I just signed the contract: I will be doing video work for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants again this season. This is a fun organization to work for and I am looking forward to the new season, which starts the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is the sixth season for the Mad Ants and my sixth season working for them, which puts me in a select group of people who have been with the team from the beginning. In the preceding five years, I worked 120 games without missing a single one.
My position is the game videographer: that involves recording the entire game and producing a DVD for use by the coaches and referees: this DVD must be available shortly after the game, usually within about 12-20 minutes. For the first three years, I also recorded the game to DVCam tape and shipped it to the NBA offices for them to digitize for their video department, but that changed in the fourth season to a strictly Internet connection; it also meant that I became the middle camera (with two end cameras) of an Internet broadcast feed.
The Mad Ants are in the NBA Development League, the “AAA farm teams” of the NBA, which serves both as a resource and development tool for new players and a place for established players of affiliated teams to rehabilitate themselves after recovery from injuries. The Mad Ants themselves are affiliated with four teams: originally it was just the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, both for geographic and historical reasons, but later the Milwaukee Bucks and then the Charlotte Hornets were added as other Development League teams entered into exclusive affiliations and even ownership and management arrangements with NBA teams. Affiliations means the NBA team may send players to the Mad Ants, but the D-League players may be called up to any interested team.
Trivia. the Mad Ants are named for the founder of the city of Fort Wayne, General Anthony “Mad Anthony” Wayne. General Wayne was one of General Washington’s most dependable commanders during the Revolutionary War. After two disastrous military expeditions into the Northwest Territory, President Washington called upon Wayne to lead the next expedition, which led to a treaty with the Miami Indian tribal leader Little Turtle and the founding of the military fort named for him, Fort Wayne. The city has kept the name although the fort eventually became unnecessary.
Trivia: the Detroit Pistons were not named directly because of Detroit’s connection with automobiles. They were originally the Fort Wayne Pistons, owned by Fort Wayne businessman Fred Zollner, owner of the Zollner Pistons manufacturing company. Fred Zollner was very supportive of amateur and professional sports, including softball and basketball. He was also the responsible for the foundation of the NBA, as he convinced the owners of the American Basketball Association league and the National Basketball League to merge to form the National Basketball Association at a meeting in Fort Wayne; for that, he was named “Mr. Pro Basketball” at the Silver Anniversary NBA All-Star Game in 1975.