Monday, September 16, 2013

Chief Osceola and Renegade

One of the more impressive sports mascots at any level is FSU's Chief Osceola and his trusty companion Renegade.  As you would expect, Osceola is actually a student.  He gets painted up a couple of hours before game time in the concourse under the north end zone.  Renegade (secret... there are actually two) has his stall(s) in the same place.

Before each home game, Osceola and Renegade gallup out on the field and whip the crowd into a frenzy...

 ... before Osceola throws his flaming spear into the grass at midfield.

Certainly, Chief Osceola is one of the most technically competent mascots.  How many mascots out there can ride a bucking horse bareback?!  I'm impressed!

You can see more of Chief Osceola in the football galleries at where it's all about the photos!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Call for Sportsmanship

I usually try to keep commentary to a bare minimum and let the pictures do the talking, but for this article, I'm going to break from tradition and engage in some opinion journalism.

In my position as a photographer, during football games I get a glimpse of much of the behind-the-scenes happenings at games.  There are few places to which I don't have access before, during and after games, and I generally take liberal advantage of that fact in my search for material... and because it's just plain interesting.

In most NFL stadiums, the lower concourse is closed to the public.  It's reserved for the player locker rooms, medical facilities, security, media and the general comings and goings of those involved in putting on the games.  The atmosphere in these restricted concourses is very business-like and professional.

When the athletes, particularly the visiting team, emerge from the bowels of the stadium to the field, the transformation in atmosphere is sudden and severe.  It's like getting beamed by Scotty into a hostile world where complete strangers hurl the most abusive epitaphs imaginable at you, and for no better reason than you're wearing the wrong color jersey.  

Folks, it's irrational and embarrassing... for you, for your school, for your town, for your parents, and for the species as a whole.  You wouldn't talk to anyone else that way... a friend, a stranger, not even an adversary.  The only reason you even consider doing it at a football game is that wall between you and the athletes, that and the knowledge that if an athlete jumped over that wall and gave you pummeling you so richly deserved, that society would blame the athlete instead of you.

What has happened to sportsmanship?  When I grew up, playing under the wooden bleachers at Florida Field, no one booed the opposing team when they took the field.  The "Gatorbait" chant existed back then, but that's pretty harmless.  The band used to play the opposing team's fight song during pre-game in a gesture of goodwill to visiting fans (kudos to FSU's band for continuing this tradition).

There is so much more honor in wishing a competitor well, or congratulating a winner for a good game, or a loser for a hard fought contest.  Not only does it make them feel good... it makes you feel good too.  Do you go home after the game and tell yourself, "Man, I really put that stranger in his place with my blistering tongue."  If you do, let me assure you that you'll think differently of your actions in a few years.  You'll look back in introspection and embarrassment, wishing you had kept your mouth shut, or had something more encouraging to say.  You'll wish you could go back and say it differently, but you can't.  And you can't remove the hurt you've caused to the targets of your indiscretion.

Think about what you say at a game.  Don't look at the other team as the enemy... look a them as friends that are providing you with an afternoon of entertainment.  And please remember...

It's just a game.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monday Night Football

The opening game of the season for FSU was Monday Night Football at Heinz Field.  Can't beat that with a stick!  What atmosphere!  I couldn't help thinking about the greats that had walked the tunnels and sidelines that I was privileged to walk Monday.

The whole night was just plain fun... unless you were a Panther fan, and even they had fun for a while.

This is first game I've shot with the new long lens (spring game doesn't count), so I warmed up along with the players before the game with some practice shots.  I love warm-ups because you know where they're going to be... kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

Here are Bryan Stork and Jameis Winston at work in their first game together.  They looked pretty in tune with one another.  Bryan walked by me in the tunnel before the game during the rain delay... he's a lot of man.  Check out the game program for the Nevada game... I think this photo will be in it.

How about this hit on Rashad Greene.  Pretty near took his hat off just from the inertia of the hit.  But, hey... he held on to the ball.   Youch!

Here's an amusing shot of Lamarcus Joyner.  What's that look say to you?  "I'm about to have me some quarterback for dinner!"  (and he did).

And here's something you don't see every day... Bryan Stork doing Greene presses for his nightly workout.  How many reps of those do you think he does?

It was a good start to the season.  Nevada is up in a couple of weekends for the first home game.  I'll be there shooting.

See more of this game here:

See much more at where it's all about the photos!

Monday, September 2, 2013

UNF 110% Cross Country Meet

I had a surprise event pop up on the calendar.  For some reason, I hadn't looked at the updated UNF sports schedule, and in a conversation with the Track SID, he asked if I would be at this meet.  I said, "What meet?"  Clueless!  I was getting all the gear ready for Monday Night Football in Pittsburgh, so I threw a camera in the car and headed out to UNF.

The meet was a small affair, but fun.  And I got a chance to warm up the camera for Monday night.  Here are a few pics...

Here's Chris Haynes, out in front on the home stretch.  Unintentionally, I just happened to catch his Mother in the background happily snapping away at her winning son:

And the rest of the UNF pack just behind Chris...

On the Ladies side,  the UNF pack started strong, here headed into the wilderness shortly after the start:

But coming out of the woods, JU was in the lead and took the first place finish.  Here's the winner out in front on the home stretch (nice light):

Here's the Ladies 1,2,3 finish... JU, UNF, FAMU.  Congrats Ladies:

See more of this meet here:

See much more at where it's all about the photos!