June 23, 2004
NEW YORK — CSTV: College Sports Television (www.collegesports.com), the first and only college sports network, will pay tribute to the men and women serving in the United States armed forces with its Friday, July 2 (6 p.m. CDT) premiere of From Ballfields to Battlefields, a documentary chronicling the lives of student-athletes who have served their country during times of war. Former Iowa halfback Nile Kinnick will be one of the student-athletes featured during the television special.
A CSTV original production, From Ballfields to Battlefields will be hosted by U.S. Senator and Vietnam War hero John McCain of Arizona and narrated by Charles Gibson, co-host of ABC News’ Good Morning America. CSTV is making From Ballfields to Battlefields available to all cable operators free-of-charge, for airing on July 2 and on video-on-demand.
“I ask you to join me in honoring the young Americans who left the ballfields of our nation’s universities, to fight for our values on the battlefields of war,” Senator McCain says in introducing From Ballfields to Battlefields.
From Ballfields to Battlefields is the cornerstone of Sports and Stripes: CSTV’s Salute to the Armed Forces, the network’s July 2-4 programming initiative honoring servicemen and women. Sports and Stripes will also showcase the “best of the best” intercollegiate athletic events featuring the U.S. Air Force, Military and Naval Academies, including football, hockey, lacrosse and rugby. In addition, Sports and Stripes will feature servicemen and women from the three academies, as well as those serving the United States in Iraq, extending 4th of July greetings to their families and friends.
“From Ballfields to Battlefields is CSTV’s way of honoring the legacy of Pat Tillman and other student-athletes who have put their lives on the line,” said Brian Bedol, president and CEO, CSTV. “The attributes that make these college athletes successful on the ball field – teamwork, discipline and loyalty – are what make them exemplary on the battlefield.”
As has been the case with previous CSTV programming featuring the service academies, the network will provide Sports and Stripes programs to the American Forces Network (AFN) for distribution to military bases overseas. AFN programming is distributed to Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine bases, as well as United States embassies, in 177 countries and territories worldwide. The AFN is also available on United States Navy ships at sea.
“Basketball and the Army is kind of the same,” said Cortez Watson, a basketball player from Emory and Henry College in Virginia who is featured in From Ballfields to Battlefields and who just returned from an Army tour of Iraq and Kuwait. “You have to attack your enemy before he attacks you. You have to work as a team in order to survive and see the next day, or the next game.
“You have to take care of one another at all times no matter what the case is. The most important thing that I learned from Coach (Bob) Johnson (at Emory and Henry) is that you have to give all you’ve got to the point where you can’t give anymore, and when you feel you are at your lowest point, you dig deep down inside and give all you’ve got until the end of the battle.”
Friday, July 2
The premiere of From Ballfields to Battlefields, 6 p.m. CDT; among those profiled:
Nile Kinnick – the 1939 Heisman Trophy halfback from the University of Iowa joined the Naval Air Corps Reserve after college and was killed in 1943 when his fighter plane crashed during a World War II training flight; Iowa’s football stadium, Kinnick Stadium, stands as a memorial to him Matt Sheftic – the University of Vermont basketball player enrolled in the Army a week after the September 11 attacks; after graduating from college last month, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and will soon report to Fort Benning in Georgia to study military intelligence; the 2004 America East basketball tournament MVP is expected to be deployed in Afghanistan later this year Bob Johnson and Cortez Watson – Johnson has recorded more than 300 wins as head men’s basketball coach at Emory and Henry College in Virginia, was a Ranger platoon leader with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, and his father was a general and Army Chief of Staff during the 1960s; Watson, who plays for Johnson at Emory and Henry, enrolled in the National Guard at school and was sent to Iraq in 2003; he most recently was stationed in Kuwait before returning stateside, and will resume his college academic and athletic career this fall In addition, Pat Tillman, the former Arizona State football star who was killed in April while serving his country in Afghanistan, and Hobey Baker, the captain of his Princeton hockey and football teams and World War I hero who was killed in an airplane crash just before his scheduled return from Europe
College Sports TV, the first 24-hour college sports network, is available to more than 20 million homes nationally on cable and satellite. The network is available on Time Warner, Adelphia and Insight cable systems, among others, and is also available on DirecTV (channel 610). For information on CSTV availability in particular markets, consumers can log on to www.collegesports.com or call their cable or satellite operator.