For a Moment, a National Tournament Speaks to a Different Nation
As if on cue, Yiqing Zhou and Xueyin Shi let out the same response when asked how they will feel about having their commentary heard on national television.
被问到自己的解说将在全国电视台上播出时感觉会怎么样，周一清（Yiqing Zhou，音）和史雪银（Xueyin Shi，音）仿佛约好了似的，做出了同样的回答。
“A little bit nervous,” they both said through laughter.
Zhou and Shi, you see, do a lot of things together. They are both 25-year-old second-year graduate students studying electrical engineering at the University of Dayton, whose men’s basketball team won the Atlantic 10 regular-season championship. They are a couple. And they are both broadcasters for Flyers games.
如你所见，周一清和史雪银有很多事情是一起做的。他们都是25岁的二年级研究生，在戴顿大学(University of Dayton)学习电气工程，这座大学的男子篮球队赢得了大西洋十联盟(Atlantic 10)的常规赛冠军。他们是一对夫妇。他们一起解说飞人队(Flyers)的比赛。
But theirs are not just any broadcasts: They call Dayton games in Mandarin Chinese, for broadcasts distributed on the university’s athletics website. And on Friday night, when the No. 7 seed Flyers take on 10th-seeded Wichita State in the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament, CBS plans to toss a brief part of the game action to Zhou and Shi.
Zhou and Shi are members of a rotating cast of five broadcasters who call the games for Dayton in Mandarin. Their energy, among other factors, helped them draw the season’s two prime assignments from Michael LaPlaca, Dayton’s associate athletic director for multimedia. The Atlantic 10 tournament in Pittsburgh last week was the first time Dayton had the international commentators on-site for a road game. The N.C.A.A. trip this weekend will be the second.
“They just have a chemistry that just clicks on air,” LaPlaca said. “I don’t even know Mandarin all that well, but when you hear them broadcast, it goes incredibly well.”
The Mandarin broadcast, which is in its second year at Dayton, is LaPlaca’s brainchild, the product of an initiative by a university looking to engage more with the international students on campus. After noticing that the University of Illinois started an online Mandarin broadcast for its football games during the 2015 season, Dayton saw an opportunity to try something similar.
这是戴顿有了普通话解说的第二年，此事由拉普拉卡一手策划，也是该大学发起倡议，令国际学生更多参与校园生活的结果。注意到伊利诺伊大学(University of Illinois)于2015赛季开始在线播放橄榄球比赛的普通话解说后，戴顿觉得自己也有机会尝试类似的举动。
“Basketball is such a level game,” LaPlaca said. “It’s a sport that crosses all languages, all boundaries. So it made sense for us to be able to start this program and to allow international students to be able to broadcast the games and also reach an audience out in China.”
When the program was started before last season, the university estimated that its enrollment of about 11,000 included more than 600 Chinese students. Additionally, Dayton has an institute in the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, near Shanghai.
LaPlaca said 64 students initially showed interest in the broadcasting venture. He narrowed the field by sending applicants a video clip of a game-winning shot by Dayton guard Jordan Sibert during a First Four game of the 2015 N.C.A.A. tournament. The clip had nothing but ambient crowd noise; LaPlaca told the aspiring students to improvise and announce the play. He worked with a Dayton professor who speaks Mandarin to rate the best students.
Zhou and Shi had met at Shanghai Normal University and went to Dayton — which has a working relationship with Shanghai Normal — for their senior years, sticking around for graduate school. They quickly became rabid followers of the Flyers’ basketball program and, despite no media experience, decided that pairing on a broadcast would be a great way to share a hobby and connect with friends and family back home in China.
“We love U.D.,” Zhou said. “Why don’t we share what we know about U.D. basketball?”
The two have gotten familiar with all of Dayton’s opponents, regularly poring over game notes, brushing up on injuries and studying the backgrounds of visiting coaches. They watch highlights of recent games to fill in any gaps in their knowledge.
“When we do the broadcast, we need to control our emotions sometimes, because we are crazy U.D. fans,” Shi said. On broadcasts, she added, “we need just to talk as clear as possible. We can’t bring our emotions in because we need to talk U.D. a lot, but we also need to talk other teams sometimes. So I think the hardest thing for me is just to control my emotions.”
Zhou said the nervous feeling they will experience Friday night is nothing new; they both get nervous before each tipoff, but they quickly ease their way into the flow of the game. While Friday’s audience will be far larger for a few plays, the routine mostly remains the same, save for a little extra explaining of the concept of March Madness to a Chinese audience.
“The Chinese fans have no idea how the seeds come out and everything,” Shi said. “So we will do like a brief introduction to them to let them know how the N.C.A.A. tournament works.”