Bethany Jones had had a pretty hectic year to this point, spending a large percentage of her time as a coach with the softball and girls basketball teams as well as teaching Health and Physical Education at Northview High School.
While she's garnered plenty of notice as head coach of the softball team that has won better than 70 percent the past three seasons, she has drawn nationwide attention for another endeavor that happened quite by accident last weekend.
Bethany happened to capture one of the stranger moments of the sports season when a pre-game ceremony prior to the Hannibal vs. Terre Haute Rex baseball game got a little strange when one of three skydivers collided with a Hannibal player prior to his landing. Jones captured the moment on video and uploaded it to YouTube in order to share it via Facebook and Twitter. What she didn't expect was the wave of attention the video received.
"During the game I uploaded it to YouTube so that I could share it on Facebook and Twitter. It wasn't until after the game that I actually shared it," Jones said. "That's when the Rex players started re-tweeting it. One of the Rex players told me I should tweet it to @SportsCenter and hashtag it #SCNotTop10. So I did. Late Sunday I saw it had over 6,000 views. It wasn't until Monday morning when it had over 130,000 views and when I had emails from ESPN, ABC, Fox News, and Good Morning America that I knew this was going viral."
The video, which can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mSSCYrwTrs, has now been viewed more than 1,500,000 times on the website. Jones wasn't exactly expecting the attention as her video has spread like wildfire on the internet as well as television.
"ESPN, ABC, Fox News, Good Morning America, several local stations in St. Louis, WTHI-TV 10, a couple of sports stations in Canada, and social websites from all over the world," have aired the video. "It aired on Sports Center, was the No. 1 "Must See" on SportsNation, and the Today Show. It was on the home pages of Yahoo, MSN, and YouTube."
The video's popularity has also opened up monetary options with its success, but Jones isn't interested in that aspect.
"I have also been contacted by several social networking sites wanting to buy the rights to the video, which I did not do," Jones said. "I've recently been contacted by a television production company interested in using my video in a Discovery channel program. I have not responded it."
The afternoon started like any other day for Jones' husband Scott, who broadcasts Rex games via internet radio. Bethany also made the trip as the pair are hosts to Rex player Nick Johnson of Arizona this summer.
The players took the field prior to the National Anthem and as the music began, the first of three skydivers arrived according to Jones.
"After they announced the line-ups and played the national anthem, they had three skydivers that were going to land on the field. After the first one landed, I thought it was pretty cool. It was taking forever for the second skydiver to come down, so I got out my phone and thought I would video him coming in," Jones said. "Sure enough, the skydiver went right towards the baseball player. The baseball players were told beforehand not to move...that the skydiver would maneuver around them. Most of the collisions happen when the person on the ground moves at the last minute. That is why you don't see the baseball players moving. My first initial reaction was shock. It was scary at first because the baseball player did not move. Once he started moving and actually played in the game, I was thinking, 'Did that really just happen?' As you can tell in the video, no one rushes to him at first. The first one to him is the skydiver. I think everyone involved was shocked as well."
While the Hannibal player finished the game, Jones said that she spoke to several of the Cavemen players this week when they played a return game in Terre Haute and that a concussion suffered in the incident ended his summer season prematurely.