My Favorite Sports Photos Of The Decade
I really was not going to put together a post like this one. How do you take a decades worth of photos and bring them down to ten? When I stopped and really thought about the last decade though I was amazed at what transpired. I then actually sat down to come up with a list of ten images. As I started writing the post though I started thinking of others. I then realized that this would be a fun way to show how quickly things can change. This countdown is not my best photos of the decade for sure. In fact some of these at the beginning are just not that great. They are all part of the journey that I made though. I think that the journey is worth celebrating. Here are some of my favorite photos from this past decade.
- In 2010 I was in love with the Purdue basketball team. I was at every home game, and I travelled to many of the away games as well. When Robbie Hummel went down with an injury the team took a minute to adjust. They did not play so well in the Big Ten Tournament. I know. I was there. Everyone was predicting them to make an early exit in the NCAA Tournament. I decided that I would head out to Spokane to see them play. They played great for those two games, and this basket by Chris Kramer sent them to the Sweet Sixteen. At the time I thought that I had a Sports Illustrated worthy photo on my hands. Of course looking at the photo now I realize that I had a moment captured, but the quality is not too good. I still love the moment, and this memory of a great game.
- The next year I was on the field of Ross Ade Stadium after Purdue upset Ohio State. This was not my first time on the field, but the first time when I was ready to head down and make some photos. I wanted to be on that field making pictures so bad. At the time I thought that it was a dream that would never come true. Little did I know that less than two years later I would have a credential to make photos on the field. This photo of a bloody Robert Marve receiving a heroes welcome is one that I love because I made it onto the field. Of course the only time I could be down there making pictures was after a big upset when everyone rushed the field. I was hoping for many of those over the years so I could do this more.
- The next season I found myself on the field again after Purdue won the Old Oaken Bucket. I made my way to the bucket just in time to see Bruce Gaston kiss it. Yet again this is not a fantastic photo, but the little boy in the corner looking up in awe has always made it a fun one for me.
- In 2012 I would leave work and head straight to Lambert Field to see the Purdue baseball team play. After years of coming close they closed the deal and won the Big Ten. I was not credentialed, but lucky nobody checked as I ran out to make photos of the team celebrating. This was a great team, and it was amazing to sneak in to be a part of that day.
- One part of my career that I can’t leave out is the importance of roller derby. In 2012 when I met my wife roller derby was something that I didn’t even know existed. It was something that I watched on television in the 80’s. In short amount of time I found myself working with the Lafayette roller derby team. They gave me my first chance to be out front making game day photos. That experience was amazing, and something that would come in handy very quickly. By 2013 roller derby helped me get onto the Purdue baseball field as well. I owe this team quite a bit.
- Of course now we have to talk about 2013. In the span of a couple of weeks my daughter was born, and I made a photo that would change the course of my photography forever. The day started with me working a game at Wabash just to get some experience on the sidelines. I was so happy with what I made that I didn’t need to make any more photos. I was tailgating outside of Ross Ade Stadium with my family when I realized that the conditions might be right inside for a good photo. It was then that I spent the best $70 of my life. I bought a ticket where I thought that photo would be, and I was right. Everything came together to help me to make a very nice photo. It was this photo that allowed me to be on the sidelines for the first time.
- I went from just wanting to be on the sidelines to the sidelines very quickly. By the spring of 2014 I was just cocky enough to think that I could do this for a living. Of course my first job was the 2014 NCAA Tournament. No pressure at all for my first paid job. I was so nervous heading into that day. I was working for Oklahoma State first, and then Purdue in the nightcap. If I failed it would be a double failure. When I made the photo above I knew that it would be a good day. I always wanted to be the guy on the sidelines, but I wanted to be there with a purpose. Just making photos to make them doesn’t give me the same kick as it does when I know that I am doing it for a reason.
- By 2016 my situation had really improved. I was making photos for Indiana State on a regular basis, and I had a couple of other clients that I really enjoyed working with. That is what it is all about. Of all of the moments working with Indiana State this one is my favorite. The Sycamores had just knocked off Butler in a big game. The fans came out to see it, and the team did not let them down. I was on such a high after the game that I still could sleep for a couple of hours after I got home. That is after editing and a two hour drive. This team was so happy that it was contagious.
- As 2017 started I had two great opportunities waiting for me. I was able to photograph Purdue play Louisville in Lucas Oil Stadium. One of my favorite photos of that season was this photo of the team celebrating with Jackson Anthrop after a touchdown. I love the sense of place this photo has. For big games these are always the types of photos that stick with me.
- The following week I was in Knoxville, Tennessee photographing Indiana State. I had always wanted to see a game in Knoxville, but being on the field was even better. I loved this photo from the game.
- Luck seems to have played a huge part in all of my sports work. A lucky break during a minor league baseball game led to a great opportunity to photograph the sport during the summers. This photo of White Sox star Yoan Moncada signing autographs prior to the game is one of my favorites that I have made in that time on the field.
- One of the photos that will stick with me a long time is this photo from after the upset of Ohio State in 2018. This time I was already on the field, and I ditched my long lens so that I could get in the middle of the post game action. When this scene happened right in front of me I as thrilled. I knew that it would be a photo that would stay with me for a long time.
- Of course the photo of this year is the photo that I made from just after the Purdue volleyball team took down #5 Nebraska. Just like the photo of Pete above I was in the right place at the right time to make a photo that I really liked.
- This photo makes it onto this list for a couple of reasons. One is it shows some great emotion. The other is that I have photographed a couple of NCAA tournaments at this site. Photographing baseball is one of my passions. Photographing tournament baseball is amazing. Every year I hope to do more of it.
- My countdown would not be complete without a family sports photo. For all of the photos that I make of these elite athletes doing amazing things nothing gives me the satisfaction of using that knowledge to make photos of my kids. The fact that this is on the Purdue soccer field makes this a little cooler. The look on her face makes this one of my favorite sports photos ever.
As I said at the beginning. No list of the top photos of the decade will ever seem complete. Ten years is a long time. It is mind boggling to me to think back to the beginning of the last decade and think of where I was. Putting something like this together just helps reinforce just how lucky I am to do what I do. I have no idea what this list will consist of in ten years, but I can’t wait to get out and make photos that are worthy of it.