Last winter, as Westport edged slowly out of the coronavirus crisis, the youth basketball travel program instituted a strict rule: Only one parent per player could attend games.
Donald Lowman’s 12-year-old son Dhilan was on the team. Donald told parents he could help. He’d broadcast contests on Instagram.
Donald is not a sportscaster. He runs a search and consulting firm with Korn Ferry, focusing on benefits. But he and his son Dustin — a 2011 Staples High School and 2015 Middlebury College graduate, now a freelance writer and musician — are avid Mets fans. They love the announcers’ spirit and camaraderie. They figured they could augment Donald’s iPhone camerawork with their own banter.
The Lowmans’ setup was not sophisticated. (Then again, middle school gyms are not Citi Field.) But parents loved it.
Some said they preferred Donald and Dustin’s feeds to watching games in person. Thanks to the announcers, they knew more about what was going on.
Moms and dads were not the only viewers. Grandparents far from Westport tuned it. It was an exciting, fun way to connect with their grandsons. Some had not seen them in a year.
Travel basketball season ended. Travel baseball began.
“Not everyone wants to drive to Milford,” Donald notes. So he (who had coached all 3 of his sons) and Dustin (who remembered his Little League days fondly) headed out to left field, where their camera could zoom in on the batter’s box.
Donald did play-by-play. Dustin was the color analyst. In between action — and in baseball, there’s lots of that — they riffed on their shared passion: music and pop culture trivia.
“We both know an enormous amount of useless information,” Dustin says. “It’s not useful anywhere else except here.”
The broadcasters learned each player’s tendencies and special talents. Parents loved that.
Donald and Dustin’s genuine enthusiasm for the game and its young players was infectious. So were Dustin’s insights into his own Little League experience, more than a decade earlier.
Watching live on Instagram was great. Some viewers — including the players themselves — also watched afterward. “I wish we had that when I was playing,” Dustin says.
Dhilan’s team lost in the district all-star finals. But parents of the 10U team — which was still playing — offered to pay Donald and Dustin to broadcast the state championship.
The duo did it for free. A friend of a coach provided a hi-def camera, mixing board, and headphones. This was the Big Time (Little League-style).
They had by far their largest audience: 500 viewers.
Donald has a full-time job. Dustin has his writing and music projects. They’re not going to turn this into a full-time gig.
But they’re not powering off Donald’s iPhone, either.
The Lowmans are thinking about how to turn their avocation into an after-school project. They’d especially like to reach out to youngsters in neighboring towns, who may not have access to the TV facilities in their schools that Westport kids do.
But enough pre-game chatter. Get some peanuts and Crackerjack. Grab a seat. Then click below.
It’s time to listen to Donald and Dustin’s state championship 10U call.