s always an honor when they select a station to broadcast their “game of the week”. To have the rare distinction of being asked to do it twice in eight weeks (something that hadn’t occurred in my 20-plus years working in the cable television industry) was truly a reflection of the outstanding work by our ATVN sports crew members.

The ladies and gentlemen manning the cameras and all the technical positions in the production trucks did their usual stellar job for both games we broadcast on PCN this fall.  The teams also accommodated us for both contests by giving the Commonwealth audience good, competitive contests that were fun to broadcast!

********

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Nazareth
  3. Emmaus
  4. Northampton
  5. Parkland 

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Northwestern
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we the playoffs roll on.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

“Regular Season Finale” Polls

October 24, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

There’s a lot to talk about on this week’s “SportsTalk” show this Thursday at 7pm on the Astound TV Network and we have a special guest to do it with us.

ATVN’s Okezie Alozie, who has been busy working the sidelines for us most weeks on our high school football broadcasts, will be on to talk about his new career with us, his thoughts on the high school football season, early predictions on the playoff possibilities as well as sharing his own experiences and “things to watch for” in this weekend’s Freedom/Liberty game (Okezie is a former standout running back / linebacker from Freedom HS who will also be broadcasting with me this Saturday).

Alozie will also talk about broadcasting last week’s game for us, which included many of his Patriots fans welcoming him back to his former home field, Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.

You can email me with your question or comment about local football and we may read it on this Thursday’s program. 

*******

We have had a number of great sports broadcasts over the last month, including last Friday’s latest chapter in the Bethlehem Rivalry series, featuring Freedom beating Bethlehem Catholic 24-13.

Here are highlights of some of our recent broadcasts on the Astound TV Network:

  1. Astound Sports: Easton vs. Allentown Central Catholic (9/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Nazareth (9/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Freedom (9/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Allentown Central Catholic  (9/22)

 

It’s a busy weekend for us coming up as we will broadcast the “last chapter” in this year’s “Battle of Bethlehem,” which features not just the Liberty and Freedom football teams but the biggest halftime band spectacular, complete with all of Bethlehem’s junior schools’ bands participating with the high schools’ musical groups.  It is a great event that we invite you to see in person at least once in your life, but if you can’t make it to the game this year, be sure to check it out this Saturday at 7pm on ATVN.

Preceding that will be one of the biggest high school regular season contests of the year–not just in the Lehigh Valley, but in all of Pennsylvania.  ATVN will broadcast Parkland versus Emmaus live on our network, plus our production will once again air on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, available to all residents in the Commonwealth.  (FYI: this will be the first time in PCN’s history that any one cable television station (us!) broadcasts TWO “games of the week” in one season for them.

********

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Nazareth
  3. Emmaus
  4. (tie)  Northampton / Parkland 

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Southern Lehigh
  3. Northwestern
  4. Notre Dame-GP

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we embark on the playoffs.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Amirah Moody

October 20, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

This is our annual “parade” week here at the Astound TV Network. Our crew members are busy providing coverage of local Halloween activities and community events to our viewers. This is also the week where our SportsTalk show, and our weekly high school football polls, take a week off.

However, this is a special week as we would like to introduce the newest member of the ATVN Sports staff. Amirah Moody is a former high school standout now in college and will be starting to take on several different roles within our broadcasting family.

  Today, she takes over the keyboard here at “The Shop” and shares a bit of information about herself and her views on how participating in sports has played a role in her life.

******

Ten years ago, I played volleyball for the first time, not knowing this would be the sport that would help shape me into the person I am today. My mom was my coach and she taught me the basics of volleyball: how to pass, set, underhand serve, not to fear the ball, and to have fun. She introduced me to the sport I love to play and that has become so integrated into my life. I played soccer and basketball for a few years, tried out dance and gymnastics, but nothing stuck or felt right like when I was playing volleyball.

During high school I realized that volleyball is not about how strong or how fast you are, it’s about your mindset and you must have a strong mentality when playing the game. I graduated from Bethlehem Catholic and played for them all four years. I was nervous trying out for the high school team, so nervous and scared I would make a mistake. This caused me to make millions of mistakes and all I could think about were the mistakes I was making. My high school coach told us to shake off our mistakes and I started to learn how to have a “next ball mentality”.

