I have been running around and staying up too late the last few weekends covering the state winter sports tournaments, primarily at the Tacoma Dome. The true fun of this job for me is covering a wide array of sports. Once the state tournaments begin I get to run from one sport to the another, sending my crazy-person meter into the zippy zone.
I am most fortunate to be able to shoot photographs for a number of Sound Publishing newspapers, which means I may be covering Class 2A, 3A and 4A in one day.
A couple of weeks ago, I shot wrestling, gymnastics and district (I think… can’t remember) basketball on a Saturday.
The Mat Classic wrestling tournament lived up to its name once again. Enumclaw’s run for the top team spot was the talk in the press room.
Press boxes have changed through the years, but there is still the frantic, chaotic buzz inside those rooms that is addicting.
While the Mat Classic is rolling, state gymnastics is happening at the same time in Dome’s the Exhibition Hall, which increases the chaotic spin while reporters and shooters run back and forth trying to time who is where and when.
Gymnastics is one of my favorites to shoot. It is challenging and, unfortunately, the lighting at the Dome is mediocre at best.
Every year I marvel at the athleticism of gymnasts. There are times it still stops me and I forget to press the shoot button.
The stretching exercises those girls do before competition would punch my ticket to the morgue. I couldn’t get on the beam without a ladder, much less walk on the thing.
I have asked the WIAA to give gymnasts and wrestlers separate weekends for the state tournament.
One group or the other gets shorted because many newspapers these days don’t have the staff to cover both properly and, in my experience, many publications short gymnastics. That’s a shame. Those girls deserve the spotlight. The work they put in to reach a competitive level, and still go to school, is daunting.
Last weekend I was covering 4A basketball for the south sound papers.
Unfortunately the White River girls were playing in Yakima. I needed a Dr. Strange cape so I could make the commute between Yakima and Tacoma. I’ll check eBay.
Those gymnastic, wrestling and basketball kids must be keeping me upright and running. After all the years there is still nothing like shooting a gymnast hitting the vault knowing it has to be perfect to get the gold, the physical intensity of wrestlers in the final ticks of a title match and a last second jumper hitting nothing but net.
It is now Monday – I am at the office, I know my name and I am as normal as ever… although it will take a few extra pounds of product to keep my hairstyle in place.
The good news is spring sports have arrived.