Archive for September 9th, 2008




Last year I shot more than a few football games for the Sun Post News and the OC Register.  I covered mostly Triton football, my alma mater, and a few Dolphin football games and maybe some others like Trabuco Hills, Tesoro, Mission Viejo or Capo Valley.


Back in the day, I was not interested in Football and found the more solitary sports as more interesting.  Maybe I didn’t get it then but I get it now.


At first, not having shot football, there is a learning curve; what shots does the newspaper want and what shots can I get.  The haze of wonder and effort  or getting the shot fades and the game is revealed between the frames I shoot.


I see a team, moving forward together with one purpose; the human pushing forward to attain the goal.  Weeks of practice show in the faces of the players and their quievery arms and legs.  The coaches effort and hope show in their craning necks and taught lips as they hold back what they have shouted for the last few weeks; tension overcomes them and without thought they growl out their favorite orders and admonishments.

“…Hold’em back, guys…Run the ball…Is that all you’ve got?…”

“…What was that?…What happened?…Good Job….way to go…Hey Now…”


Listen up.


Inticial contact with the opposite team brings the real strategy.  Its all in the air until now and now its game time.  Offence, Defense, Attack and hold the line, whatever the case, the coaches pull the sergeants, soldiers and captains to the side for a conference on the board.  Not unlike generals, older and wiser and too brittle to fight, they corral and codger their resources in order to out manouver the other team.  Someone will win and someone will loose; its theirs for the taking and in not so many minutes they feel the pang of loss as a game slips away or the firm smile of victory they desperately try to hold back.


The generals and his advisers.


The general and his advisers stand tall, firm and white over their numbered soldiers.  Like some wise indian watching his enemy pass below him through the valley, the general looks over his arrows and chooses the perfect one for the job.  He calls his name, intoning some sort of brutal affection and calls him up; not wasting time, he gives him a final instruction and a swat as he sends him onto the field.  He expects that he should not come back until he has done what he has been asked. 


It is here, we see, the apex of effort built form so many weeks of drill, repeat and drill again.  Is it enough, what our team has done to conquer the other?  We wait and see and watch together, running each ball, blocking each tackle and reaching out to catch that long thrown pass; we can feel it at our own fingertips, that spinnning, warm and leathery ball.  If it falls from our players hand, we stand in the bleachers a galaxy away and when it lays tight in his hands and he falls to the ground upright and running, we are in his heart;  his shout is in our throats as he crosses the goal line. 


A game won or lost.


A game, won or lost, we will enjoy.  I saw for the first time this last year, a game I could not imagine I would enjoy.  Maybe it was always being so far away in the stands all this time, that I could not see the real emotion that four quarters of football can bring.


A game, won or lost, I enjoyed them all.



Five Blocks.

Stay tuned next week as this Saturday I will be covering Saddleback College Football for the Lariat News, Saddleback College’s School Newspaper.






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