My attitude shifted from self-deprecation to self-actualization, and I try to always remember that volleyball is a game of mistakes, but it is all about what you do with that mistake. Do you stress about that one mistake and become fearful of making another one, or do you think about how you can do better for the next ball? By understanding this, it not only helped me as an individual player and the teams I was a part of but this “next ball mentality” also helps me in school and everyday life.

Everyone makes mistakes; being able to learn from them and move forward is the best way to handle them.

Being a student athlete in the Lehigh Valley gives you a lot of connections to coaches, both high school and college; trainers; and players from other schools; which broadens the opportunities and experiences you could have in the future. I have had opportunities to help coach at local summer camps, guest play for local travel teams, had babysitting jobs for local coaches, provided individual training to young up-and- coming volleyball players; the list goes on and on.

Now I am a senior at Muhlenberg College, and my current head coach is the same coach I had when I was 14 years old playing travel club volleyball for CrossCourt Volleyball Club. I feel privileged to have had Coach Rob as a coach at the beginning of my competitive volleyball career and now also during my last competitive year playing my senior year in college. While attending and playing at college, I have been offered so many opportunities and endured many experiences that helped shape the person I am today.

Throughout my ten years of playing volleyball, I had many coaches, all with different coaching styles and personalities. These differences helped me, as my coaches have all been people I look up to and who have helped me learn how to work with different types of people. I had the opportunity to coach volleyball for CrossCourt Volleyball Club the past three years and it was an amazing experience. I knew who I wanted to be as a coach because of the coaches I had throughout my career. I learned a lot as a coach the last three years and my love for volleyball grew even more. Looking into the future, I will continue to coach and help young volleyball players learn the life lessons I have learned over the years while also playing the game they love!

*******

Please join us in welcoming Amirah to our communications family!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

Football Polls & Tennis Honors

October 11, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Before we take a look at our high school football poll this week, we’d like to spotlight one of the sports that doesn’t get nearly as much attention.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference recently conducted its fall championship tournament (hats off to Allen High School Athletic Director Randy Atiyeh for taking over the chair of this position and running a smooth tournament!).

The first round of the district was also held this past week (chaired by Catasauqua’s Tom Moll).

Here are the final brackets of all the champions in the different categories of this fall’s events…

 

******

It certainly was an interesting weekend of HS football on ATVN last weekend.  This weekend should be another good pairing as we have a battle of the #1 and #3 teams in our poll facing off against each other on Friday night.  We also have a suddenly streaking Parkland team playing a Bethlehem Catholic squad that, when on their game, have played very well this year.

Before we look at this week’s high school football polls….. first, here are the details on our polls if you are new to our blog.

We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are breaking the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the Astound broadcast area.  With the Colonial teams cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “crossover” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Emmaus
  2. Freedom
  3. Nazareth
  4. Northampton
  5. Parkland

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Southern Lehigh
  4. Notre Dame-GP

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

 

Be sure to check back to our website for our weekly polls and check our upcoming broadcast information frequently for any changes for our ongoing sports schedule throughout the fall season.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Polls Week 6: Colonial’s Turn

October 3, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

First of all, my thanks to the people who approached me this past week thanking us at ATVN for featuring the Colonial League last week on our broadcasts.

I’ve heard workers with vast experience in customer relations say that people will not hesitate to approach you with concerns or issues they are having, but it takes a lot to get people to take the time to give praise when you do something they like.

If that theory is true, we must have made a lot of people happy last week!

The Astound TV Network featured a pair of Colonial League teams–Northwestern and Saucon Valley–as our featured Friday night live game.  We also devoted most of last week’s SportsTalk show to discussing issues in the Colonial-Schuylkill “co-op.”

It was our pleasure to feature those teams and talk about the outstanding players in that league (as well as talk about a very competitive league playoff race shaping up).  It is our hope to focus on those teams even more going forward and we hope to see some of these teams go far in the state playoffs!

Sadly, we also had to send some time on last week’s program talking about more tragedies in high school sports–and in our viewing area in particular.

So far already this school year, we have lost two scholastic athletes who died because of senseless crimes committed (at Whitehall and Allen high schools) and a teacher’s aide (at Dieruff High School) killed because of reckless driving.

