Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Weathering the First Football Game of the Year...
Thursday night was finally the first football game of the year. After spending the last three weeks shooting everything that had to do with football, except the actual game, it was finally time to take the field and shoot an actual game. I was pretty excited since Shotwell Stadium, had just gotten new lights after the old ones, which were 50 years old, were removed after one of them blew over in high winds during the Spring. It's something that needed to be done years ago, the light was awful!
So as I'm driving to the game the clouds in the sky to the north were looking pretty dark. This happens a lot and the storm will go around the city or just blow over. But, as I was heading to the stadium the winds were really beginning to pick up. In the about 200 yards it was from my car to the gate the storm came in with a helluva fury. Then I noticed a group of students hanging on this tent with everything they had. It was both hilarious and scary at the same time. So here I am in a driving rain and pea-sized hail storm taking photos of a hundred or so idiots trying to keep this tent from flying away. Then I got to thinking who had less sense, them for all hanging on this giant lightning rod or me for putting my life and gear on the line to make a photo?!?
Well after I realized that the tent wasn't going to blow away and I was already soaked to the bone, I figured I needed to find some type of shelter from the rain, mainly to keep my gear from getting totally waterlogged and destroyed. This is the part where getting to know the people working at the stadium comes in. The gates were closed and no one was being allowed in, however, the ticket-taker who works the gate every week who knows me opened up just to let me in, while at the same time telling a group of about 10-15 people no one was being allowed in during the storm! My plan was originally to ride out the storm in the press box, but all the people who were in the stands were now under them and hiding in the walkways and anywhere else they could stay anywhere near semi-dry.
So, getting to the press box wasn't going to happen. But, again I saw one of the guys I knew who worked the stadium and motioned me into a room below the stands. Where, it turns out, the hospitality tent was moved. Not too bad, if I'm going to be stuck in a lightning delay, I might as well be stuck in a room with some good BBQ and cookies to munch on! As I was there I was also able to make a phone call back to the office and let them know I'd be sending weather photos back.
After the storm I went up to the press box to look for a spot to set up. It was a damn mad house in there, the press box leaks like crazy even with the lightest rains, so there were places where it was literally raining inside there. I decided to say screw it and just sit on a wall next to the ramp to the field and transmit. It turned out to be a great idea, as I was downloading one of my cards a rainbow formed right before the teams came back out to warm up. I grabbed a camera and ran down and banged off a few frames of the players stretching while framed by the rainbow. It made for a nice contrast of the rain photo from earlier.
Well, after all the weather and excitement before the game and the fact that the nationally televised game had been delayed for an hour, the actual game kind of sucked! The ACU defense looked really tough, but the offense was horrible, both of them were. I was able to make a few decent frames and the new lights were really nice! But, I was much happier with the stuff I got before the game than I was the stuff I got during the game!