The Thrill Of Victory
Like all good stories I should start this one at the end right? Saturday night was an amazing night. I had a feeling about this game for a while. When Penn State looked like they might take down Ohio State I was angry because I wanted Purdue to do it. I actually started rooting for the Buckeyes at the end of that game. All week leading up to the game I had a feeling. That is the only way to describe it. In 2009 I felt the same way with OSU coming to town. We rushed the field in 2009 taking down I believe the #7 Buckeyes that day. This was the most fun that I have ever had during a field rush, and maybe it was because I started it from the Purdue bench instead of the stands. Maybe it is also because this is that moment. That moment when the program takes that next step. This is a coaching staff that you can believe in. They had a great gameplan, and more importantly the players executed it. This is a fun team to watch, and I am sad that I only get two more chances to do so in person. Maybe I will have to figure out how to get on the road with them at some point.
When You Know That It Is For Real
You can believe all you want, but it is that moment when belief becomes reality that is amazing. That moment for me Saturday night was when running back D.J. Knox answered an OSU touchdown with a long run right at me. I had goosebumps on my arms just thinking about what that touchdown meant. The game was not over yet, but that little bit of breathing room was nearly the clincher. It was at that moment that my belief turned into reality. What a great moment in a great game.
Video Game Numbers
Rondale Moore puts up video game numbers in a world without a college football video game. The last college football game came out just before the 2013 season. That was my favorite game, but I would have to believe that no ranking system could account for Rondale Moore if there was a game today. That man just will not go down. Last night during a fourth quarter run I had multiple photos of him being ‘tackled’. He broke free every time eventually scoring on a long run. He is flat out fun to watch.
Boring Gear Section
If you are not interested in gear than just skip down. For those that are I took a load out to the game. I had my Canon 7D Mark II, my 1.4x extender and my 600mm lens for pregame. I thought it would be too dark to use it during the game, but before that I could get up close and personal with the players during warm ups. I was right. I was right up in there with all of that. For most of the game I had my Canon 1DX on my 400mm lens, my Canon 5D Mark IV with my 24-70mm lens on my right side, and my Canon 5D Mark III with my 70-200mm lens on my left side. I was there to not miss a shot no matter what the focal distance. With about two minutes to go I threw all of that aside in our workroom. I took off my belt system and harness. I went out to photograph the celebration with just my Canon 5DIV and the 11-24mm lens on it. In that scrum I knew that ultra wide was the way to go. I had the thought of taking two cameras out, but you really can’t do that in the scrum.
No silly words that I can put together could adequately describe Tyler Trent. Over the course of the last year or so I have watched an amazing story unfold. It is a story of great hope. This young man has overcome amazing obstacles to do what he wants to do. Just being at Purdue last year was an amazing thing. He had to overcome a lot just to be at the school. That itself would have been an accomplishment. He did more though. He wrote for the school paper and became active in other organizations. He has raised cancer awareness to a level that I have never seen before. I donate to Riley Children’s Hospital now. I can honestly say that I had not really thought of it before. Tyler’s story made me do much more than to think about it. Like any story can this one has taken a turn for the worse. Tyler had to leave school a few weeks ago because the cancer was being cancer. He had circled this date on the calendar though. He wanted to be there when Purdue took down Ohio State. College Gameday ran a feature on him Saturday morning. After watching that I would have run through a brick wall to get Purdue the win. As I was on the field I couldn’t help but think of what this must have meant to him. Seeing the players celebrate with their #TylerStrong wristbands on was a little much for me at one point. I held it together pretty good, but let’s just say that it was a powerful moment. I have only met Tyler for a brief moment before the opening football game of the season. It is hard to believe that you can care for someone that you have barely met. Through his actions though I think that I know everything that I need to know about Tyler Trent. He makes me proud to be a Boilermaker. He has inspired this team, this school, and as of Saturday morning this country. In a time when it feels like everybody is out for themselves. The country seems like it is torn apart right now. Tyler shows us what we can all be.
Expecting The Unexpected
I had just been down on the field with the team, and I was heading to the work area that we have just off the field when I saw quarterback David Blough being interviewed by ESPN. I went in to make a picture of that, but with the crowd around him and my 11-24mm lens I knew that I was not going to make a good photo. I circled the interview and decided to get him as he ran by me. I knew he would have to get by me to get to the locker room. I left room for him on the side that I wanted him running through, and as I got to my spot he started at me. I threw the camera in aperture priority and put it up to my eye just as he ran by. I had made many pictures already on the night, but one more wouldn’t hurt. It is far from a perfect photo, but it is one that I like because it is the last one that I made on a great night.
A Little History
The last time that a #2 ranked team came to Ross-Ade Stadium was in 1999. It was Penn State, and that is always a game that I remember from my time at Purdue. My dad came down to visit with some of his work buddies that weekend. It was the first Purdue game for many of them. They witnessed a really great game. On one side of the ball you had Drew Brees leading the Purdue offense. On the other side of the ball you had Lavar Arrington on the Penn State defense. Purdue battled hard that day, but ultimately came up short. They had four chances late in the game in the red zone to get it done, but sometimes it is just not meant to be. I say all of that to punctuate just how great it was that Purdue did get it done Saturday night. It was a game that will long be remembered in Ross-Ade Stadium and beyond.
In 2004 I was living in Iowa. There is something about being away from home that helps you cling to things from back home. One of those things was Purdue. I remember a trip home around Thanksgiving very well. I started my trip by watching Drew Brees and the Chargers play in Kansas City. From there I drove to Purdue to see my brother who was going to school there. On that trip I stopped buy the bookstore to buy some Purdue gear. One of those things was a Purdue sweatshirt. I wore the heck out of that thing. It has seen some great moments. I was wearing it storming the Keady Court after Purdue beat Wisconsin back in 2008. It made the trip onto the field of Ross Ade Stadium a few times as well. After Saturday night it has been on the field three times after beating Ohio State. I had it on in Spokane when Chris Kramer willed the Boilers to victory and the Sweet Sixteen in overtime in 2010. The sweatshirt now rarely gets worn. I have gotten a little wider so it is a little more snug than it used to be. I did break it out for the game Saturday night though. I knew that it had at least one more special moment in it.
Photos From the Game
This was an unbelievable game. As I was walking off of the field I couldn’t help but think of just how lucky I am to get to do what I do. Purdue did a lot on the field that night, but the game off the field was strong as well. They had great content flowing the entire time. I am a minuscule part of that content, but it feels great to be even a small part of such a big night. The whole photo team nailed it, and you can see our gallery from the game here. This whole year it has felt special to be a part of the team. Saturday night it felt even more so.
The Week In Photos
Last week was a blast. After not shooting sports for a while I was right back into it. I had Musketeer Madness at Xavier on Friday night. Of course the upset Saturday was huge. Sunday I covered the Purdue volleyball team taking down Ohio State as well. I will talk more about that tomorrow, but some of the photos are in my weekly round up of my favorites here. This was a fun one to put together remembering a great week.