Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The date on the calendar, January 21, 2013, is a date that I will cherish as long as I live. It's a date that I'm happy to say that I got to see in my lifetime because the events of this day in the form of celebration will be a lifetime memory. The Martin Luther King National Holiday, celebrating the great civil rights leader and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama occured on the same day. There has been a long road for both, starting with the MLK Jr. National Holiday, an event long in the making until it was first observed on January 20, 1986. The first MLK Jr. holiday observance is one event in life I remember all too well. I was on duty as an intern for the Atlanta newspapers, working alongside their staff photographers at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the King family church as we all know it, adjacent to the Martin Luther King Center for social change, one of my favorite landmarks since I'd gotten to Atlanta four years before. That was quite the experience, the one that touched me in so many ways, one of which was to hear the speech of Senator Edward M. Kennedy make his speech. Ted Kennedy comes from the family that holds a place in history that I admire most, all that despite the long list of personal tragedy that they have to go along with them. I recall fondly Senator Kennedy refering that day as a "Happy Anniversary for the Kennedy family because 25 years ago today John Fitzgerald Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States, and in his inaugural address my brother spoke of a torch that had been passed to a new generation of Americans and today another torch has been passed to a new event in this country that has been long in the making." Barack Obama is a name that has taken the torch that has been passed to him, the first President of the United States of a minority ethnic background and the first member of my own generation--also born under the Kennedy Administration to hold the highest office. His first election in 2008 and reelection in 2012 put him in a place to beat the odds against him and take a place in history that will be all his own. Oh yes, I could write a book on a topic like this but I can easily just keep it down to one blog post and take it from there. President Obama's unprecidented second term has only just begun and I look forward to the time that's waiting just ahead, all the way to another great place in history.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
This time, for me, it was just me, being my usual self, going to Arizona State University on the evening of January 11, 2013 to photograph another sports event. This one was the women's basketball team, taking on their University of Oregon Ducks as an opponent in the still fairly new PAC-12 conference.
As is always the case, I got to the ASU media room and did as I always do, setting up my cameras and other accessories, (laptop PC included) checking everything over just to make sure everything was ready to go for the game.
My normal routine includes checking printed rosters on both teams. Low and behold, the Oregon roster had "Jillian Alleyne" on their roster. How surprising. This surname of mine is not that common so it's not like I meet another person who shares it with me every day.
Jillian, oddly enough is from the Los Angeles area just like I am. She's a freshman and just getting her playing career started at the collegiate level so the first of many thoughts included being pleased that I will have quite a bit of time to watch her and record images of her. I want to appreciate that opportunity while I can as I know 2016 will be here before I know it.
When I came out to the game floor I set myself up for a basketball game the same way I always do, to take the first half of my game images underneath the basket that will be defended by the home team (it's always the west side basket at Wells Fargo Arena) and get a chance to say hello to Jillian during their shoot-around warm up time.
Oh yes, Jillian was just as amazed as I was after I showed her my press ID and she saw her last name printed on it, obviously feeling, as I do that someone with this surname of ours does not show up front and center every day.
Of course, questions rose like the sun in the east about us possibly being relatives. Distantly perhaps? Who knows. Jillian's roots are also in the West Indies. She said Trinidad and Tobago for hers and other places in the region. Mine are in Barbados and A few other places like Dominica, Panama, Trinidad/Tobago, and some from British Belize and South America as well.
The way I see things, only God knows and it's all in His hands at a status of "TBD" like a lot of things in the wide world of sports at many levels. Jillian, it was great to meet you. The best of luck to all collegiater athletes in your position and that certainly at the utmost importance at the highest level goes for "family" as well.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
This college football season gave me the opportunity to go to Arizona State University and give me
the chance to watch the final run for a player in Jamal Miles that I enjoyed just as much as any other.
Jamal, who attended Peoria High School, a little before I had the chance to cover them as much as I did the first few years after his graduation, gave me the experience while covering ASU football during the 2011-2012 season that was one of the best ways I could have asked for to see a collegiate player of his caliber finish his collegiate career in style with more than 1500 punt return yards.
As is the case with me, Jamal cherishes the memory of his teammate, K.J. Bowen. I will go forward hoping for the best for Jamal as I would have for K.J. in the form of hoping what will be as opposed to dreams of what could have been.
