He’s at the Helm of Pro Sports Video
Jeff Bingham is the man behind the scenes in more televised sports events than most people realize.
|Jeff Bingham operates his video switcher in Los Angeles.|
The Los Angeles Lakers, Angels, Kings, Clippers, Galaxy and Sparks, along with the Anaheim Ducks, all have in common Jeff Bingham as director and technical director.
Bingham, 42, usually operates a video switcher — an enormous console with hundreds of switches that control what viewers see on home television screens and the huge video boards inside the stadiums.
For his expertise, Bingham, who has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), has been nominated for three Emmys in a career spanning 25 years.
In high school, Bingham loved baseball, but wasn’t able to play, so he indulged his love of the sport by videotaping games for coaches to use in reviewing and critiquing their players. He went on to major in telecommunications in college, and at graduation landed an internship at KDOC-TV in L. A., a position that turned into fulltime employment.
Years later, he learned that major sports teams had use of his special skills, and began doing contract work, first for the Angels. As word spread of his abilities, more and more stadiums sought him out, until today he works as many as 20 sports matchups a month.
Bingham gets a hand at home from his two aunts who share caregiver duties, but often as not, he’s seated behind the big control board making magic on the airwaves. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the Love of a Horse
For Josh Dozier, country living has distinct advantages. Chief among them is the fact that his best friend, a horse named Nugget, lives right next door.
Four years ago, things weren’t quite so rosy. Living with his parents in an urban area near Charlotte, N.C., Josh, now 16, used a wheelchair almost full-time due to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder. He wasn’t happy at school or with his weight.
His family’s decision to move to Cameron, N.C., population about 150, turned things around in a big way.
|Josh Dozier, left, with his friend Johnny Jamerson on their trusty steeds|
Dozier’s mother, Marian Bender, who also has CMT, describes their decidedly rural locale. “There’s a pig farm across the road, a chicken farm down the road and a horse farm right beside us.” Her husband Chris is a disabled military veteran.
The horse farm and the Jamerson family that run it got Dozier into the horse world. “Johnny Jamerson helped make Josh’s love for horses a reality by helping him learn horse sense,” Bender says of their neighbor. “When I bought Nugget, my son changed. He lost 30 pounds and became much more active than he’d ever been. He’s a natural when he gets on that horse — they become like one.”
At first, Dozier rode Nugget on weekends, usually with Johnny. Then he found out about TREC, an unusual equestrian event introduced to this country from Europe in 1998. TREC competitors must ride through rough country, read maps and use a compass, mount and dismount, duck beneath low-hanging tree branches, open gates, cross bridges and jump over fallen logs.
In 2006 competition at the national age group, and Nugget took first place as best-conditioned horse. A year later, Josh moved up to first place in TREC nationals, and Nugget again was declared best-conditioned horse.
Dozier, who was MDA’s goodwill ambassador for the Charlotte region in 2006, says his long-term goal is to “become a therapeutic horseman and work with other children who have neuromuscular diseases.”
He calls his mom a hero in his life’s saga. Bender, a schoolteacher when they lived near Charlotte, was a caregiver not only for Josh (while homeschooling him), but also for her mother and grandmother, both of whom had CMT, and for her husband, who had a stroke and developed cancer after serving in the U.S. Army in Somalia. When she learned that she herself had CMT, her school employers fired her.
“We’ve learned to count our blessings, and helping others makes it worthwhile,” she says of her fundraising efforts for MDA. “MDA has always been there for us. Now, their help and Josh’s newfound love for horses has given him hope and has helped him set goals even in the face of chronic illness and adversity. My message to others is, ‘Never give up.’”
She’s Both Martial Artist and Humanitarian
Danielle (Dani) Anderson is not a person you’d want to meet in a dark alley. The 21-year-old black belt in tae kwon do can take care of herself.
In truth, Anderson, who has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, spends most of her time looking after others.
She’ll enroll this fall in California State University, Sacramento, where she lives, but she’s helping to pay for her education by working as a project assistant for the California Health Incentives Improvement Project.
One of the organization’s major programs is co-chairing the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities, which Dani attended in 2003.
“It brought together junior and senior high school students from around California. We learned about disability culture, leadership skills and socializing with others who have disabilities,” she said. “It was my first real time away from home, and it was eye opening. Seeing others there made me fully realize that young people with disabilities have every bit as much opportunity to succeed in life as anyone else.”
Her gumption and inspirational outlook earned Anderson a spot last year as a panelist at Blazing the Trail: A National Youth Development and Leadership Summit sponsored by the U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy in Washington.
She really liked the town, and her dream is one day to work there in government as an advocate for people with disabilities.
If her record of accomplishments and commitment to caring are any indication, she’s certain to be a stellar asset among the nation’s policymakers.