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|| News Item: Posted 2006-09-04

Leading Off: In Dreams
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Visalia Times-Delta

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Visalia Times-Delta

Old school black and white prep football, circa 1980. A Golden West High running back stiff arms a defender during a game at Mineral King Bowl.
Ever since I took a peek at the USC football schedule a month back, I've had this reoccurring dream.

Or maybe it's a nightmare …

In my dream, I'm on the sidelines of a football game at Mineral King Bowl in Visalia, CA on a Friday in late October, circa 1980. It's nighttime and it's dark. I've got a pocketful of Tri-X and a camera with a 180mm 2.8 telephoto lens. But instead of the Redwood and Lemoore High players on the field it's … USC and Washington!

I've got the 180 2.8 on my camera because it's WAAAAY too dark to use my 300mm f/4.5 (or my only "super-tele" at the time a 500mm f/8 mirror lens), I'm shooting the Tri-X bumped two stops and I'm at 1/250, wide open.

But why the heck in my dream are the Trojans and Huskies on that patchy, muddy field playing in the semi-darkness? What is the meaning? Why does it play in my sleep over and over and over?

I guess if I were to visit "The Sopranos" Dr. Melfi, she'd say that my dream is a manifestation of my deepest fears. Or that I hated my mother or maybe my kindergarten teacher …

Well, I don't hate my mother, that's for sure (sorry mom!) … and I can't even remember the name of my kindergarten teacher (though I bet my sister Sharon can!). So my dream --- my nightmare --- is probably my deepest fear coming to the surface.

I've said it in this space many times, as I get older I am becoming more nostalgic and seeking out things that are comfortable and familiar. Things like tradition.

And tradition to me has always been football played during the day. (And for that matter, World Series games played under the sun … or at least that begin before 9pm!) When I see what has been done to college football schedules, which I suspect is rooted in television ratings and promotion, it gives me nightmares.

Sure I understand the reason why schools are willing to sell out and change years of tradition and schedule games for 5pm or 6pm or even 7:15pm kick-offs (and that's west coast time). I am not so naive that I don't know that the controlling element in sports --- all sports not just college --- is $$$$. Lots of $$$$$$$!

What else would explain Thursday night college and NFL football? Or San Jose State playing a morning home game before an empty stadium (or more empty than usual)?

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Visalia Times-Delta

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Visalia Times-Delta

Old school black and white prep football, circa 1980. A Redwood High School running back is brought down wrestling style.
Sure it makes watching football convenient … at home. On TV. But what about the fans, those poor schmoes who actually spend money for tickets, parking and over-priced soft drinks and hotdogs? Or more selfishly, what about the photographer who still remembers the days of sitting in the west end zone of the LA Coliseum with SI's Peter Read Miller shooting with a 600mm f/4 and a pocketful of Fujichrome 100 ... in money light?

Well if you're the TV networks and by default the schools and conferences, they're saying the big "fongu" to guys like me. And essentially to the fans.

To borrow another "Sopranos" reference: Day football games "Are dead to me!"

True, I sometimes am nostalgic for that prep game in the cold at Mineral King Bowl. I certainly enjoyed the challenge of squeezing the most speed out of Tri-X.

(At the good, old Times-Delta we went through various phases: Acufine. Hot Acufine with a 15-minute water bath. Then Acufine with a hydrogen peroxide vapor bath. To finally my final recipe: HC-110 replenisher 1:5 @ 92 degrees for 8 minutes, agitation once every two minutes.)

But big-time college football should be played during the day ... fongu the $$$$.

However with more and more outlets for televising sports, the need for prime time programming, spaced throughout the viewing week, means more "creative scheduling".

Next year when the college football schedules hit the web who knows what I'll see. Maybe Fresno State will be playing Southern Idaho Teachers College on Tuesday night with a 10:45 kick-off so the new College Sports Night Owl Network can capture those important Honolulu ratings.

Now that is a nightmare.

* * *

Sports Shooter v. 94 kicks off the football season with previews and tips from Dan Powers, Bruce Ely and Patrick Murphy-Racey. Thomas Witte recounts his road to publishing a book on the Cincinnati Bengals during the Marvin Lewis era.

Photography has been rocked in the past month with several high-profile incidents of digital manipulation. We have essays on the controversy from Gerik Parmele of the Columbia Tribune, Mick Cochran from USA TODAY, Dennis Dunleavy of Southern Oregon University and Bryan Moss, co-director of the White Cloud workshops.

Dean Rutz chronicles his near fatal accident covering a prep baseball player and his road back to work at The Seattle Times. Darren Carroll writes how jelly donuts could lead to the end of carry-on bags.

Rick Rickman returns to the newsletter with another "Let's Talk Business" and his Brooks Institute of Photography colleague Paul Myers writes his first piece for Sports Shooter, an essay the "betrayal" one feels when someone else uses your camera.

We have a fabulous issue to mark summer fading into fall … so sit back, relax, adjust the contrast on your monitor, turn up the volume on Jack Knife and the Sharps' latest CD "Rumble" and enjoy Sports Shooter v.94.

As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rick Rickman, Rod Mar, Vincent Laforet, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, The Photodude, Reed Hoffmann, Anne Ryan, Darren Carroll and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Mick Cochran, Gerik Parmele, Bryan Moss, Dennis Dunleavy, Dean Rutz, Bruce Ely, Patrick Murphy-Racey, Dan Powers, Thomas Witte and Paul Myers.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

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