Heading Back To Neyland Stadium

I have a little history with the Tennessee football program. In 1988 my father took some classes there, and when he came home he brought me back some souvenirs from a school I really had never heard of. The colors were orange which were the hometown LaPorte Slicers colors. I started following the Vols from that moment on. They always seemed to be on ESPN late at night so it was easy to do. A guy named Peyton came along and then it seemed like everyone knew who the Vols were. For years I wanted to visit Neyland Stadium. On the last day of 2006 I was headed home from the Purdue bowl game in Florida. I stopped in Knoxville to see Notre Dame and Tennessee play in women’s basketball. On the way into the stadium I marveled at Neyland Stadium and made a few photos with my point and shoot camera. Just over ten years later I will be back there to photograph Indiana State as they take on the Vols. The is a job that has been on my calendar longer than any other job in the past. When I knew about it I made sure they knew that I was available that weekend, and that I could shoot it. Now here we are a couple of days away, and I couldn’t be more excited.

A Time Of Year To Go Down Memory Lane

This time of year I always get a little nostalgic when it comes to what has happened over the last four years. In the span of eight days in September of 2013 I made a photo that is still being used today, and my daughter was born. When Notre Dame came to town on the 14th of September I was sure for most of the day that I would not be at the game. I grew up cheering for Notre Dame, and I love Purdue so it usually is a no-brainer. A deep disappointment that I could not be on the field was going to keep me away from the game. I ended up buying a $70 ticket to the game and picking a seat that I thought would make for a good photo. My hunch was right, and suddenly I had a photo that people wanted on my hands. I really did not know what to do, and I basically gave the photo away. I did however get a pass to photograph Purdue on from the sidelines. Before the Boilers came back home though I had another important moment ahead. My daughter was born on September 23rd. That day was hands down the best of my life. Before my daughter was born I heard people say that, and I wondered if they were being honest. Now that it happened to me I know that they had to be. My daughter was born on a Monday, and on that Saturday the Boilers would be home for the first time since I got my pass. I was excited about the game, but I still didn’t know if I should leave my daughter to go. I did, and although I don’t think that I made any images that I really liked that day it was still a dream come true to be there. You can see one of my images from that game above. Looking back on that time I had an amazing two week span that I can only hope that I can duplicate again. The emotions felt then would be hard for sure. There may be a couple of long posts this month because of that fact. Next year when it is the five year anniversary of these days you can bet your life that there will be.

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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