Thursday, November 25, 2010


You know what I'm thankful for? Crying volleyball players.

Crying volleyball girls above the fold on A1, however, makes me giddy. Let me explain.

I don't mean to be heartless. I truly wish things had turned out better for them. This was the King volleyball team's first time to make it to the state tournament, and they did it with a first-year head coach. It was a big deal for the team and the school. The two days leading up to the tournament the girls were front-page news. Many expected them to take the whole thing home, including some of our editors, who planned the front-page package around the girls celebrating in the opening round of the state tournament. But we all know what happens when you make plans.

The team was playing the late game of the day, so the editors decided that win or lose, volleyball would be the dominate package on the front page. The pressure was on. I was shooting a sport I rarely cover, plus live tweeting scores during each time out. Mix that with the regular deadline pressure and the expectations for some good A1 photos. The whole game was a blur. A chaotic, pressure-filled, fantastic blur.

When I shot the top image of the girls crying, arms linked with the scoreboard behind them, I felt like I nailed it. It's a feeling that I don't get very often. My worry, though, was that the photo wouldn't see the light of day. I knew it would run online, but there is some hesitancy at the paper to run pictures of high school athletes crying, especially on the front page. The night editor confirmed my fears when we talked on the phone. She liked the photo, but she just didn't think it would fly. I offered up some alternative photos and hung up the phone, thinking the picture of the girls crying under the scoreboard was done for.

So once I got back into town and finally saw the front page the next afternoon, I was very surprised. Surprised it ran dominant on the front page, yes, but I was more surprised how excited I got. After working in newspapers for nearly a decade, it makes me feel good that I can still get excited about seeing my work in print. I was excited to find out that the night editor fought for my photo. She stood up for good photography, and I am so very thankful I work at a paper that is still willing to do that. Most of all, I was thankful that there are still dedicated and talented people, from editors to designers to photographers, who still have a passion for putting out a good product.

I'll be honest, some days at work are not so good. Some days I wonder what I'm still doing in this field plagued with uncertainty. Some days I wonder if my work means anything. Not so on this day. So thank you, King volleyball girls, for giving me this great photo. On this day, I was know I was right where I should be.