In an effort to become a better writer I'm starting a blog. It will mostly be my take on the amateur teams I see and my photos, I may have a few hand-knit photos and stories as well.
My first seasons with the Dallas Ice Jets ended with a very difficult game three lose to the Texas Brahmas (or 'Texas' as the league likes to call them). One player was cut in the face and received a concussion, another with a hurt shoulder, and I watched another take a tough check and go to the box.
There I stood in my photo spot powerless to do anything about the outcome. As the clock wound down on the power play to the Brahmas in the last final minutes I stood there frozen, not shooting and hardly breathing, just waiting; waiting for a goal, waiting for some miracle to keep them in the playoff run. Sadly my wait was in vain.
As the clock ran down everything seemed to be in slow motion. Somehow I managed to raise my camera and take shots of my team. You can talk to 100 sports writers and photographers and they will probably all say the same thing, "There is nothing like watching the team you follow all season long go down in the playoffs." But they will also give you the sound advice to, "Keep going." This to me means there will always be great moments, like the SICK SAVE Tyler Hough made in the Pink In the Rink game, or the beautiful goal Chris Schutz scored (Can't remember which game but the goal was so great!), or the stellar passing between defensemen Bryan Siersma and Spencer Roth. But at the same time there will always be low moments. It’s the low moments that keep you employed in the NHL and AHL. Local newspapers love to see defeat. You learn best from defeat, even if you don't realize it at the time. On this day, at this game it took everything in my power to keep shooting.
So call me a girl, but we all know how hard it is to see the people you have grown to like as individuals so disappointed. "It comes with the job," says a Vancouver Canucks sports writer, "It's never easy, but it should never be easy if you are doing your job right."
So I shot, and I shot; and as my eyes welt up with tears I shot some more. In the beginning of every game you wonder if you can continue to shoot the loses, I answered my own question game three by shooting the young players' final moments.
The following photos are for any new sports writer or photographer still wondering if they made the right choice. At the end of the day the client will employ you to shoot the game and not get emotionally attached to the team. This is your job and the more you do it the better you become. I love those young men and everyday they make me want to write better and shoot better, for this I am grateful!
So lately I've been trying to get my writing mojo back. Most days it is just me writing by hand in one of my many journals trying to figure out why every word sucks so bad. At the end of the three hour journey I'm left with nothing but balled up sheets of paper I refuse to let anyone read. And Micheal is very little help as he is placing the soul reason for us not starting the pilot squarely on my losing the previous note we had on said pilot. Truth be told he is just as afraid as I am. Afraid or failing, afraid of succeeding, afraid of letting me in and have an amazing time while doing it...
At any rate I'm now more determined to start writing again, start living again, start waking up with a purpose, and more of a zest for life. The only way I know how to do this and get through it is to write. Not write well mind you, but just write. I found so many old drafts that I never posted. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe I thought they weren't good enough, maybe they weren't, but never posting them isn't really helping anyone. Not me, not the reader, and not my future as a writer.
I know this will be a long road but I need to get it back and keep it going. So my hope for 2018 is to blog. Blog about everything and nothing all at the same time. Blog until my hands bleed.
Are you ready for this journey? Well good. That makes one of us.
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.”
“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
I can't help but laugh at the mere thought of this question! The truth is photographing hockey is really no harder than playing hockey. If you have never played hockey the following quote will give you an idea of how challenging the sport is to play:
Is hockey hard? "I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner, and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us, oh yeah did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick? Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."
So to answer the question YES! Hockey is the hardest sport to shoot! You have some of the worst lighting conditions in any sport, some of the fastest moving players in any sport, if you are lucky you will see the puck in time to duck, and did I mention you can't use your flash without running the risk of blinding a player. Plus, when you are not moving around your hands and body will go numb from the cool temperature, as most rinks are kept very cold. Oh yeah and just about every time you try to shoot on the ice you slip trying to get the angle you want.
When I tell people I shoot sports I get a response like, “How cool! You get the watch games for free.” I wish I had the luxury of just watching the game. I have to shoot the guy with the puck, the guys without the puck, and the guy who is receiving the puck. And through all of this I have to make sure the shot is in focus, properly composed, and properly exposed.
To say shooting hockey is hard is an understatement! Most games I am lucky if I end up with five good shots.
But all the sports photographers I have met in my lifetime say hockey is their favorite sport to shoot. I must agree. I think it is the overall challenge that makes it so loveable.
Goaltender John Groth, of the Dallas Ice Jets, makes a glove save against the Texas Brahmas. A one-in-a-million shot that took me all season.