Grey Cup comes to Winnipeg high school for student's YouTube sports show
A handful of students wired up microphones and set television cameras on tripods while hundreds more streamed into the theatre at Winnipeg's Miles Macdonell Collegiate Thursday afternoon.
All that means for 17-year-old Jordan Rogodzinski, it's game day.
The Grade 12 student, who has cerebral palsy, has an intense love of sports — especially football and the CFL. He's turned that passion into a sports show that he hosts in front of fellow high school students and posts on YouTube.
On Jordan's 411 Sports Show, he's interviewed sports broadcasters, teachers, Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea and former Bombers lineman Doug Brown. Rogodzinski's personal favourite was a sit-down with one of his heroes, former star receiver Milt Stegall.
"That was a dream come true, because he's my idol and he flew all the way from Atlanta. He's a good person and he's very genuine and I really liked how the interview went," said Rogodzinski.
On Thursday's show, Rogodzinski's guest was the Grey Cup itself.
The CFL's championship trophy came to Rogodzinski's show courtesy of Jeff McWhinney, the guy who gets to wear the white gloves and has the responsibility of handling the coveted cup when it travels.
"I wanted to have it because I know it's a school environment and that doesn't happen to often in schools," said Rogodzinski.
Chris Zacharko is a resource teacher at Mile Mac who works with Rogodzinski, and now also doubles now as his booking agent. Zacharko said he isn't surprised they were able to book the championship trophy, and the man who travels with the hardware.
"It's really easy. You just make a phone call and say 'I'm the Jordan 411 Sports Show' and people are lined up. We've got guests lined up probably until the middle of next year," said Zacharko.
Rogodzinski tapes weekly radio podcasts and monthly video shows, which stream on YouTube and have just started being broadcast on a cable access channel.
He displays a depth of sports knowledge in his enthusiastic interviews, and the crowd and interview subjects seem to appreciate his humour.
McWhinney, who has been the Cup keeper since 2014 and lives and breathes the football folklore that the Grey Cup stands for, said there are some comparisons between Canadian football history and Rogodzinski.
"Jordan has the same perseverance, there is no hurdle that he can't get over. His challenges, my challenges, your challenges, this guy doesn't see any deficit there and that's what I love about this Cup. It also promotes such magic to say anything is possible," said McWhinney.
Zacharko says the sports show and support for Rogodzinski's dream of being a sportscaster have been rallying points for the tight-knit school.
"It's shown that no matter what your ability level is, that you can do whatever you want and the sky is the limit. Jordan came in here and we just started off with one guest and hoped that this would play out in a small venue, and it's turned into the Grey Cup."