“Sport Science” host and co-creator John Brenkus has helped produce more than 1,000 video segments examining the physics and biomechanics behind various athletic feats over the last seven years. It’s not difficult for the Vienna, native and 1993 U-Va. graduate to name his favorite one.
“This is not a cop-out answer, but every segment that we do is so unique, we try to push the limits on educating and entertaining,” Brenkus said to preface his cop-out answer. “My favorite segment is always the last one that we did.”
Unique is one way to describe one of Brenkus’s most recent videos, “Christmas is My Favorite Time of Year,” which was posted to YouTube last Tuesday and will be featured on ESPN’s “Sport Science Plays of the Year” special on Dec. 22.
Brenkus and his wife, Lizzie, wrote the song featured in the video a year ago, “just for fun.” When their friends, including some of Brenkus’s co-workers, told the couple how catchy the song was, they decided to work with the “Sport Science” creative team to produce a sports-focused Christmas video.
“The thing that I love about working at ‘Sport Science’ is that we’re always perpetuating positive energy, and celebrating the best that humanity has to offer,” Brenkus said. “The motivation behind this is spreading positive energy and there’s nothing better than making somebody smile.”
(Try not to smile when you see Santa taking an aerobic fitness test on the treadmill.)
Brenkus said the response to the video, which has more than 1.2 million views and is currently being featured on Sirius XM’s holiday station, has been overwhelming. The first thing that people want to know is if Brenkus is really playing the guitar (he is, and has since college) and if his wife is really singing (yep, that’s her).
“It was a really fun break from a normal shoot, doing something outside of the box,” Brenkus said. “When we found out that Santa was available to come into the lab, that was a huge, huge get.”
The bulk of the video was shot in one day in October at the “Sport Science” studio in Burbank, Calif. It features clips from past “Sport Science” segments, including JaVale McGee dunking a cookie in an 11-foot-high bowl of milk, and cameos from other athletes, including Vernon Davis, Larry Fitzgerald and Robert Griffin III.
Griffin’s line was filmed before Colt McCoy’s first start against Dallas on “Monday Night Football.” Brenkus, a lifelong D.C. sports fan who said he feels blessed that he got to see the Redskins win three Super Bowls while growing up, described Griffin as an “open, honest, genuine, caring guy.” He also thinks it’s too soon to declare Griffin a bust.
“I think it’s unfair to pin all of the team’s problems on the quarterback because they’re so vulnerable and there are so many things that are beyond their control,” Brenkus said. “The game of football has changed so much. Troy Aikman won one game in his rookie year. [Editor’s note: Aikman actually went 0-11 as a starter in 1989.] I feel like today’s NFL is so demanding and you need immediate results. A lot of players could be left by the wayside. I think there’s a big upside to RGIII, whether or not it’s with the Redskins. He’s a very, very capable NFL quarterback, and he’s an amazing athlete.”