ELSM Staff Writer: Katie Burger
Chapel Hill, NC – With the sole intention to help those in a time of devastation, SUNY Oneonta was able to edge out their competition in the 2011 Best of Brand Awards, winning the Solid Service Video category. The Red Dragon’s Head Coach, Duane Ritter, explained his program’s connection to service and the multitude of ways their hard work had an impact.
As a result of Hurricane Irene, massive flooding occurred throughout the south eastern part of New York, causing unbelievable amounts of damage to homes. The weekend following the hurricane, the Red Dragons tripped to Schoharie, NY in order to help gut the house of a 90-year-old resident. Their video, Payin’ It Forward, not only documented their grueling day of clearing out the house and ripping it down to bare bones, but also allowed members of the team to describe the project in their own words. Team captain, Jimmy Neal explained, “Once we got out here, you can’t help but want to help.”
For one wrestler, John Nolis, the project hit very close to home, as his own house had been flooded by the hurricane. The next two weekends in a row, the team went out to do major demolition and reconstruction on the Nolis’ house. “I know exactly what it’s like for these people to go through this and what it’s like to get the help,” says Nolis in a short segment of the video. Unquestionable team support shines through each shot of the wrestlers shoveling out bucket loads of soaked drywall and debris.
Emotional content aside, Oneonta’s video stood out because of its clear and creative filmography which allowed the viewer to experience the day from both audience and insider perspectives. The music underscored feelings of both tragedy and hope, while the overall editing offered a well-defined representation of program’s goals and brand.
This service work not only saved two families thousands of dollars, but also acted as an emotionally rewarding experience for players, as well as helped in branding the program as one of a dedicated family. Coach Ritter explained, “It’s my hope the real reward was the lifelong lesson my wrestlers took away from the entire flood relief experience by giving to those who had truly lost everything.”
The Red Dragons are competing again this year in the 2012 Best of Brand Awards: Collegiate Division. To follow their season, visit their social media sites:
Oneonta State Wrestling on Facebook
And to view SUNY Oneonta’s winning video, visit the Best of Brand page on the Elite Level Sports Marketing website.