Just getting home at 1AM from Philadelphia after covering my second ARMY - NAVY Game on Saturday. I'll post a slideshow of my take on the game later today, complete with more on the weekend of preparation, notes & thoughts on covering this football rivalry between the two service academies.
OK, Here goes: My day for covering a 12-noon game like this starts with a 6AM wakeup & hotel checkout by 7AM (at left). Fortunately we weren't too far from the ballpark this year. (Actually, this stadium is really close to the airport, and I remember thinking how that might've been a well-deserved alternative in better financial times.) I like to arrive at the stadium before 8AM, especially working in a venue I've never been to previously, get thru press gate security; which means having every piece of gear x-rayed, just like at the airports, and find the photographer's field level pressroom. Hustle to get to the top of the stadium to install my remote camera for the fisheye view of the whole stadium; particularly when the cadets and midshipmen fill the field in full company formations, starting around 9:15AM. Yea, that's still 3 full hours before game time. This game meant a lot - particularly for a former U.S. Marine like me. Not because it was my second Army-Navy game, after Navy's rout of Army in Baltimore last year. Not because it marked the official end of football season coverage for me. Not because POTUS was going to be there. (POTUS: President of the United States. - more of that coverage later.) Not because I was again looking forward to installing a remote camera in another pro stadium. (The game was played this year in Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, and it's just an exceptional ballpark to watch & work a game.)
I guess it was a culmination of all the work this season covering games, practices, press conferences and the like. I was beginning to feel as though a great weight had been lifted from shoulders as I arrived in the photographer's workroom just after 8AM. I knew this was going to be it for me. I was sure I had my "A-Game" tucked away beneath the multiple layers I was wearing. Surely had enough practice traveling & dressing for cold weather games the previous two weekends. Regardless of the outcome of the game - I was there again to photograph an extremely important sporting event. The butterflies in my stomach never made an appearance, which was a surprising good sign.
Here's my edited take on the game:
*(Use the arrows at the bottom of the player or click the image to scroll forward through the slideshow. Enable full screen viewing by clicking the 4-way arrow icon above the credits button at lower right of the player. )