From its inception in 2005 to the social media icon it is today, YouTube has always been a place for people of any kind to share their passion, stories, or anything in between. With all the different variety of videos that exist on the platform, a new form has emerged in the past year: documenting the daily lives of athletes. The frontrunners of this new idea started with players such as Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers and JaVale McGee of the Los Angeles Lakers, when they recorded their experiences of what daily life was like in the NBA “bubble” during the end of the 2020 season. For two athletes here at Mississippi College, this type of content creation is their passion.
Brock Kelly, a sophomore from Saltillo, Mississippi, is on the men’s cross country team and currently has 685 subscribers on his YouTube channel. While most of his videos revolve around race day meets and training, he also loves to film other trips and experiences that he has had with his friends. Kelly’s interest in media began when his parents bought him a camera for Christmas one year so he could be on the yearbook staff in high school to take pictures.
As for videos, Kelly described, “My 10th or 11th grade year, I picked up the same camera and just started making videos with it. We did indoor track meets in Birmingham, and I just picked up the camera and recorded what was going on. I learned how to edit and compile videos just through trial and error pretty much.”
One of his more popular and in-depth content is his vlogs, or “video logs,” of race day for cross country. Personally, Kelly says his favorite part is “how I can document how far I’ve come. I can look back at a workout I did two years ago and I can remember how tough it was, but if I did it today, I’d absolutely destroy all those times. So seeing that progression is rewarding to see how far I’ve come with training, and races, and everything else.”
Chris Colebank, a sophomore who was born in California but hails from Germantown, Tennessee, also uses YouTube as an outlet to show his life as a student-athlete on the MC football team. His 825 subscribers can always look forward to his popular game day vlogs, college advice, training, and other content.
As far as his YouTube beginnings, Colebank said he started “my freshman year of college just posting random stuff and just thought I would develop a skill to try and become more marketable.”
Concerning his passion for YouTube content, Colbank said, “Being the driving force behind something and being the reason why something exists, it’s addictive. You want to see that growth and it’s probably a big reason why I’m a business major, because I want to be a part of something and watch it grow, and that’s what YouTube has done for me. Over time, I’ve been able to get other students involved and other football players involved and it’s really just become an awesome community. I think it’s a good representation of what MC stands for, and I try to implement some Christian values into my videos as well.”
Both Kelly and Colebank were regularly posting videos when the pandemic presented a new challenge for them. They both realized how difficult it could be at the time to have fresh ideas and enjoyable content when so many restrictions were in place. Kelly explained, “I was just trying to come up with as many safe ideas that I possibly could. One of my most popular ones was ‘A Day In The Life of A Quarantined Athlete.’ There weren’t many people who were doing quarantined athlete videos, and so I filmed my training and my sister had to record too. Another one I did was taking my own senior portraits because it was hard to hire a photographer at that time.”
For the future, Kelly and Colebank want to continue focusing on their respective seasons and keep pushing themselves to stay consistent with their content. Everything from their commitment to the tiny details in editing show that these two truly have a passion for making content and entertaining others.