Is that not quite a sight? Talk about eye candy. Sorry, guys. I am not talking about the Texas dance team bouncing around in their chaps. No, ladies. I am also not talking about that stud Nick Krug, the Lawrence Journal-World photographer, strolling the sidelines. The visual delight is that open lane you can see between all the tight behinds. That lane looks pretty darn hot to any sports photographer shooting college football games in Austin, Texas.
Before the kickoff of last Saturday’s KU football game at Texas, an official walked past the row of photographers on one end of the KU sideline.
“If a cheerleader or anyone else gets in your way, just let me or an official know. We will take care of it,” he said to my amazement.
Usually, officials are telling us where we cannot go and how we cannot get in the cheerleaders’ way. Even at schools that adopt the two-line system such as Texas, rarely is any effort made to control the cheerleaders, wandering coaches, arrogant administrators and freeloaders allowed to wander the sidelines because of the cash vein in their pockets the athletic departments want to tap.
Not at Texas. When the school switched from a grass surface to Field Turf, officials were clearly charged with enforcing the spacing rules outlined by the two lines. That little space afforded us is where photographers work. For the four hours we are on those sidelines, that is our office.
Imagine a group of photographers coming to your work place to just stand, chat or cheer while constantly getting in your way as you try to work. Over the many years I have photographed football, expanding bench areas dramatically shrank our work area. Any help is greatly appreciated.
A football game at Texas is always unique. Everything has to be done in a very “big” way. Generally, that wears on me by game’s end, but not Saturday. Never have I enjoyed shooting a game at one of college football’s mega-programs as much as I did Saturday. The officials fervently kept their promise, even chasing KU’s director of athletics, other administrators and KU quarterback legends John Hadl and Todd Reesing out of the photographer’s work area.
It would be too “big” a hope to think KU and other schools would do the same, but it was nice to dream while working the game in peace. If I had a 10-gallon cowboy hat to tip to Texas, I would.