MAN in MOTION: How One Man’s Passion for Online Sports Became So Much More
-Article submitted by Tim Johnston-
Cameron Irvine has a passion. It is evident in everything he does when it concerns his football league. Irvine is the commissioner of the Simulation Football League (SFL). His play-by-play has reached a much broader audience recently. The SFL, in its simplest form, is an online video game football league; but it has become so much more. It has taken on a life of its own. The mission of the SFL is to provide the highest quality simulation football product in the world. To those involved, it has and continues to deliver.
“The SFL is fun and highly competitive. It is an immersion experience.” – Joel Ramos Lynn, Queretaro, Mexico
The SFL gives owners, coaches, players and fans the experience of a lifetime with real-to-life broadcasts, statistics, and a 24/7 forum. There are several shows during the week that interview owners, dissect the outcome of the latest games and preview the upcoming games in detail not far removed from the analysis of NFL games. Owners, coaches and players call in to offer their views. It could be said that the SFL combines e-sports, reality TV, social media, drama and, oh yea, football! The league uses an older game, 2KSport’s All Pro Football because it provides the best Ai vs Ai experience and, with assistance from a hex editor, full customization of teams, coaches, players, uniforms, equipment and more. Popular teams include the Alaska Storm, Baltimore Crabs, Carolina Skyhawks, Dallas Ruffnecks, Houston Hyenas, L.A. Sharks, Mexico City Aztecs and Tallahassee Pride.
“The SFL is a unique experience. For all the decades that football gaming has been around, to see it occur with ‘living commentary’ andon such an exceptional titleas APF2K8, really just separates the entire experience as being something far beyond what anyone else could ever hope to create.” – Jason McGee, Sioux Falls, SD
“I participate simply because this league is just so much fun! It has something for everyone, from the community involvement aspect to the simulation strategy of building your own franchise.” – Erik Barkley, Fredonia, NY
Six games are played per week with a Sunday Showcase game and a Monday Game of the Week getting play-by-play coverage. The Sunday Night Showcase game is the SFL’s moment to shine. It can be seen on the league’s YouTube channel at 8 P.M. eastern. It is quite a production. You’ve never seen anything like it. You’ll be shocked how entertaining watching video game football can be. There are players’ stories (eight seasons in the making); career stats, and analysis only rivaled by pro sports. The chat is active and engaging during the game. It is two hours of epic football fun without commercials being played every five minutes. Pre-game and post-game shows feature highlights from previous games, stats and analysis and live interviews from the owners, coaches and players from the featured game.
“The SFL provides something that every football gamer and player strives for: glory. To have your name called out in excitement as you make a huge game-changing play stays in your mind. The SFL provides that experience at little or no cost or commitment. Irvine pours his passion into the game and his love of being on the air through every word.” – Andrew Rastelli, Washington, DC
“I love the competition and brotherhood of the league, and I appreciate the spirit of excellence brought forth by the Commissioner and everyone involved in the league. Cam’s play-by-play call of our games is genius.” – Frank Goodin, Jacksonville, Florida
This league is a lot of work and requires countless hours to operate. This work is multiplied over the many years the league has operated. The league is a reality only because it is a labor of love. Irvine’s passion is seen on the professional website, in every graphic and video production. There is one place where it is not seen – it is heard and felt. No place offers a glimpse into this passion more than his play-by-play commentary. Featured every Sunday night, Irvine calls the game live. His play-by-play has been called ‘NFL-caliber’. He seamlessly interweaves statistics, history and interesting facts into his stellar description of the on-the-field action. His wit and one-liners keep the audience entertained and coming back for more.
