I love lacrosse.
It’s a game that is fast, constantly moving and requires excellent athletic skills. When I came to Mizzou in 2003 I was thrilled to find that there was a men’s team (my feelings about the women’s game is a whole ‘nother topic.) So I started going to all the home games to shoot photos. I shot in a journalistic style, looking for good pictures of the game. When I gave photos to the club for their website, they were grateful to have anything I gave them.
An interesting thing happens when you frequently show up somewhere: sooner or later someone will notice. Two years later, when they needed a new faculty adviser, they turned to me since I was there all the time anyway.
Now, as part of the team, things changed a bit. Though they never actually said so, suddenly they wanted slightly different kinds of photos. They still loved the quality of my pictures, but they wanted some different content. They wanted positive photos and as many of the players as possible. Their definition of a “good” didn’t always match mine. After 30 years of straight journalism, it’s been tough to try to accommodate this public relations (and family photo album) leaning. It’s fair to say that I’ve struggled with accomplishing a good mix.
The photo above wouldn’t be used on the site because it shows a player being less than successful. It’s a good shot, but not for mizzoulax.com. I have far more
pictures of guys doing nothing special than I’d like, but the site’s main users are the players, their parents and their friends. Game coverage is important, but I’m having to learn that other moments are popular, too. It’s not that the shots are hard to do, it’s more the unspoken desire to have me shooting all the time. I love the guys and I love, love, love the game, but I’m doing this for fun. It’s not my job, I’m getting no payment at all for this. So some days I really just want to shoot good game action without regard for whether I shot every defensive player who played in that game.
The good thing is that the fans and the family like what I put up. And I’ll keep working on putting up more of the away-from-the-game shots that they also like.