Sunday, March 22, 2009

Playing I-35 ping pong and eating dinner with Trekkies...

As usual I'm about a week behind. Last weekend was pretty busy, last week it rained for the first time since October. And, I had to go out of town, to Austin again, to shoot the boys state basketball tournament this week. We only had one team this week, Roscoe - the Plowboys. Which I think is probably the greatest name for a high school mascot there is. But, in addition to basketball, the writer and I were going to Waco for the class 3A team tennis tournament too. So, basically we were going to feel like a ping pong ball bouncing back and forth on I-35 for three days.
I had to work late on Wednesday to finish some things up in the office so we had the genius idea to leave for Austin at 4am, since the game wasn't until 10am. That was a mistake. When I got home and got packed and all ready to go it was almost 1am, by the time I got to sleep I pretty much was able to take about a 2 hour nap before it was time to leave. Well, the good thing was the game was all I had to shoot that day.
Not only was I shooting the game but I was also working on a photo column that week about the Roscoe fans. These people were damn near nuts! Over the last couple weeks of the playoffs they were bouncing all over the state... more than me. They would go to the girls game one night then to the boys game the next. The previous week when the girls were playing in Austin the boys were in Abilene in the regional tournament. A number of the fans went to games on Wednesday (in Cisco) got home at about 11pm only to get on a fan bus Thursday morning for the girls game in Austin, then back to Abilene on Friday, then Saturday morning at 8:30am, back in Austin, then leaving right after the game to rush to Abilene for the boys game which started at 2:30. So I guess just having the two boys games in Austin was a cake walk for them! Well, luckily the football coach's wife was shooting the game for the school and pointed me out to a couple of great fans. One of them, Archie Hunter (above), had only missed on game in the last 30 years, and that was because he had to take his wife to the doctor (I guess that's a fair enough excuse).
The only problem with having to shoot the fan story is it kind of took me out of the routine I get into when I shoot state, in that I couldn't go to the upper deck to shoot down on the basket like I normally do in the second quarter. The problem was it's a pain in the ass to fight the crowd to get up there and back. Plus, much of the time it takes getting back to the floor I needed to be doing interviews instead.
The other problem I had was the team they were playing was a bunch of street ballers. They didn't play a whole lot of defense which meant a lot of easy layups for the Plowboys... and a lot of the same shots for me. Luckily, I had enough to send 4-5 photos in, the good thing was having three cameras and being able to use my floor remote to allow for some different photos we have not yet run in print. I had been using the floor remote the week before and used some of the photos on the slideshows but none made it into print. That turned out to be my saving grace. We were able to use the wide shot of of one of the Roscoe players laying in a shot.
Friday was supposed to be spent shooting the team tennis event in Waco. However, since mother nature decided to schedule the first rains of the year it all got rained out, it was nice having a day off to do nothing, but it just meant more work for Saturday. Since we were already staying in Waco, we decided to leave early on Saturday morning for the basketball game which started at 8:30am. I mean, heck it was only an hour and a half as opposed to 4.5, so we got to sleep in... till 6am.
Saturday's game was a lot better, the other team played more defense and it was a lot more physical, which made for a lot of nice shots. On top of that, the game was great! It went to overtime. The best part about shooting a game like this is you know it is the last one, so your shot is most likely going to happen at the end of the game, everything else is just secondary. The other nice part is high school games, even in the big arenas still offer decent enough access to get out on the court after the game and there isn't as much of a scrum to get reaction shots of the winners. Roscoe won the game and with it being in overtime just made the emotions gush even more. The team, which was only seven players, piled on each other at mid-court then they ran over and lifted their coach on their shoulders. Both made pretty nice photos. We ended up using the ones of the coach being hosted by the players, I liked being able to see all the players different faces and varied emotions.
After getting all my game photos sent for the print edition and and web update right after the game we had to head up to Waco for tennis. They were playing an abbreviated format in order to get all four matches in during the day. Photo-wise there wasn't a whole lot that came out of the tennis, plus I was squeezed for time, since it took a while for the match to finally start after we got there and the shortened format made for the match to be over in just under an hour. But the highlight over the trip to Waco was was after we were done and went to eat. We were sitting at IHOP eating pancakes, when the writer I was with, Daniel's, eyes lit up. Standing at the counter was a woman dressed in full starfleet attire! Straight out of Star Trek, and then at her table were the rest of the crew, including one wearing Spock ears! I've seen plenty of people dressed in Star Wars garb, but never Trekkies, sadly I wasn't able to get a photo, but it made for a good laugh nonetheless.

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