Wednesday, February 1, 2012

High Flying Hoops

     Tuesday was a good night in the PAC-10 basketball world. For one team anyway. The game was held at Pottstown High with the Trojans hosting Pope John Paul II. It was a barn burner. With Pottstown still in the running for a post season playoff spot in the PAC-10 final four, the game was intense and fast-paced.
     Over the winter we basically cover three sports - basketball, wrestling and swimming. So after a while, it can feel like you're photographing the same thing over and over again. But when the games starting taking on more significance in the standings and teams are running and gunning it's likely the photos I shoot will prove to be more interesting and exciting. I took a good shot at last nights game that I'm really happy with. The photo attached is of Pottstown's high flying Elijah Jackson soaring over PJP's Jamel Stinson. Pottstown won the close game by a score of 39-37 and the post season is within their grasp with a couple more wins. Pope John Paul II are a lock for playoffs if they can close out the season with a win.
     After numerous years and seasons covering sports, I still enjoy going out and seeing teens battle on the courts and playing fields. It isn't difficult shooting sports and it does help to have a working knowledge of the games. It's crowded on the basketball floor with ten players and three refs stuffed on half the court. Looking through the lens following the ball can get you bugged eyed after a while. And it seems like I always have a ref in my viewfinder taking pictures from under the basket.
     I can appreciate the dead eye gunners who drop in the three pointers from outside the arc, but for me, I go for the players who have to mix it up for rebounds and pounding it inside for a hard earned two points. That is where I get my best basketball photos.
     I've always enjoyed playing hoops since I was kid bouncing a basketball along the sidewalks in town. I used to watch church league games held at the Northern Junior High, now called the Pottstown Middle School. The young kids got a chance to watch older guys play and at half time they'd let us shoot around until getting back on the floor. I have been to many high school games probably seeing my first as a young teenager. Working at the Mercury I have followed games from the Ches-Mont League to this day in the PAC-10.
      I wasn't good enough or dedicated enough to play on the high school team but I enjoyed many a day on the asphalt court at Franklin Elementary School. It seemed like we'd play all day long, games to one hundred a point at a time. The guys would run the rubber off the soles of their sneakers and burn the skins off of knees. Basketballs were rubbed smooth by the constant dribbling on that rough court. The kid who brought the best basketball always got to play whether he was any good or not.
     I'm looking forward to the high school playoffs. There are some really skilled players that should provide some court side drama on the floors across The Mercury's coverage area. And if you get a chance, take in a game now and then. It would be nice to see the stands filled again and I'm sure the players would appreciate it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow John, great photo. You captured the moment perfectly, and as a former player I'm happy to see the team fighting hard.