Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item

 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Classified Ads
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions

Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.



|| News Item: Posted 2003-08-30

Just one of the boys
By Johanna Miller

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Shaun Micheel wins the PGA.
Despite my strong distaste and severe lack of knowledge of golf, when I was recommended to assist Sports Illustrated's Robert Beck at the recent PGA Championships, I knew it was an opportunity I could not refuse.

Initially, I didn't think the job could be that difficult; after all, Robert was willing to take a chance on me, a 20-year-old female photo student with absolutely no assisting experience, at one of the biggest golf tournaments of the year.

As the days until the tournament narrowed down, I began to get nervous. I had never even seen a 600mm lens before, let alone been expected to carry it like a pro. My worse fear was even greater than dropping the $9,000 lens: What if Robert and I did not get along and everyone treated me as an outsider?

We had arranged to meet the Wednesday before the championships to take a walk through the course and get our credentials. When the day finally came, my nerves were almost instantly put at ease. Robert was not creepy or weird, but actually very down to earth. When I found out that we both listened to Howard Stern, I knew the week wouldn't be that bad.

After we checked out the course and got our credentials (my name had apparently been changed to John Anna Miller), I thought I would just go home while the photographers did their own thing. I was surprised to then be invited to dinner with Robert and his SI colleagues Porter Binks, and John Biever at a friend's home in Rochester, after which we all attended a minor league baseball game.

On the first day of the championships, there was no room for nervousness. We had been put in charge of following Tiger Woods, which meant huge crowds for me to maneuver through. I soon found out what a tee box was and the correct way to adjust a monopod.

It felt awesome to be in charge of Robert's camera equipment (though he could have taken the 600 off my hands more than once). At first all of the comments like, "That's bigger than you," and "Can you see the moon with that thing?" were amusing, but then it became a nuisance like I had read in many Message Board posts before. I even ran into a recent graduate of RIT who was a runner for AP. I told him that I was assisting for Robert Beck from Sports Illustrated and he mumbled something and quickly walked away. I then knew that I was pretty lucky and it was going to be a great week.

I noticed that tournaments were a chance for friends to meet, catch up on new stories and talk about old times. I found myself accepted into this circle of friends and was treated as an equal. Being one of the only females in the media tent wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be, thanks to people like J.D. Cuban, Stephen Szurlej, and Fred Vuich.

The next three days were the most physically demanding I had ever endured. At the end of each day my shoulders were bruised and aching, my legs and feet were swollen and sore, and I felt like I couldn't make it another day. The lightheartedness and sense of humor that Robert and the other photographers brought to the event, however, made the heat and pain only an afterthought.

On day four I finally got a hang of holding the 600, the bruises on my shoulder weren't as painful anymore, and I felt as though I had passed one of the most challenging tasks that I had ever been given. Although the four days of assisting were physically exhausting, they left me with the most positive outlook towards sports photography and the photographers that belong to this community.

My week ended with picking up take-out at a local barbeque restaurant (for the second time that week) and sharing one last meal with the photographers I had met. Robert raised a glass and toasted me to a job well done. As I left the hotel that night, I could not hold back my smile. I had just made my mark in the world of Sports Illustrated and made a name for myself amongst some amazing photographers, and even more importantly, amongst some amazing people.

(Johanna Miller is a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. This is her first article for the Sports Shooter Newsletter.)

Related Links:
Johanna Miller's member page

Contents copyright 2020, Do not republish without permission.
What's your slogan? ::..