Right place at the right time

The Baltimore Sun

My assignment was to cover the America East Conference basketball tournament final as the University of Maryland, Baltimore County hosted the University of Hartford, with the winner going to the NCAA tournament. I shoot hundreds of pictures during the game, but the most telling come after the final buzzer.

I start thinking about my options even before the game starts. Should I go to the upper level at the end of the game and take a vantage point that will be safe if the UMBC Retrievers win and the students mob the court? It will yield a great picture of the players and students on the court, but I'll miss any up-close pictures of the players and the celebration.

Two minutes remain in the game. The Retrievers have a big lead and are on their way to victory. Time for a decision: Stay on the floor or head to the upper level. The arena is packed, the fans are going crazy and getting around will not be easy.

A minute and thirty seconds left, and I still have not decided. I see most of the photographers gathering at the end of the Retriever bench waiting for the final seconds to tick away.

I decide to stay on the court and take a riskier position: across the floor from the Retriever bench and in front of the scorer's table. I know I might get blocked by the fans when they rush the court, and I'm the only photographer on this side of the court. Still, my instincts say to stay.

The buzzer sounds, and the fans erupt. For a second I regret my choice, but then I see several Retriever players running across the court straight at me, led by Jay Greene, who would later be named tournament MVP.

I start shooting pictures as they head my way. Greene and another player jump onto the scorer's table behind me and start cheering with the fans.

I click away, shooting pictures of them on the table, but my favorite comes when Greene turns to face the court and celebrate with fans.

That was the moment. And I might have been the only one to capture it, as the other photographers were stuck on the far side of the court.

I was lucky, but I will take luck any day.


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