Attacked at a game
Last Friday I became a road warrior to cover as many games as possible since it was the final week of the regular season. For many young athletes it would be the last time that they would be on a field in uniform playing the game that they worked so hard on for most of their young lives. I wanted to capture as many of those moments that I could for these athletes. As I blitzed from my regular day job I traveled to the town of Abbeville to capture the Westgate Tigers take on the Abbeville Wildcats. I got there just in time as the team was huddling up and the Seniors began to motivate their teammates while trying to handle their own emotions as they faced what is possibly their last game. As the team charged through their banner and ran to the sideline everyone began to get fired up for the last regular season Friday night under the lights at Wildcat Stadium. As the team lined up for the prayer and the National Anthem the attack began. Players could not hold their composure, parents looked frantically for protection, as the attack began. Players began to move to fight off the attack even while trying to pay their respects to the flag. Who was this enemy you may ask? It was a swarm of GNATS. It was horrible! As anyone who has dealt with this before knows these things are relentless in their attack. They were everywhere!!! You could not get away from them. They made just standing there almost unbearable. But as the kickoff flew through the air every knew that they had a job to do and nothing should get in the way of getting the job done, myself included. So the players began their fight in the warmth of the South Louisiana light. The cheerleaders cheered (maybe not as loud as usual since no one wants to swallow one of those gnats). The dance team danced (with a little extra pep). The band played and the color guard showed their artistry with their flags (I think that helped to keep the bugs off of them). I looked around and thought the attack did not work. This team did not falter in keeping their focus on what lies ahead of them. If they can keep their focus then so should I. So I began to fire away, taking pictures and swatting gnats trying to capture every moment possible for these athletes before heading to stop number two.
My second stop brought me to New Iberia Senior High School as the yellow jackets took on the Wrecking Rams of Acadiana High. As I was driving to Nish I was still fighting gnats. I was very lucky there were no police officers watching for speeders because I would have been pulled over and checked for drunk driving just swatting gnats. I tried to arrive in time to catch pictures of the band but they were walking off the field at my arrival. One look at the scoreboard told this would not be a happy game for the Yellow Jackets as the rams had a huge lead. But we teach these athletes to never give up, like the gnat that was still crawling on me. URRRGH!!!!!. Anyway, pictures need to be taken. As the second half begins I begin shooting seeing many athletes that I have had the pleasure of coaching in this and other sports. It is very weird to see these young boys grow into young men right in front of you. It was here that I captured a great moment as Alex Matthews was on the sideline focused on the game I snapped a shot of him. In this picture there are so many questions that you can see. What is going through his mind. This may be his last time on a football field. His last game as a yellow jacket. What does his future hold?
I knew that this had to go into my glory pictures series. I hope that Alex accomplishes everything that he wants in life. He is a great young man and an outstanding athlete. As I turn to get more game pics, here comes a player being forced out of bounds right at me. I turn very quickly and swing the camera out of the way as a pile of players pile up right in front of me. I believe this is my reminder that I have another game to go to. One more stop to go.
Last stop for the night put me at Highland Baptist Christian School as they took on Centerville. It was Highland's homecoming and everyone was in a very spirited demeanor. Why not, the Bears were taking care of business to finish out their season. They were also looking forward to the playoffs. Everyone was watching Bronte Griffin run through the defense like a hot knife through butter.
Griffin should easily be playing football somewhere soon. I took as many pictures as possible with the little time that was left in the game. As I climbed into my truck ready to head home and begin loading pictures onto the website I felt something that felt strange. I knew I felt this feeling before. I also knew that what was happening just couldn't be happening right now. I looked down and their it was just staring at me, probably with a smirk, my arch enemy for the night. Game on Mr. GNAT. I will defeat you!!!!!!!!
Keywords: 2017, Abbeville, Acadiana, Centerville, Highland Baptist, NISH, New Iberia, Westage, football, high school
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