By Jeff Gagne, Images by J.R. Lawless
In this episode, reporter (and new Head of Digital Content) interviews two men on the front line in the SFL – the men who’s voices grab new community members by the ears and don’t let go. I’m talking about Commisioner, Cameron Irvine and Chicago Wildcat and broadcaster, Mikey Improta. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Calling Names on Draft Day
While he may not be building a team, he still plays a large role in the upcoming draft. The ‘Commish’ himself sits down with Jeff Gagne to talk about league growth, the changes to the draft due to that and a little about the actual draft night.
Jeff: Did you ever imagine the draft would grow to this size so quickly?
Cam: “We knew when we got the TV deal how big this league was going to get. How we grow and the challenges that come from growth are always unknowns – when you’re an industry leader in anything, you encounter unknowns all the time and pave the way for smoother rides ahead. But, we always believed this could be big and once a 7-round draft becomes the new normal like it is in the NFL, things will be a lot smoother.”
Jeff: The league reacted quickly to rookie concerns about the supplemental draft. Can you speak to how that process went from a league office perspective?
Cam: “I said a phrase for the first time on the ‘Weekly Heat‘ and i’m probably going to use it years from now, as it really rings true to my philosophy: ‘When failure is inevitable, don’t be afraid of change. When fear is unknown, don’t be afraid to fail.’ The league saw inevitable failure with the supplemental draft – in large part because the league did not anticipate so many people joining and getting involved after Season 14 ended. Those numbers pushed us to a place where the supplemental draft became far more important … too important for the system we built around it. Most of the time, the fear of the unknown prompts many requests for the league to act on, but if failure is not clear, change just to calm the fear of failure is not learning anything at all. It’s just teaching to give into that fear, which stunts true growth.”
Jeff: Bigger fear on draft night – being booed or saying a prospect’s name wrong?
Cam: “Absolutely, 100% getting the name wrong. This is their moment, their night. There is nothing more terrifying – especially on national television – then getting a name wrong. We will work to ensure that does not happen leading up to the draft. People boo in ignorance. I don’t think there’s anyone on this planet that could run the SFL better than me – and that’s not an arrogance thing, that’s a confidence thing. I believe in myself, my team and our community to always be on the right side of history, in success and failure.”
We are just over a week away now – join the SFL on June 21st to see where all of the SFLm prospects end up on draft week!
Chapter 2: The View from the Booth
They call the games, so what are their opinions on the games? They almost have free access to the All-22 view of the game. Next, Gagne sits down with broadcaster, Mikey Improta, to discuss the SFLm: what moment stood out the most to him and someone he feels made a great impact on the SFLm this season.
Jeff: You’ve called a lot of SFLm games. How do you feel about the product?
Mikey: “I feel the SFLm Product is excellent. I like it because it allows everyone coming into the league to be immediately involved. If you’re timing joining the SFL, is mid to late season in the Pro League – you don’t have to wait so long to see yourself on the field. You get to make an immediate impact. It engages you from the get-go, and It gives you a chance to get yourself “known” by the rest of the league . It also gives owners the opportunity to evaluate your player and your character.”
Jeff: Is there a moment from the SFLm season that stands out most to you?
Mikey: “The Moment of the Season that stands out to me most was the very first week of the season. It sticks in my mind because this was something that the league had never seen before and it was the beginning of something special to help the SFL expand it’s ‘World of Opportunity’ for the community to take advantage of and enjoy. It has really taken on a life of its own and i’m incredibly grateful to have had a small part in it.”
Jeff: If you had to pick a SFLm MVP, who would it be? Where do you see them going in the draft?
Mikey: “If I had to pick an SFLm MVP, I would select my Broadcast Partner Tim Hackett — I don’t see him going anywhere in the draft, but I would take him because of the person he is. Tim is a class act who brings passion and positivity like no other in the SFLm…and the SFL. He is a professional and a friend who has taken my enjoyment of the league to another level! Tim’s intangibles as a World-Class individual, by far, outweigh any on-field value a player brings. For me, that’s what the SFL & SFLm is all about. Making people strive to reach their potential, contributing intangibles to help the league succeed, and most importantly, creating friendships that will last forever. That’s what a REAL MVP is. That’s the definiton of Tim Hackett. He’s the True #1 Pick!”
A short episode this week, but no less important or down on quality. Gagne has a couple more episodes to put together before draft night, so if you want a quick but fascinating read, make sure you click those links!