I love shooting the Viking XC Opener. This year ... in addition to the great competition, Kim Conley, Olympian from Montgomery High Schoo, attended to support her former team and to recognized Bob Shor. I was asked to take a team photo with Kim and the Montgomery team. Great day ...
One of the best things about Cross Country (XC) is that the fans are very close to the action. In meets all year, including league finals, there are no barriers keeping fans off the course. Having said that, every XC season, I find myself muttering under my breath because of fans walking in front of me or worse, moving in front of me and standing there.
I know that I am not a tall individual. But, I am not small. And, I have a large camera with a large lens attached. If you are paying attention at all, you should notice me.
I can’t imagine how I would feel if I was a parent trying to get a photo of my kid.
There are critical moments in sports. As a sports photographer, I am looking for those moments to tell a story about the event … a season … an athlete. It is very frustrating when someone who is oblivious or worse, just rude, blocks a shot that is part of the story.
So, if you are at a XC meet … pay attention. Pay attention to the kids running and where the course is laid out. Don’t get in the way! Look behind you when you move … to see if you are stepping in the way of someone trying to take a photo. Try to emulate the way the XC athletes handle themselves. They display some of the best sportsmanship you will ever see.
An enjoyable and busy week. Started with a volley ball match on Wednesday ... then a double header on Friday with the inaugural Bob Shor XC Invitational leading off, and then a drive north to Cloverdale for a football game between Berean Christian and Cloverdale High.
Last year, HHS hired a new girls basketball coach. He is gone ... unfortunately, during his one year, he treated some young ladies very badly and robbed one young lady of a year of basketball. This young lady was on the court for the volley ball matches and I got to hang out and talk with her parents. I heard that coaches from other schools commented on her absence from the HHS Basketball team. They shared that they had been game planning about how to deal with her and were surprised to hear she wasn't on the team. They encouraged her to keep playing. I am looking forward to the basketball season so I can once again enjoy watching her compete.
The XC meet was bitter sweet. It was great to be at Spring Lake again. I was touched by the words of Coach Doug in recognizing Bob Shor. I know he acted as the starter with a heavy heart. I got to hang out with Carrie and Grace ... I think I got a photo of Coach Carrie Joseph's daughter running her first high school XC meet (at least I hope so) ... but I missed my photo buddy Thomas Benjamin. Hoping he can overcome his health issues and that we can hang out this XC season.
Finally, I thought that Rec Park (prior to their recent upgrade) had the worst possible lighting for a football field. There were actually "black holes" on the field. Unfortunately, Cloverdale High proved me wrong. Another photographer said the lighting on the field was like "candle light." I always enjoy shooting events in Cloverdale ... photographed little league and track/field. The folks are very nice. No difference for the football game ... felt welcomed. However, in order to get usable photos, I had to push my ISO to 20,000! The digital noise was significant. I had to push the noise reduction to the limits in post processing ...
The photos below represent my week. Time well spent.
Gary Randolph graduated from Healdsburg High in 2011 with a impressive sports resume. He went on to compete in college. He was a classmate of my son Mack ... a great young man. Jim Crowhurst shared a story about Gary competing on the world stage in a special event. Check it out. You can use the Redwood Empire Running link in navigation above.
I am really excited. Next week I plan to shoot a volley ball match and the first XC meet of the season. In preparation for the XC season, Jim Crowhurst published a list of the returning runners from last year's All Empire Teams.
Check them out at Redwood Empire Running.
I was planning that my next post would be shots from a Healdsburg tennis match or a XC meet. Unfortunately, Bob Shor passed away. Bob was an icon in Sonoma County Track and XC. He has been battling cancer for the last 6 months. Check out Jim Crowhurst's blog, Redwood Empire Running for a number of remembrances from folks who knew and loved Bob. I will miss Bob very much. For me, there was a rhythm to the fall and spring that began with the first meets ... I'd show up ... check out the track or starting area ... I'd see the coaches talking to their athletes ... see the kids warming up ... and I'd see Bob setting up his equipment, preparing for the event. He was a part of the fabric of track and XC for me.
Bob could be gruff. Some might remember him as the stater who yelled at the kids. And yes, that was a part of who Bob was. But he was so much more. Three stories from my own experience ...
Story 1: I was getting ready to referee a winter league soccer match at Santa Rosa High's field. I noticed Bob walking around the track ... cleaning stuff up ... pulling weeds. I knew who he was from the meets I'd attended to watch my son Phil compete. So, I jogged over to him and introduced myself. I said I was a parent of a track athlete and I appreciated his contribution to track in our area. He was quiet ... maybe a little embarrassed. He asked who my son was. He remembered Phil. Again I thanked him ...
Story 2: It was at a Big Cat meet. Bob was starting the 200m. I was hanging out near the timers area, waiting to shoot the kids coming down the final straight. I heard Bob yell ... "Guy with the camera! Get down or out of the way!" I was mortified. I prided myself in staying out of the way ... being aware ... knowing where to stand! I had been caught out. Two kids (the Johnson twins) ran up to me and asked, "was Bob yelling at you?" I sheepishly said "yes." They hugged me and said, "you are one of us now!" Bob Shor was a right of passage for many kids. Phil talked about him ... complained about him ... ran his best times when Bob was the starter ... See the stories shared by athletes and coaches at Redwood Empire Running to see Bob's impact and to understand all he contributed.
Story 3: I was shooting a 1600m race at the Viking Track Classic. I was standing in lane 3 as the kids came down to the finishing line. It was a sprint finish. Several runners swung wide into the 3rd lane. I saw the kids swing out and started to back up and move out to lane 4. I felt a hand on my shoulder moving me back and wide. I kept shooting. After the kids ran past me, I turned and there was Bob. He said, "I was concerned you'd get in the way. Make sure you stay back." I said, "I saw them and was backing up and out. I knew I needed to move. Thanks." Now, I think Bob didn't yell at me cause he was worried about distracting the kids sprinting to the finish. He wouldn't want to interfere ... and, I like to think he'd gotten to know me a little ... and was being gentle with me. He was like that. Going to miss you Bob.
Greg Clementi, Sports Editor for Sonoma West Publishers, asked me to shoot an all star game between Petaluma and Healdsburg. It was a wild game ... a lot of scoring ... multiple errors ... a controversial balk call ... ended in a walk off score by Petaluma. Check out my Flickr Albums link to see all the photos I posted.