Thursday, September 08, 2011
Sometimes you have to crawl up into the camera's eye-cup and forget everything else around you. Friday Night Football would NOT be one of those times. No, for something like that you need the speed of a cheetah, the thumb of a junkie and the situational awareness of a Navy Seal. I possess neither, but it didn't stop me from shocking sports fan across the land by showing up at my daughter's high school and shooting my first local football game in easily fifteen years. Those cats at NFL Films can relax. While I proudly stand behind all my highlights, a grasp of football's finer points would no doubt have clued me in as to where those jacked-up gladiators were gonna run to next. As it was, I followed the ball, threw up color bars at after every score and kept my balding head on a swivel. But as the above photo illustrates, danger abounds before those guys in tights ever take the field. Witness:
1) I'm surrounded by cheerleaders. High school cheerleaders. Now, I'm certain they're all nice girls, but it's a known fact that anyone who dons a cheerleader uniform is opening themselves up to zombie demonification. Not the kind of creatures you wanna turn your back on, even if they haven't enterfed the seventh circle of Hell just yet. Be it a brain-eating bloodbath or some daffy flash mob, it all feels the same when that cute little thing in the pig tails comes at you with a flying drop-kick.
2) There's a teenage volunteer firefighter at my feet and he's fondling an extinguisher. Normally I got mad respect for anyone who rocks the Neoprene for free, but this particular scenario makes be a bit itchy. After all, I was once a teenage volunteer firefighter and I did unspeakable things with far less intrusive station equipment. Therefore, I'm dedicating 45 percent of my peripheral vision to all the young dudes with chaw in their lips and pagers on their hips.
3) Vikings, Marauders, Cupcake Queens...whatever you call them, a speeding column of testosterone and shoulder pads is about to burst through that paper and make a beeline for yours truly. Okay, so most of them will pass me by, but once the game begins all bets are off. I have seen grown men with mortgages and crab-grass damn near crippled by a sixteen year old running back who's drunk on Twizzlers and pep talk. That might make for a decent Matthew McConaughey flick, but it ain't gonna be based on me.
In the end, I came away from my shift on the gridiron unscathed. There was even a bright among the stretches of tedium and moments of terror. After hearing "Hey Mr. Cameraman!" about two dozen times, I turned away from the game to see my own Freshman daughter among a group of girls. Amazingly, she waved me over and I followed with my fancycam, recording a wide swath of her whole group as they cheered for a game they really weren't watching. Hannah seemed pleased and before I returned to the sideline, she acknowledged to her posse that this slightly sweaty doofus before them was indeed her dear old Dad.
For THAT, I'll dodge a thousand flying drop-kicks.