The Man Behind the Camera
There's no one on Montana State's campus that loves the blue and gold more than Conner Firstman. Conner is the sports videographer/editor for the Montana State sports teams and produces the videos that fans see on the big screens at football and basketball games. Sometimes he's even a part of them, as he headed out onto the football field this past football season to perform to Gangnam style with the MSU dance team. It was a smash hit. "It could either be a hit and everyone would get a kick out of it, or it could be a disaster," said Conner. "Everybody loved it, so I guess we did our job." Conner has worked his way up at MSU. After arriving at Montana State, Conner walked into the football offices to see if he could do some video work for the football teams. He completed small video tasks his first year, which brought a smile to his face as he reminisced about his first days in the office. "I really did start out at the bottom," he said. "Rewinding tapes, doing game film, kind of just whatever they needed me to do."
Head football coach Rob Ash has worked closely with Conner over the years and says Conner's work has become a key motivation piece before every game.
"The guys look forward to it every week," said Ash. "Home or on the road, every week Conner puts a highlight video together. He's a genius at what he does, just capturing those moments." Conner has a much bigger task on his hand now as he is battling cancer, which started right before he came to Montana State. "We noticed that there was a lump in my wrist and being a sports person we figured it was probably scar tissue or something," said Conner. "No way we thought it was cancer, just wouldn't make sense." This semester Conner has been flying back and forth between Bozeman and Portland as unfortunately more tumors were discovered. "There are a couple more tumors that are on my chest wall that they are concerned about," said Conner. "They're not rushing me to the operating room just yet, but they are definitely concerned about." Every since the first diagnosis the Bozeman community and especially the Montana State teams have done all they can support Conner in his fight, even holding a big fundraiser for Conner last September. "It brings a real perspective to your own battles and your own fights and," said MSU Men's basketball coach Brad Huse. "You need to remind your own guys of that from time to time. We're talking about a life situation here with Conner." "Conner's been the face of our program in many respects because people all get online and watch his videos," said Ash. "They get excited about Bobcat football because of what he produces." Conner says being around athletes has helped him motivate him to get beat this illness.
"Just seeing those guys pushing themselves and trying their best makes you want to be your best and to work as hard as you can to get better," Conner said. Even while he is fighting this tough battle, when you see Conner around the field or court don't expect to see a frown, his campus famous smile will always be there. "I just try to always keep a positive attitude about things because having a negative attitude's not gonna get you anywhere."