Thursday, May 27, 2010

It pays to pay attention

While growing up in Japan and taking pictures at a high school football game, a Pacific Stars and Stripes staff photographer, pulled me aside and told me, “Jim, not all the important action happens between the 40-yard lines.” From that period on, I was always on the lookout for game telling photos, whether they were on the field or sidelines.

Covering a state high school West Central District playoff game between Sumner and Central Kitsap, I noticed, most of the first base calls went in favor of Sumner. One a few occasions the Central Kitsap coach called time come over and to argue his point, but to no avail.

Next time Central Kitsap came up to bat, the head coach moved from his normal third base position to first base and I knew it would be a matter of time before heated words would be exchange between him and the umpire.

A few innings later, one of the Central Kitsap players, who had taken a large lead-off from first base, was picked off on a throw from the Sumner catcher to his first baseman. Watching from my photographic vantage point near the first base line, I thought that the runner was clearly safe in returning to the bag, and so did the coach, but the umpire thought otherwise. And that’s when the fireworks started.

When the argument started, I trained my lens on both men, as they got closer and closer together, the words became more heated and the pictures keep getting better and better. Pretty soon, the CK coached moved in so close that the bill of his hat was touching underneath the umpires’ hat. As the discussion centered on the multitude of questionable calls made by this umpire.

As the veins on the coach’s neck popped out and I knew it was just a matter of seconds before the coach was ejected from the game. I got my picture; he did in fact get booted and spent the remainder of the game, watching his team come from behind to win, sitting in a lawn chair outside the center field fence.

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