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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

UWL’s very own “Hard Knocks”

The Recreational Eagle Center 2023. Photo taken by Trinity Rietmann.

For the second year in a row, a few University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Recreational Eagle Center (REC) staff are producing their parody of the collaboration between NFL Films and HBO, “Hard Knocks” Each NFL season, the HBO version of the show covers a different NFL team. 

While HBO and NFL Films collaborated to create “Hard Knocks” at UWL, REC Marketing and Events Coordinator Peter Kopperud is the production director, while cooperating with other REC staff to make the entire production process come to life. “Other staff also participate. It was my idea originally, but I do not want to take full credit. There’s a bunch of hands that go into it,” said Kopperud. 

To achieve their desired level of quality with the final project, the staff avoid forcing a script. This creates a more natural and realistic feeling. Maintaining a level of organization is also crucial to the operation’s success, as trying to create a production schedule that suffices for a group of 8-10 people can be very difficult. To avoid and accommodate potential challenges or scheduling conflicts, the REC staff/production team interviews players before games, films during games and captures other various b-roll content as needed.

“80% of the student body uses our programs. Our hope with ‘Hard Knocks’ in particular is to highlight all of the big stuff that goes on here at the REC,” said Kopperud. After brainstorming and market research, it was decided that basketball was the most popular in terms of audience engagement. So far only basketball has been the subject of the REC’s “Hard Knocks”, but there are plans for the show to expand and showcase a variety of men’s, women’s and coed intramural sports. 

Last quarter, “Hard Knocks” featured a 5v5 basketball team, in the Men’s B League. Nick Mitchell and Tanner Davis were a part of this team and highlighted in the series’ first season, lasting four episodes. 

“I know that when I play sports, such as basketball, I am a much different person, and I just get to express that through this platform,” said Davis. 

Like Davis, Mitchell enjoys having a part in the show. He said, “It’s a cool opportunity for some of our UWL Intramural community to get an opportunity to showcase their talents and personalities, and you get an opportunity to learn more about so many different people.”

To watch UWL’s “Hard Knocks” visit the Rec Sports Instagram page; @uwlrec 

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About the Contributor
John Gaynor
John Gaynor, Sports Reporter
Year at UWL: Freshman
PGPs: He/Him
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Major: Marketing
Minor: N/A
Other Campus Involvement: Running Club, Track & Field Team
Future Plans after Graduation: Work in the aviation industry
Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Walking near the river
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