Geneseo enters the ‘Green Zone’

Amy Carton
Green Zone Sports members Ryan Zum Mallen (back to camera) and Grant Burress (second from left) films a segment of Sports Tips with Grant Burress.

What started as just an idea was turned over to five friends who made it a reality and Green Zone Sports was born.

The five friends behind Geneseo’s first sports show are: Grant Burress, Dylan Dale, Tyler Ford, Hunter Kuffel and Ryan Zum Mallen.

“Mr. (Travis) Mackey contacted Dylan Dale and myself at the end of our junior year and asked us what we thought about a sports show for Geneseo sports,” said Zum Mallen. “Mr. Mackey gave us some ideas for what it should contain and how to present it, but we filmed it and put together the episodes.”

“Mr. Mackey had a meeting about starting a sports management club and mentioned he wanted to start a Sportscenter-like show to broadcast on YouTube,” said Kuffel. “I have been friends with Ryan for 10 years now, and he asked if I wanted to be involved as a host and we went from there.”

“Ryan and Mr. Mackey brought the idea to us, and my idea for a segment was to give helpful tips on sports and that is how ‘Sports Tips with Grant Burress’ came about,” said Burress.

“I wasn’t a part of it from the beginning, but got pulled in early in the year when they were looking for more people to be a part of it,” said Ford.

“Mr. Mackey came to Ryan and I because we had a lot of background doing movies together, and before the sports management club I was in the radio club and did basketball games for radio,” said Dale.

Producing videos isn’t new to this group as most of them have been involved in a number of the movies Zum Mallen has made in his free time.

“I am not sure what started the videos, but I became friends with Ryan and he asked me to come over and make one. It was really fun and I have been doing it ever since,” said Burress.

The Green Zone Sports crew produced the show in Zum Mallen’s basement where they used a green screen and two card tables with a green sheet, which were turned into the broadcast area, two chairs and a camera.

“I’ve always liked sports, I have been in some of our silly YouTube videos for fun and I enjoyed those, and all my friends were doing it,” said Kuffel. “It was fun to have fun with my friends, and a good way to get the word out about Geneseo sports.”

“It was a really fun time, and part of the cool thing was in a few classes the videos would get posted and kids would compliment us on them,” said Ford. “To be a part of that was neat. It was fun to get to experience being an anchor.”

“It was fun since nobody before us had done this we got to shape it and do what we wanted to do,” said Dale.

The time the five guys had to commit to the project was a lot from spending time at sporting events filming clips, filming segments on Sundays and “Sports Tips with Grant Burress” during the week to numerous hours editing the segments.

“One of the hardest parts was finding time to do the show with everyone being involved in a number of activities,” said Zum Mallen. “The best part was getting to produce a show that other people enjoyed. I also got to make it with all of my best friends.”

“My favorite part was going to school and having people come up and say they saw Green Zone Sports,” said Kuffel. “We weren’t taking ourselves too seriously, which was the best part. We could do something informative, but also find a way to be silly.”

“I really liked getting to meet people that I wouldn’t normally talk to all the time at school,” said Burress. “I now know them on a more personal level and know what their sports are about. The fun part was we had full control, which showed (the school) really trusted us to make it appropriate and also entertaining. It is amazing to think they had confidence in us.”

“What I enjoyed most was probably the fun we had filming the episodes,” said Ford. “I was one of the worst ones for getting my lines right the first time, but Ryan was able to tolerate it and put together a good product.”

“Ever since I was little, I always liked watching Sportscenter, so I enjoyed bringing sports to the local area,” said Dale. “It was always fun and we joked around.”

When the guys look back they realize they started something new at Geneseo High School, and all five hope Green Zone Sports is something that will continue for years to come.

“I am very proud of the work we did over the year,” said Zum Mallen. “I think we are extremely lucky to have a school that would support this and ask us to do it. I am really happy Mr. Mackey talked to Dylan and I and we were able to make an unique thing.”

“It is interesting to watch the first episode and the last episode because no one knew what path it would take,” said Kuffel. “You can definitely tell in the last episode we had done it before and the first one we were feeling our way around. I am very proud of where it ended up.”

“I am glad Green Zone Sports got to the level it did, and I am not surprised because we had great community support,” said Burress.

“I am little surprised because, at the beginning when I joined, I was a little skeptical, and I am really surprised we got a following,” said Ford. “I am pretty proud of what we were able to do. It was students filming and doing it, then other students took interest and I am happy with what we were able to do.”

“To a degree I was surprised because I thought Green Zone Sports had the potential to be seen by quite a few people, and it was cool when it turned out that way,” said Dale.

As for their hopes for Green Zone Sports, all five would like to see the program continue and form its own legacy.

“I am really glad that we did this,” said Zum Mallen. “A lot of the guys were interested in sports broadcasting and this was a great opportunity. I really enjoyed it. This helped me realize what it would be like to do this for a living, and I had a great time. We got to represent Geneseo sports, which was awesome.”

“I certainly hope it can be continued because I really think it is a great thing,” said Kuffel. “There are not a lot of athletic directors who would sponsor something like this. I hope they can get more people involved and the interest remains. What we’ve done and how it came about is a testament to how many opportunities there are at Geneseo.”

“If it does continue that would be great,” said Burress. “To think back that we would be the first ones and pave the trail and it would be really cool to see it carry on for years.”

“Any time you can start something from scratch and do something new, it is definitely cool to say I was a part of first group and started that,” said Ford. “It was a fun time and I really enjoyed doing it. I hope others continue it on.”

“I think it will definitely carry on,” said Dale. “I would like to see the coaches get more involved and do interviews with the people doing Green Zone. I think it would be cool to talk to the coaches.”

“The goal is to continue Green Zone Sports, but it might be hard to do it at the same level of what those guys supplied us with,” said athletic director Travis Mackey. “It should inspire others to replicate.”

Green Zone Sports can be viewed on YouTube and links are available on the Geneseo High School Athletics Web site.

This fall, Zum Mallen will be attending DePaul University, Chicago to study digital cinema. Kuffel will be attending the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind. to study finance. Burress will be attending Black Hawk College. Ford will be going to Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa and majoring in journalism. Dale will be attending Iowa State University and is considering studying journalism or marketing.