Some of you might have guessed, correctly, that I’m not at my most comfortable in front of a crowd. My gut-wrenching, visceral reaction to public speaking …. the fact I break out in a sweat at the thought of doing karaoke …. Obviously, performing, or even putting myself in a situation where a group of people MIGHT SEE ME, makes me twitchy. And not in a good way. If I’m with a group, it’s OK. But to be by myself, and know people are watching me, gives me hives. I have no idea why, and in fact, tell myself repeatedly that it’s silly. SILLY to feel that way. But, there it is. People watching me; the risk that I might make an ass out of myself in front of a crowd; frankly, it makes me blotchy in the chest.
We went to Kellen’s basketball game yesterday, and I was determined to get some good photos of him playing. A few things, however, were working against me. First, all the seats are on one side of the gym, and Kellen’s team was shooting in the goal at the other end for the entire game. (For some bizarre reason, they don’t switch goals at half-time in this league.) So 99 percent of the action I wanted was at the other end of the court. Plus, it’s an indoor gym, with fluorescent lighting, so there’s not really enough light to take action shots. I use my mamba-jamba telephoto lens in order to get close enough to the action, but the pics usually turn out grainy and underexposed. I try to offset these crappy photo-taking conditions by simply taking about a billion pictures. I figure if I stack the odds, eventually I’ll get lucky and get at least one or two good ones, right?
But alas, yesterday, I was having no luck whatsoever because again, all the action was on the wrong end of the court. So, despite the fact I hate to stand out in a crowd, hate to ever think I am the center of attention, I walked over to the vacant side of the gym to take pictures. So, there are the boys playing on the court. On one lonely side of the gym is me, standing by myself, valiantly peering through my lens hoping for a clear picture, and on the other side of the gym, directly across from me, are all the parents and grandparents and siblings and concession stand workers and anyone else who came to watch the game.
I’m not so sure my strategy worked. I’ve seen some beautiful photography on the blogs I follow, and love when people share their wonderful photos. But these? Not so wonderful.
I got some blurry photos:
I got quite a few of the back of his head:
Sometimes the pole was in focus, that's always lovely:
A few times, I was almost sure it would be a good shot, only to have some other kid step in front of Kellen at the exact moment I clicked the shutter button:
Some more blurry shots:
And probably the best blurry shot of the day:
Now, a normal person would start to get discouraged. A normal person would simply accept the cold hard truth that indoor action photography is better left to those professional photographers with their professional photography equipment. A normal person would just admit defeat, and sit down with her family to enjoy the game.
But I’m not a normal persona, am I? No, by golly, I’m a M.O.M. ! Which means, despite the fact all my pictures are turning out crappy, and I feel completely self-conscious standing by myself on the other side of the gym, I persevere.
I continue to peer through my lens, zooming, un-zooming, focusing, clicking ….. always, always following Kellen with my eyes, through my camera lens, hopeful, confident that eventually I will get just One. Good. Shot. I’m so single-minded ….. so dedicated ….. so focused on my goal …..
There goes a holler from the crowd!
I’m so busy looking through my lens I don’t see what has happened ….. what action did I miss?? Did Kellen do something amazing??? Why the sudden intake of breath from the crowd????
Sam, one of the boys on our team, had thrown a perfect arc, towards the basket, but unfortunately overshot the goal ………………… and the ball came down…………..
And landed right on the top of my head.
Bounced. Right. Off. The. Top. Of. My. Head. Like you see in cartoons, people!
One of those “he couldn’t do that again in a million years” kind of shots!
And I realized, a nano-second too late, that the collective noises I heard from the crowd, the gasps, the intake of breath …. Was the fact that every one of them had a direct view of me getting hit in the head with the ball.
Yes, well, that’s inconspicuous, isn’t it?
It’s a little hard to blend in, when the referee blows his whistle to stop the game and rushes over to make sure you’re ok.
And everyone is watching, certain that you’ve just gotten a concussion.
The only thing that made it better? That really, truly helped me shake it off and get everyone to forget it had happened? When approximately 82 people after the game rushed over to offer me aspirin, and an ice pack. Because for somebody who just wants to pretend that it never happened, that made me feel even BETTER!
So I just perfected my bright smile, and laughed, and said, repeatedly, “No, I’m not hurt as much as I am embarrassed!” And just kept cringing inside.
And you know what’s really pathetic? Here are the first three thoughts that went through my head … in order:
1. Thank you Jesus that ball hit me on top of the head and not my camera because if it had broken my camera and my mamba-jamba telephoto lens I would have thrown myself on the ground crying and it would have been an ugly, ugly scene.
2. Please, please don’t let anyone have been taping that because I really don’t want to wind up on America’s Funniest Videos.
3. That actually didn’t hurt at all. Just how hard is my head, anyway????
Sadly, my best photo of the entire day was of Kellen sitting on the bench. I think I’ll leave the indoor action photography to the pros from now on.