I Admit it – Football is Fun to Shoot

The Calgary Stampeders’ Jabari Arthur dives for a reception in front of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ James Patrick
during the second quarter of their CFL game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
Football isn’t my sport. Or should I say north American football isn’t my sport. I prefer my football of ‘the beautiful game’ variety. I’m a soccer fan.

I understand how the Canadian Football League game, and that of its even popular brother the NFL, is played. I appreciate the skills required. I can appreciate the athleticism needed to play it. I know the amount of effort put into the tactics, by players and coaching staff alike.

But football has too many things working against it to ever hold my interest as a spectator.

There are the 3 minute stoppages in play for television commercial breaks, in my eyes destroying any rhythm or flow to the game. A game can take around two and a half hours to play out despite the fact that it starts with one hour on the clock. That’s an hour and a half of nothing happening – far too much wasted time for me. It’s name even puzzles me – only one or two of the extremely specialized 40 odd players actually use a foot to do anything to the ball. The list goes on. I’m resigned to that fact that I’ll never be a huge fan of the game.

But seen through the eyes of a photographer, the battles on the grid-iron become a different prospect.

The Calgary Stampeders’ Jon Cornish, left, celebrates his touchdown against the Saskatchewan Roughriders with Jabari Arthur
during the third quarter of their CFL game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
The access you get while covering a CFL game is second to none. With most other sports like hockey, baseball and soccer you stake out a shooting position and stick with it for a time. Not so with football.

You’re constantly moving with the play along the sidelines – always trying to anticipate where you’ll get the best shot from. In one minute a photographer might find themselves at the back of an end-zone hoping to get a touchdown photo, the next minute they’re standing next to mammoth sized players on the sideline shooting a midfield interception. Football is often, despite my listed complaints, a fairly decent way for a photographer to spend their day.

I’ll admit that football goes a long way to redeeming itself in my eyes with its access. It’s almost as if as a photographer you’re involved in the action – moving and interacting with the game.

But as is common with many things, great access comes with a certain level of risk.

And I had a close call with that risk during last weekend’s CFL tilt between the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders at McMahon Stadium, in which the Stamps destroyed the Riders 40-3.

Below are two photos taken of the moment. The first is the one I took with my wide angle lens as the action got close to the sidelines. The other is of me realizing that they’re getting a little too close for comfort.

It was about at this moment when it occurred to me that I should probably reconsider my shooting position.
The horizon of my photo is tilted – betraying the certain level of, shall we say, anxiety that I felt as I realized how close the boys were getting.

The Stamps player ended up falling and sliding through where I had been kneeling. In the end the only result was a fairly dramatic increase to my blood pressure level that lasted around 30 seconds or so.

I concede, football is fun to shoot – despite the worry sketched across my face.

Making my exit
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Darian Durant, left, loses the ball to the Calgary Stampeders’ Charleston Hughes, right,
who eventually scored a touchdown on the play during the second quarter of their CFL game at McMahon Stadium
in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Wes Cates, left, and the Calgary Stampeders’ Brandon Smith during the second quarter of
their CFL game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
The Calgary Stampeders’ Demetrice Morley, right, puts his entire body into stopping the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Weston Dressler
during the fourth quarter of their CFL game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
The Calgary Stampeders’ Jon Cornish, right, in action against the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ James Patrick during the first quarter
of their CFL game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
The Calgary Stampeders’ touchdown horse was busy during the team’s CFL game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders game at
McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Darian Durant pushes for an extra yard against the Calgary Stampeders during the second quarter
of their CFL game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary Saturday, October 1, 2011.

Posted in Calgary.
Stuart Gradon

Stuart Gradon

Photographer | Web Developer | Digital Communicator | Husband | Father | Traveller | Footy Fan | Editor of Total Soccer Project

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *