Copyright 2017 Bangor Daily News
Bangor Daily News (Maine)
AUGUSTA, Maine -- Some might consider an administrator looking in on a class, offering live public comment about the students and the instructor, the height of micromanagement.
But when it comes to Mary Nadeau's play-by-play television coverage of the boys and girls basketball teams from Nokomis Regional High School of Newport, it has little to do with critique and everything to do with sharing her students' experiences with the communities she serves.
Nadeau also is the school's principal.
"She will totally defend us and she is Warrior Nation through and through," said Nokomis girls basketball coach Michelle Paradis, whose team plays Skowhegan in Wednesday's 2:30 p.m. regional semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
"She's all for Nokomis, but if it's black it's black, if it's white it's white, and she's going to tell you how it is, no matter if you want to hear it or not.
"It's great, and people love it. They want to hear that," Paradis said.
Nadeau announces for Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting, a club stemming from a popular class at the school taught by Matt Brown. It has provided live coverage of such school events as sports, concerts, JROTC ceremonies, graduations, assemblies and budget meetings for nearly two decades.
Events are broadcast on a local-access TV channel in the Newport area through Time Warner Cable and are available on the video-sharing website Vimeo.
As many as 20 students at the school are involved in various aspects of the productions, including announcing, camera work and production.
So is Nadeau, who has been at the school for some 25 years as a teacher, coach and now as its leader.
Her love of sports and of Nokomis drew her to join the broadcast team once she turned from teaching and coaching to administration. Since then, Nadeau has been provided periodic play-by-play for sports, including field hockey, football, basketball and softball.
"I really love all sports, and I like to talk," Nadeau said. "It started with field hockey because I coached field hockey, and not a lot of people know a lot about field hockey so it made sense for me to do the play-by-play and help fans with that. Then it was winter, and I had coached then, too, so I said, 'Yeah, I'll do some basketball.'
"The neat opportunity for me is when I get to work with students doing this. The camera crew is students, and they'll talk to me through the headsets, and sometimes we have students directing and they get a big kick out of it when they get to call me by my first name. It's really just been a fun way for me to stay active and involved with what the kids are doing -- and I'm a sports lover, I have to admit it."
Nadeau also admits to a Nokomis slant to her presentations. You might consider her the Johnny Most of the Newport triangle.
"I'm really pretty biased about our students, so it's really easy for me to find the positives and celebrate the successes of our kids," she said. "But I also try to acknowledge what our opponents are doing and what they're doing well, and I think like any sports fan I try to be particularly mindful of my editorial comments about officiating. I think I do a pretty good job with that, but once in a while I can get like other fans who get wound up about a play."
The basketball broadcasts also serve as game films for the Nokomis teams, complete with Nadeau's voiceovers.
"She's pretty good about it," Sidney Moore, a senior captain on the girls basketball team, said. "She's always yelling for us on the monitor like, 'Yes, she just hit a shot!' She is definitely a homer."
Yet there's an inevitable frankness about Nadeau's interpretation of what she sees.
"It's hysterical because there is no sugar-coating with her," Paradis said. "Flat-out whatever is in her mind comes out, so when we watch game film as a team, the whole team will be hysterically laughing because she's so honest about what she sees."
Nadeau's perspective from the broadcast booth routinely transcends the on-court action.
With her time of service she has so much history with Nokomis that when she broadcasts the games she can give insight on families and the historical nature of the sport, different siblings who have played for the teams, things like that," Nokomis athletic administrator Mark Babin said. "She brings a lot of history and knowledge of all the sports to the broadcasts, and I think a lot of people who watch appreciate it."
Nadeau also stresses linking the teams to the community, the present players to the past and current achievements to previous watershed moments for the programs she's monitoring.
"I've been at the school for 25 years, so I try to shed some insight on different historical aspects of the teams and former players," she said.
Brown said NWB has televised approximately 30 Nokomis boys and girls basketball games this winter and Nadeau estimates she has been involved in about a dozen broadcasts, often in tandem with student announcers.
"The part the kids are most timid about trying is the announcing, so I often really try to find kids and encourage and tell them, 'Don't worry, I'll help you. I'll set you up and we'll be fine.' I try to help build their confidence," she said.
Nadeau believes providing students the opportunity to test themselves in activities outside the classroom, be it playing basketball or broadcasting it, is a vital part of any school's identity, and that's why she's so willing to serve as a first-person example.
"I think interscholastic activities are an important part of the high school experience," she said. "We had an assembly today, and I told the kids that it didn't need to be sports, but don't just be a student. You're missing out on half the high school experience if you're not involved in something."