A couple of days ago I posted about this site being five years old. I am sort of proud of the fact that I made it this long. I don’t consider myself a sportswriter, and I am far away from being a sports photographer. For some reason (a fact that boggles me) people come to this site to read what I have to say and to look at my pictures. If you take enough pictures over a five year span you are bound to accidentally take a few good ones. Here are the ten pictures that came to mind when I thought of the ten best in that span. I may have left a few out so if you have a favorite that I missed let me know.
10. This may not be the best picture that I have ever taken, but it is one of my favorites nonetheless. The Purdue Women’s Basketball team was on a high note last season when they beat Depaul at home to win the WNIT preseason tournament. The team was on cloud nine thinking about how good things could be, and also the great trip ahead of them over the holiday weekend. That all came crashing down when Drey Mingo was diagnosed with meningitis. I had a seat right by the tunnel in Mackey so I got to see the players as they left the court. Drey was hugging the trophy as she left, and I thought it would be a great picture. When her condition was unknown a couple of days later I kept looking at this picture pondering how quickly things can change. For that reason it makes it onto this list.
9. This picture of Keady Court being stormed has to be high on the list. I ended up on the court, but for some reason I like this panoramic of the court being stormed. Purdue was on the rise, and this win against Wisconsin started a great run for the team. A key block by Robbie Hummel sealed the deal, and Purdue had a huge win on their hands. This was a great day that makes up for the poor picture.
8. This picture is not of any athletes, but it was much harder to get. In 2010 I was in Chicago to see the Braves take on the White Sox. As was the norm for the season a rain delay made my night even longer than it should have been. Instead of sleeping which I wanted to do during the delay I took my camera out. I was under the second deck of the stadium and out of the elements so I could take some pictures. I was lucky enough to capture this one of the lightning over the stadium.
7. This picture makes the countdown because of the situation at the time. Gordon Beckham was making a quick rise to the majors when I snapped this picture of him as a member of the Charlotte Knights. I traveled to Toledo to see the Knights for the Sox prospects, but mostly to see this phenom play. It may not be the most crisp picture that I have ever taken, but I love it just the same.
6. In 2009 I was convinced that the Purdue slogan for the year (One) was also a prediction of how many wins that team would get. Things were looking bad for them. They were 1-5 and playing Ohio State who came in undefeated and the #7 team in the country. Somehow Purdue pulled the major upset sending the fans onto the field at Ross Ade Stadium. I have many good pictures from that day, but I love this one of one of the stars of the game Brandon King getting interviewed on the field. If that wasn’t cool enough the final score is on the scoreboard in the background. This probably could be higher than #6 for sure, but at this point just being in the top ten is pretty cool.
5. In 2009 I made my first (and only so far) trip to Lambeau Field to see the Packers play. Of course I picked the week that Brett Favre was coming back as a member of the Vikings. It was a great day that should have ended with a Packer win. Instead Favre threw for four touchdowns included a pass to Bernard Berrian. Here he is shown celebrating with Bernard as Percy Harvin lets the Packer faithful know just how good Favre is.
4. I had a lot of camera issues last season when Purdue hosted Michigan at Ross Ade Stadium. The heavy rain probablyshould have killed my camera, but as luck would have it the camera made it through the day. I did end up with moisture in my long lens, but thankfully it was after I took this picture of Ricardo Allen. Raindrops on my lens already were messing with me. Ricardo picked the ball off on the six yard line, and for the next 93 yards my camera would not focus right because of the rain on the lens. For some reason it came into focus and I got this picture of Purdue Pete escorting Allen into the end zone. I am glad that it focused when it did because I love this picture. Allen is only a sophomore this season so maybe I can get some more great pictures of him before he leaves for the NFL.
3. It seems as if I did some of my best work in 2006 for some reason. Being a former Slicer I understand just how much a great winning season could mean to the community. For years the football team went into the playoffs with the knowledge that the program historically could not win. Every year it seemed like the team added to that misery. In 2006 it seemed like everything fell in place for the team. I had my new camera and was having fun trying it out under the lights that season. I got to learn how to shoot at night while the team learned how to win. This picture really should never have happened. I had tickets to see Jeff Dunham in South Bend the night of this game. I love the comedian so I had bought the tickets way in advance. The weather then stepped in to help me out. During halftime a bad storm rolled in to delay the game. I found out about this on the way home. I wanted to see my team play for the regional championship so I quickly made my way to Kiwanis Field to see the second half. On a muddy track the Slicers made history. For the second week in a row they beat a top 6 team in the state, and for the first time in years they were headed to semistate. This picture was of Coach Bob Schellinger telling his team how the fans helped them win. I liked how it looked so I named the picture This Way to Carmel! where the team was headed the next week. After a long night the team deserved the reception the crowd gave them shortly after this picture was taken.
2. Of course this picture has to be number one…right? A pretty decent picture of Kramer sending Purdue to the Sweet Sixteen has to be at the top. While I was thinking about this post I knew that this would be the top picture. As I wrote it though I realized that this was not my favorite. I really was lucky when I snapped this shot of Chris Kramer laying in the game winner in overtime to beat Texas A&M. At the last minute I made the trip to Washington to see Purdue in the first two rounds of the tourney. With the Sweet 16 on the line in overtime I was shaking with nervous energy. Instead of sitting there I picked up my camera to shoot a few pictures. As luck would have it I caught Kramer putting the game winner up. This is one of my favorite sport pictures that I have taken.
1. In 2006 I found myself at quite a few Grand Valley State Laker football games. I ended up seeing them a few times during the regular season, and then with the Purdue season over I followed them throughout the playoffs. That led my to Alabama to see them play for the D2 Championship. When they won I went down on the field to get a few good pictures. For some reason the players really seemed to be playing to my camera. They must have mistook me for someone important. I love this picture because it represents everything that is great about college sports. These two worked hard to get up on that stage, and they are soaking up every bit of the victory that they can. It is so simple, but almost five years later I still love this image. This is what I try and do everytime I get my camera out, and I have rarely reached this level again.
After picking out the ten pictures for the post I thought of others. I am sure that I have left some out. I might have also put a couple pictures in just to get teams that I cheer for in this countdown. With the amount of pictures that I take it is an overwhelming task to pick out the top ten for any given year. To pick out ten from five years proved to be a tough task.
What will the next five years bring? I have a new camera that is quite a bit better than my old one. I am still learning things to make my pictures better. I thought that I had an easy job picking these pictures out, but I found many that I would have liked to post. Hopefully my job is much harder in 2016 when I revisit this post.