Gryphons on the microphone


Photo courtesy of Greenhills School

THE SQUARE ROOT OF MAGIC Austin Andrews ‘23 and Nicholas Alumkal ‘23 commentating a football game in the press box at Michigan Stadium, “We offered an entertaining solution to people who couldn’t make it to the games, especially during the pandemic,” said Alumkal.

Chakor Rajendra '23, School Editor

Nicholas Alumkal ‘23 and Austin Andrews ‘23 are both fiends for stat sheets and player and game analysis.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve been organizing sports trivia or other activities for me and my friends,” said Andrews. “I would even invent new sports for us to play.”

Coming into high school, Andrews would attend most sports games, especially basketball and volleyball games and found a passion in reporting.

“I would often find myself giving a play by play to my friends while watching the game,” said Andrews. “They suggested I look into making it more official.”

Andrews was able to put forth concrete action to his goals and gained access to the public announcements system at some volleyball games.

“It was a great opportunity for me to show what I could do in the world of broadcasting,” said Andrews. “I seized the chance and this allowed me to open doors to future opportunities in other sports.”

Andrews was not the only one with a passion for sports broadcasting, as his classmate Nicholas Alumkal ‘23 came into high school hoping to be able to broadcast in the arena of high school sports.

“I had a passion for sports journalism and broadcasting coming into ninth grade, and I think at some point I shared that, maybe it was in an integrated public speaking speech or something,” said Alumkal. “Austin heard that and caught on and approached me asking if I was interested in teaming up with him.”

It started off as just the two of them trying to make it work with a computer and a pen and a pad of paper.

“We didn’t have much knowledge about how to broadcast so we mainly used trial and error,” said Andrews. “Half the time it didn’t work, we would have a ton of technical difficulties, but we got through it and that was our first taste.”

When the pandemic hit, it seemed like broadcasting was under wraps for Andrews and Alumkal, but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 

“A lot of parents weren’t allowed to watch the games because of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Alumkal. “We offered a live streamed solution where we would do play by play and commentating which was a great way for us to gain experience and a following.”

Coming into this year, the duo was much more experienced and knowledgeable about the operations of their day to day.

“We figured out a lot of kinks,” said Alumkal. “We really became just a well oiled machine.”

As they gained traction and became more popular at games, they saw more interest from other students in sports broadcasting.

“Over the summer we decided to start Gryphon Sports Live or the Greenhills Broadcasting Club,” said Andrews. “We put it on at the club fair and we had a lot of people come up to us.”

The club began to grow and change in ways Andrews and Alumkal never expected.

“We got a lot of interest in the club fair, not just for commentating,” said Alumkal. “People were interested in photography, videography, stats people, media relations, and photo editing as well as other things.”

The Greenhills Broadcasting Club now has over two dozen  committed members who meet every Thursday, many of whom have future aspirations in the sports broadcasting business.

Nick and I want to just grow it as much as possible and leave it with a legacy after we graduate,” said Andrews. “For me personally, it’s something that I am very passionate about and interested in and is definitely something that I will be looking to pursue in college and maybe even beyond that, and I know Nick feels the same way.”

Alumkal is known  for his creative use of similes, metaphors, references, and word choices in sports broadcasting, and he cites this as a pillar for his success.

“As a color commentator I like to fittingly try to add some color to describe the play since a lot of the time it’s a radio broadcast and you can’t see the play,” said Alumkal. “I like to try to use juicy language to describe the play, so I have this collection of sayings and similes and metaphors I have come up with over the years. I just keep adding to my repertoire and some of them I use over and over again.”

Alumkal has an extensive list of sayings, each more creative than the last, but he still has some favorites.

“Just off the top of my head I think of ‘cool as the seeds inside the cucumber’ or ‘cool as the underside of my pillow,’”said Alumkal. “Another one of my favorites is ‘as sharp as a porcupine’s backside.’”

For many, these sayings add the color that the Gryphon Sports Live group is looking for, while some are left puzzled by the language used.

“I remember a post or a comment they made about the basketball team a little while back,” said Charles Branch ‘24. “He said some weird stuff, and I was like ‘What is a nurdling cat burglar? What is a jumping jack flash?’”