During the 2014-2015 school year a Lowell High School Athletic Department initiative lead to the creation of Red Arrow Athletics, a dedicated website to Red Arrow sports. The site offers updates Lowell High School (LHS) on sports, historic data, and even the local weather report.
Information In, Information Out
Red Arrow Athletics was created with Varsity News Network, a start-up company at the time out of Grand Rapids which has since garnered national visibility. Red Arrow Athletics focuses on LHS sports. It’s overseen by Dee Crowley, LHS Athletic Director but much of the work is done by Justin Scott and Joel Fritsma. Coaches also help with providing information but Scott and Fritsma make sure the website is up to date. “With the help of Justin, Joel and coaches, the website has grown in viewership–it has ranked in the top 20 of Michigan athletic sites for most of the 2016-17 season.” says Crowley who also authors some of the site’s articles.
Justin Scott had already created and was managing most of the athletic pages for the high school on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as a high school student when the Red Arrow Athletics website launched. Currently a sports marketing and sports management double major at Western Michigan University, he has proven work on the website to be beneficial on a personal and professional level. A positive outcome is also felt in the athletic department with an electronic trend and social media becoming the way to stay informed. Red Arrow fans are able to have up to date, real-time game information at their fingertips without waiting for an online article to be written or a weekly print recap of sporting events to appear.
Scott, Fritsma, and Crowley team up to make sure the latest information is available. If one of them is not in attendance during a game they utilize LHS radio station WRWW, team coaches, or students in the stands to keep apprised of game happenings so they can provide updates.
Justin Scott may be a LHS graduate but his love of Red Arrow sports remains. His current project for the site has been working on compiling historical data for all LHS sports teams. “I want to create a place where there is the complete collection of pictures, records, statistics, and information on Red Arrow athletics dating back to the start of the sports to the present. This is a single place you can go online where everything is there.” says Scott of his efforts. It’s a huge undertaking but Scott is up to the task.
Joel Fritsma, the student athletics assistant and currently a junior at LHS, began working with Scott as a freshman. Fritsma has learned about taking and editing videos, creating graphics, and other aspects of the site from Scott. He also manages Joel’s Weather Corner where a weekly forecast is provided. In recent months the weather page has been rising in popularity.
Fritsma found a love for meteorology when he was in first grade. “Mrs. Hughes, had each person be the weatherman each day and/or week. See suggested, after seeing how everyone handled the position, that I was the one who stood out above the rest. That suggestion has stuck like glue in the back of my mind to this day.” he recalls. Fritsma has been able to develop skills using video and graphics in addition to reaching out to the public with the meteorology section of Red Arrow Athletics.
Many are familiar with his snow day predictions where he either gives hope or crushes dreams for a snow day throughout the winter. Fritsma will continue in his weatherman role through his senior year before going to Grand Rapids Community College and then Central Michigan University to study meteorology.
A Team Effort
Although Red Arrow Athletics has secured numerous fans, those working behind the scenes on the website and tweeting updates are eager to extend their reach to more individuals within community as well as LHS graduates who have moved out of the area..
Fritsma will begin his last year at LHS in the fall. While no one will be able to take his place, another student assistant will be needed to carry the torch. Other students are welcome to inquire about being a member of a social media team as Red Arrow Athletics grows.
Justin Scott is one of the first to praise Fritsma’s work saying, “Joel does an incredible amount of work for LHS that is not often seen such as helping post on our Twitter and Instagram pages, creating graphics, running his weather part of the website, and setting up for games. He’s a genius when it comes to the scoreboard […]”. On his own initiative the high school junior created a look back at the 2016 Red Arrow Football season creating a 30 minute tribute.
The praise is eagerly given back to Scott by Fritsma. Joel says of Justin, “ I’ve always admired Justin’s work on the website, so I was really excited when I offered to be part of it. I myself am very honored to work with such a committed guy who can frequently update every corner and link that our website has to offer.” The two have become a great team and represent LHS sports with pride and a professional approach.
Justin Scott looks to continue his work compiling historical data. He also would like to start Pink Arrow Around the World. The concept started with Pink Arrow Facebook page but Scott would like to dedicate space to showcase the idea. Photos of people on vacation in front of some sort of landmark wearing a Pink Arrow shirt can be submitted to the Red Arrow Athletics site. The location will be added to a map and the photo will be placed in an album with other vacationers sporting their pink shirts. Fans of Red Arrow sports are also encouraged to submit photos to be included in Flickr albums. Photographer credit will be given as viewers can look through an online scrapbook of sorts for each sport.
As Joel Fritsma sets sights on his last year in high school he looks to spend time working on graphic templates for each LHS sports team to “promptly display score updates across each media platform”. Fritsma wishes to improve graphics presently used on the website and via social media.
One might say those behind Red Arrow Athletics are LHS sports’ biggest fans. They take interest in all of the games, all of the scores, and all of the athletes in addition to coaching staff and pass the information along. Red Arrow Athletics is sure to continue along its successful path. What started as a means to provide information for Lowell High School sports has turned into a place for current game scores, weather information, historical information, and more. Fans are invited to like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.
Photos courtesy of Red Arrow Athletics and used with permission.