“What caught my eye (ear) in the SFL several seasons ago was the play-by-play of Cameron Irvine. It was exciting and immersive. It made it me feel like I was watching a real event. I’ve been participating ever since.” – Greg Morris, San Antonio, Texas
“The experience that the SFL provides is second to none. Cam’s voice is captivating and he has the ability to control the crowd’s emotions. You can’t learn that in a classroom – it’s a gift.” – Mark Chisholm, Buford, Georgia
To many, the SFL has become much more than a league. It is a family. In the SFL’s Slack channel, guys discuss football, talk about the upcoming SFL games, smack talk, make predictions and discuss stats. Many also express their wishes and dreams, goals and disappointments. They openly discuss their careers, relationships, problems, hardships and loss just as one would at the family dinner table. Football, in general, brings people of all races together for a few hours a week. The members of the league, from many races, nationalities, religions, and backgrounds, connect every day and enjoy a special bond and brotherhood. There are several handicapped men who are players in the league. Although they cannot physically play football, they can live their football dreams via their virtual player. Matt Willson tells his story in the league’s documentary ‘A New Frontier – Where Football Dreams come to Life.’ The impact the league has had and continues to have in people’s lives cannot be overstated.
“I keep participating in the SFL because it has become like my second family. Everyone is there for one another through good times and bad.” – Ed Ritter, Malvern, Ohio
“What I love about the SFL is the fierce competition between the teams and more importantly, the family-like community we have created. Mr. Irvine’s commentating is second to none. You can feel the passion he has during every broadcast. – Jermaine L. Smith, Frederick, Maryland
Irvine’s passion is contagious. It has spread to hundreds of passionate participants. Some of them are owners. They choose their cities, team name, uniforms and team colors, name their stadium, select the positions and abilities for their limited star players, promote their teams, hire coaches and/or coordinators, submit weekly playbooks and more. The SFL offers a team ownership experience that far exceeds franchise mode built into sports video games. Coordinators and assistant coaches watch film, game plan, and submit plays to attempt to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses. Players anticipate the next game where they will watch themselves on TV/PC. Many have expressed they care more about the wins and losses of their SFL team than they do their local NFL team. That’s why many hours of preparation are poured into attempting to gain a hard earned and difficult to attain victory in the league. There’s strategy that must take place during preparation and then the members of the league watch the outcomes unfold without a controller in their hands. Winning is not based on who can hit the buttons the quickest; it’s more about who can win in the film room and on the practice field testing plays.
“I love football. The chess match is second to none. You must strategize and put players in a position to succeed. In the SFL, we watch it all unfold live with Cameron Irvine’s angelic voice and exuberance. It’s captivating.” -Max Paul, Pompano Beach, Florida
“I love the SFL for its strategic football gameplay and wonderful people. It has become like a second home to me.” – Shann Varner- Andalusia, AL
What began in 2013 with Irvine doing play-by-play for several games per week with an audience of maybe a dozen has grown to over 300 members, a SFL Documentary being produced, an interview on Forbes.com and new members joining the league every week. Irvine used his passion to persuade Daktronics (a company involved with the NFL) to give the league an affordable price to track more stats than you can imagine.
“I love the league just because of like-minded people that love realistic simulation football.” – James Cline, West Jefferson, NC
“Aside from family, football is the love of my life. That alone hooks me to the SFL. The level of excitement found in the SFL and its amazing people keep me wanting more. Cam’s ability to call a game trumps anything Fox or CBS can put together on any given Sunday.” – Doug Boas, Lancaster, PA
Irvine has big plans for the future. He certainly has the talent and ability to be a professional broadcaster one day. He also has big dreams for his football league. He wants to expand to over 20 teams in the near future. He has been adding quality men to his staff to assist him. People love to bring their talent to the SFL to pitch in to make the league even greater. The passion that people have for this league is unbelievable.
“The SFL gets better every year. My love for sports video games is why I’m still here. Cameron Irvine dream big because the SFL and simulation sports will become big.” – Ronnie L. Nickens, Cleveland, Ohio
“The SFL is an awesome experience! As a player in the league, there is nothing like seeing your team win the game and knowing you played a part in it. I’m so happy I found a home in the SFL with my brothers and Cam. We definitely have something great going on here!” – Joseph Quijada, Clovis, California
To become a player or watch the league’s documentary, visit: www.simulationfl.com
Watch a live broadcast on Sunday evening @ 8 PM eastern:https://www.youtube.com/user/simulationfl