Josh Stendts, a 17-year-old senior at Batavia High, is pretty impressed with the slide shows ESPN creates for its Web site, so a while back he tried his hand at creating one about the Buffalo Bills losing season. Friends and family liked it and started encouraging him to do one about the Blue Devils boys basketball team.
At first, he resisted the idea, but when Batavia beat Sutherland and went to 8-1, he got excited about the team's prospects for the season.
In past seasons, Batavia vs. Sutherland games "have had a lot of tension and produced exciting games," Josh said in an e-mail today. "When I heard the Blue Devils had won in Sutherland, I knew it was going to be a special season. No one, including myself, thought this team was going to be as successful as they ended up being. I stopped doubting the team when the Blue Devils defeated Sutherland."
Josh's dad was also pushing him to do a video about the Blue Devils.
There was problem, Josh had a song idea, but not enough pictures. When Batavia reached Sectionals, however, The Batavian started going to games and shooting and posting lots and lots of photos.
The song was Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," because, Josh said, it was fast and he could pack a lot of information about the team into the lyrics.
When he first uploaded the slide show, he didn't have all the pictures he would eventually include, but as more and more friends and fans saw the video, it began to become popular around the campus.
He continued to polish the effort.
"On March 12th, I put together a slide show with a few pictures," Josh wrote. "I finished a rough copy and posted it on YouTube. When I returned to school on Monday the 14th everyone, including the teachers, congratulated me on such a great video. My last class of the day on Monday was GYM and my teacher is Coach Brasky. As I entered the gym to check in, he immediately pointed at me and told me 'Great Job, unbelievable.'"
Buddy Brasky and Principle Chris Daily wanted to show the video at a pep rally on Friday, before the team left for the state championship games in Glens Falls.
"I was absolutely shocked and incredibly thankful for the opportunity," Josh said.
He did one more edit on the video and then handed it over to school officials to play at the rally.
"On Friday, the video was played in front of the entire school," according to Josh. "I was nervous about what everyone would think. As the video came to a close, I received a standing ovation from the entire auditorium, including the basketball team. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life."
Josh is definitely thinking about the idea of going into media production, but he's also interested in sports medicine. He says he has plenty to think about when he starts classed at GCC in the fall.
"I would like to sincerely thank everyone who was involved in making this video a success, Mr. Dailey and Mr. Mullen for allowing me to show the video at the assembly," Josh said at the close of his e-mail. "Mr. Bromley (Sports director) who e-mailed the video to all the teachers. All my family and friends who viewed the video, and a special thanks to The Batavian for giving me permission to use their pictures for the slide show."
The Batavian would like to thank Josh for using our pictures. That's a great honor. We did ask Josh to add credit to The Batavian in his video, and we are grateful that he readily agreed to so. Congratulations to Josh on such a great tribute to the Blue Devils. It's definitely a great piece of quality work.