Usually, getting a photo request for a Friday night assignment isn't my favorite thing. It's the end of a long work week, and just like most of you I'd rather be home with my feet up, or out with friends enjoying a nice dinner. But I recently gave up those luxuries to shoot a high school basketball game.
Knowing that most high school varsity games start late, I'm a little impatient waiting for the main event. I mean you have warm ups, the introduction of players, nothing I can shoot, so I try to avoid all that by getting there at game time.
Last Friday night was no exception at Horizon Honors High School. The parking lot was packed and overflowed across the street. Students were being dropped off by their parents, and the smell of grilled burgers hung in the air. All sorts of things were happening around the busy charter school campus. The biggest though was the Homecoming basketball game between Horizon's boys basketball team and Northwest Christian.
I missed tip-off by about 90 seconds, but I didn't miss the crowd. The small gym was packed, students stood three to four deep at the doors of the gym. I had nowhere to go except to try to find another entrance.
Following some students I found another door, but with the same results, cheering students. Three minutes into the game I found myself sitting with my camera in my hand at the Horizon Eagles' end of the court.
Students and adults rocked the house, the small gym was electric. Throughout my career I've shot hundreds, if not thousands, of high school basketball games, but not one on a small court like this. Banners, cheerleaders and hollering fans made it one of the most enjoyable places to shoot a basketball game. I dare say Dr. James Naismith would be proud of their environment. The action on the court was fast-paced and action-packed. The game was back and forth, and as the Eagles came back late in the first half the students became even more alive.
I tend to ignore fans because I'm there to cover the action of the game, but I couldn't turn a deaf ear to them. There's so much negative made about teenagers these days in the media so it's nice to see some of our local teenagers having good, clean fun, cheering on their team with such spirit. As an outsider, it was really refreshing. If every Friday night assignment was as much fun as this one was, bring on the photo requests!
And a special note of thanks to the Eagle player who, while going for a loose ball, jumped over me and didn't kick me in the head. Thanks! Sorry I don't have your name, I was ducking for cover. I was once clipped by the Phoenix Suns' Tom Chambers and it didn't feel good then, and now that I'm much older I know it could be a lot worse.
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