There have been several football programs in Pennsylvania that have canceled their seasons due to  “undisclosed reasons,” which unfortunately usually occurs when kids (allegedly) commit acts so over-the-line that the school must take quick action as punishment and perform lengthy investigations.

Other schools are canceling sports programs due to lack of interest and not being able to field enough students to participate.  Also, we’ve had a couple reports of students (who happen to be on sports teams) bringing guns to school.

Meanwhile, many games are getting scrapped or rescheduled due to a desperate lack of officials.  At last week’s District XI press conference, instead of leading off with information on the new playoff formats or some of the other positive things going on in high school sports, a good amount of time was spent by local administrators begging for more people to get involved in local sports to referee or umpire games.

We are going to start seeing some rather drastic changes to scheduling local sports playoff games soon–due mostly because there simply aren’t enough officials to have games being played at their “normal” times.

I myself have had several opportunities a number of years ago to decide on whether I wanted to work in the sports or news areas of communications–and I picked the former because I really didn’t want to deal with all the negativity that comes with the latter.

Unfortunately, sports on many levels is dealing more with “news-related” types of stories right now, and it has certainly darkened what once was a very promising local sports season.

Hopefully things change around very soon.  I would love to spend more time on the positive things going on in our viewing area and deeply hope we don’t have any more tragic events affecting our sports communities for a long time to come!

******

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Emmaus
  2. Freedom
  3. Nazareth
  4. Central Catholic
  5. Northampton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Notre Dame-GP
  2. Northwestern
  3. Northern Lehigh
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

 

Be sure to check back to our website for our weekly polls and check our upcoming broadcast information frequently for any changes for our ongoing sports schedule throughout the fall season.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Mimi Griffin & Weekly Polls

September 26, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

If you are a sports fan, you probably have heard the name Mimi Griffin before.

If you haven’t, here are just some of her accomplishments as listed on the “bio page” of inductees on the National Collegiate Athletic Associations’ Hall of Fame website:

  • Griffin is considered to be the first broadcast expert for women’s basketball
  • She served as the “face” for women’s basketball in its early television exposure and laid the foundation and groundwork for women’s basketball on television
  • She was the National Director of Promotion for Women’s Athletics for Converse from 1983-85
  • Griffin was the ESPN primary women’s basketball analyst from 1983-1999 and was the color analyst for the NCAA Women’s Final Four from 1985-1991
  • In 1990, she was the first woman color analyst for a NCAA men’s tournament game on ESPN.
  • In 1991, she became the first woman to broadcast the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on CBS Sports
  • Griffin was the Championship Director of the US Senior Open in 1992, 2000, and 2022 and was the Championship Director of the US Women’s Open in 1995 and 2009
  • She was the Director of Marketing and Championship Administration for the US Open in 1995 and 1998
  • She was the 1994 WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Award winner
  • In 2009, Griffin was named one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” by Pennsylvania Governor and the Department of Community and Economic Development

And now, she is joining ATVN!

Enshrined in the NCAA’s Hall of Fame in 2014, Mimi is joining our sports family as an announcer and will be giving her valuable expertise and vast basketball insights on our winter sports broadcasts.

I have had the pleasure of working with Mimi for a number of years–first back in 2009 when she was the Championship Director for the US Women’s Open held at Saucon Valley Country Club.

Our paths crossed again this summer when her organization successfully presented this year’s US Senior Open held at the same location.

Mimi has always been one of the most professional and successful people that I have had the pleasure of meeting, working with and interviewing on several occasions.  She also has a passion for basketball and for promoting student-athletes successes – a trait that many of our current ATVN announcers also possess and look to do each time they put on the microphones.  

While Mimi is still the CEO of her own business, MSG Productions, whose responsibilities include producing and overseeing major golf championships across the country, she is excited about the opportunity to get back into the broadcasting industry.

We are very lucky to have her join our staff…and our viewers will be fortunate to have one of the world’s greatest basketball minds giving analysis on our broadcasts this winter.

Keep checking back to “The SportsTalk Shop” as we unveil more news about our sports coverage and additions to our ATVN Sports family in the coming weeks!

*****

Below we have our weekly high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Emmaus
  2. Freedom
  3. Nazareth
  4. Central Catholic
  5. Northampton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Notre Dame-GP
  2. Northwestern
  3. Northern Lehigh
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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