Updated: Dec 14, 2019
Even on a Thursday, the gymnasium was packed; posters lined the walls, balloons sat behind the players, and students and teachers alike wore bold yellow shirts with the phrase “Cam Night” on them. All week this game had been hyped up; the excitement in the overflowing student section was palpable, even though playoffs were not foreseeable for the boys’ varsity team. Cam Night was never about the team winning, but rather finally shining the spotlight on one of the most dedicated members of the team, Cameron Carlton, despite him not having played a single game before.
When Cam first stepped onto the court, the entire gym erupted in shouts and screams, cheering on the man of the night. After two very close misses, Cameron threw his first 3 pointer of the night, which created gleeful uproar. When I later spoke with him, he said that all he could feel was excitement, but as he says, he was “trying to play it cool and not let it get to [his] head.” He would go on to score 15 points and one rebound; at one point, he even scored back to back 3 pointers that sent everyone in the building into pure, blissful anarchy. And yet even with all this attention, few were aware of just how hard he worked to get to this point.
Cameron began watching sports with his family from a young age. As soon as he was able, he “played every sport imaginable” as he says. But the most alluring to him was basketball, which offered a major thrill of adrenaline with its high energy, fast-paced gameplay. Equally as thrilling was the aspect of being with a team that cared about him, and he himself could invest himself into as well. However, sadly, when he got to the high school, he did not make the team.
Thankfully, new coach David March offered then sophomore Cameron a new opportunity: film the basketball team’s games. This paved way for Cameron to start filming for the school’s football team and local Pop Warner team, becoming his desired career path. Even though he did not play, he was and is just as much a part of the team as any other player; he said he is “included in everything. [He] treat[s] them like family and they treat [him] like family.” And for his work, he more than earned the chance to play a game.
So, it was determined that the last varsity boys’ basketball game also be the crowning moment for someone who had been such an important figure to the team. Had it not been for Cameron, the players would have no film to study; Cameron’s role was to support his teammates and provide a way for them to improve themselves. This night was the biggest thank you to a pivotal figure, even if never seen directly on the court.
And yes, Santa Monica did win the game; while it would have been an even better story had we taken the victory, it didn’t matter. Wins and losses are just statistics of a team, they don’t capture the real effects on students. For Cameron, he’s had more and more people stop him in the hall to just say hello, a chance to show his dedication to the game, and gotten to fulfill a wish he’s had since he first picked up a basketball. Life now for Cameron is aimed at majoring in filming with an emphasis on sports filming, though he says he would be willing to branch out. But his main desire is to professionally shoot sporting events, and after such an impressive career here I think all of El Segundo would be more than thrilled to see one of their own capture national level games.
When asked about his final thoughts on his Cam Night, experience on the team, and most of all experience overall dutifully filming our school’s sports, he said he wants to give “thanks to everyone on the team, ASB, students, Ruthless Rooters, parents, cheerleaders, teachers, and especially the coaches.” Frankly however, I think the most deserving of thanks is Cameron for working with his passion even if it meant not being able to play like he wished at first, and especially for making so many mind-blowing three pointers. Cameron is one of El Segundo’s finest and most true hearted Eagles.