Figured it was about time to update this thing.
Last week I went to Oklahoma City to cover the Florida softball team in the Women’s College World Series. I drove from Manhattan to OKC and arrived a few hours before the start of the final series… A best-of-three against Michigan.
The morning after that first game I visited the National Memorial. Pretty powerful to relive the events. I remember a lot of the coverage but learned a ton about the details surrounding the bombing, search, trial.. etc. Outside the museum I overheard a man talking about that day. I asked him a question about the layout of the neighborhood so I could get my bearings straight compared to the photos I’d seen. He pointed in the air to where his office was located inside the Federal Building. He said he got a call first thing in the morning to meet someone nearby. So he left the building at 8:30, the bombing happened at 9:01. He said it was very unusual for him to leave the office that early in the day. He chocked up while telling me his experiences.
The truck used in the bombing was rented a few miles from the house were I lived at the time. The museum had a section dedicated to Junction City, Kan. The town where he rented the truck and stayed a few nights at the Dreamland Motel. I remember news outlets at the time referring to the town as Grand Junction and I’d yell at the TV saying “It’s Junction City!”
The water flows along where 5th street passed in front of the building. The grass with the chairs is where the building stood. The chairs represent the lives lost in the bombing.
So now that I’ve successfully depressed everybody, lets get back to the National Championship.
Florida won the first game. Michigan evened the series in the second game. Then the Gators scored early in game three and never looked back on their way to winning their second straight National Championship. This is the third NCAA National Championship I’ve photographed. (LSU in football, UConn in Basketball)
This is my first time shooting the Gators winning a championship. So as Tim Casey says “The Matt Stamey curse on UF has ended.” Soon after moving to Gainesville, the football team went 6-6 and Urban Meyer quit. So the Stamey curse on UF has finally been lifted.
The team has all sorts of traditions they do before and during the game. I threw together a quick video highlighting a lot of what goes on in the dugout or field.
Finally, I should mention that I sparked quite the conversation among the photographers after knocking down a foul ball heading right at my face. I put up my hand to block it and didn’t think much of it until an NCAA staff member came into the photo pit to tell all the photographers to not use your hands to block the ball. But rather back up out of the way because “it was a playable ball.” Lots of problems with that since the pits are usually crowded and there’s no room to back up and when the national player of the year hits a foul ball at your face you don’t really think about backing up. You (I) instinctively put up your (my) hand. What made a lot of the photogs mad was the lady fussed us during that same at bat and not between innings. And of course that Player of the Year (Lauren Haeger) hits a home run to give UF the lead. Many photographers missed the swing. The message would have been just as loud and clear between innings and nobody would have been distracted from doing their job.
Sure, it’s wasn’t the hardest hit ball. But when I have nowhere to go I did what I needed to do to protect my face and gear. You be the judge.