Jamal, as I watch you run off into the sunset, there will be a lot of fond memories of my watching you on the ASU football field and the digital images I've recorded of you will go right along with them. That one last time I stepped onto the field during post game activities and shook your hand was my way of wishing you the best of luck for the years to come, no matter how it pans out for you.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
This year sounds like nothing but my own shoe size, but with no issues of anything for me to have to put my foot down on to the point of it being as "unlucky" as that number itself. I never think of the unlucky number thanks to the "lucky number" being more on my side. I sometimes call them "lucky sevens" because along with my own last name, I have a lot of seven letter words that have to do with me personally to include my birth city, birth month, the first names of my mother, daughter, and both sisters to name a few. That's a long story and perhaps I will blog about another interesting topic of that kind sometime in the future.
For this new year I don't really have a resolution in mind, but with my new website, which is linked to this blog (MY WEBSITE) I have in mind to better branch out as the businessman that I've always felt like I always have been and can only keep getting better. Counting my blessings as a part of life tells me that the road in this new year is destined to be a smooth one. In October, I will celebrate not a milestone but have as many years under my belt as there are as many weeks in every year. This will be the first birthday I will celebrate on a Sunday in eleven years and I've always thought of myself living un the "fine wine concept as I am only going to get better as I get older.
Every day of every year I just have the same personal philosophy in just taking things one day at a time. 365 days seems to go by so fast, like it did last year, it's one of the many ways that dictates that things are either going well and have good chance to get better, or even that things are going well and have indeed gotten better. Life has many bridges to cross in good time and it's best not to worry about crossing them until they've been reached and the ones that for whatever reason are not reached, sometimes it's all for the better. I'm going to call on the best people I know and then some and say best wishes for happines and prosperity and may 2013 be one of your finest years as I have strong hope that it will be for myself and those who mean the most.
Monday, December 31, 2012
The 2012 NCAA Pac-12 football season gave me a nice opportunity to photograph Arizona State University and another player who is making a good name for himself as he moves up the playing ranks.
ASU's freshman running back DJ Foster is a local product by way of Saguaro High School in Scottsdale and I had no idea that on September 17, 2009, while following Peoria High School on a road game that I had even recorded images of such a player.
That was the high school footbal game that I remember all too well because it was the same evening when Peoria's KJ Bowen (God bless his soul) hurtled out of bounds, made a quick move to his left to avoid colliding with me, only to collide with a female photographer on the sideline behind me. I'm still thankful she did not get hurt too badly. I don't even know who she is and often think it would have been better for me to take that hit instead.
DJ played quite well in the two games I was able to photograph him this season and he will do just as well, if not better, I know, during the three seasons he has left to play for ASU and I hope beyond as well. Thanks DJ, good luck to you and your team as well for 2013 and beyond. I think the best is yet to come.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
With that in mind, there's nothing in the military service that I can say that I've admired more than the others who have chosen to raise their own hand and take the oath of allegiance to serve our country the way they have. Many have been honored in ways that most of us can only hope for and dream about just as much as there were many others who gave their lives for a good cause.
General Schwartskopf is no exception. I first saw him make a good name for himself in his "Stormin Norman" personality that he brought to his position as commander of coalition forces in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. Frowed on by many for that fiery attitude but praised by many others who knew that he was just doing what a four star general in any branch had to do.
It's not easy being a career military man in any branch, or at any level for that matter. General Schwartskopf did that as well as anyone could have ever asked for and did so in a career spanning back to the Vietnam era that began shortly after his commission into the Army as a Second Lieutenant after graduation from West Pointand serving his fisrt assignment as a platoon leader at the 187th Airborn Infantry Regiment in Fort Campell, Kentucky.
After many rescue missions in Vietnam and moving on to his personal prestiege in Operation Desert Storm General Schwartskopf would retire and go on to public speaking as an alternative to the post military political career that many predicted for him. General Schwartskopf would make his final march to eternal life on December 27, 2012. With that sharp salute that would be rendered by any member of any branch of the service, for the service of General Norman Schwartskopf I say "Thank you Sir for your service and may you continue to watch over all who continue to serve from the body of stars, just like the four you wore on your uniform."