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|| News Item: Posted 2008-12-21

A Christmas Wish For Us All
Sports Illustrated's Robert Beck found a great athlete to photograph in Oklahoma.

By Robert Beck, Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy
Last week my best friend and I made our way to Norman, Oklahoma to shoot a feature of the UO offensive front five. At the last minute our Sports Illustrated Presents editor asked if I could also make a feature of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a true stud, who had been recruited by USC, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Miami and LSU out of high school.

Gerald was dressed in full uniform (even had his fingers taped up) before the O line but we had set up for the O line first and, well, there were five of them. And they are very large. I asked Gerald if he could wait and he said no problem.

We shot the front five and it went great. The big boys had a lot of fun and we made some great pictures. Now back to Gerald...Who had been waiting around for over an hour. Many athletes are a bit jaded these days. They are pampered by any number of gofers, PR types and posse members.

The Oklahoma O line did not fall into this category (Phil "Big Load" Loadholt, Duke Robinson, Jon Cooper, Brandon Walker, and Trent Williams. I name them by name because they deserve extra good presents from Santa.). Gerald McCoy was just as fine to work with.

As we walked over to the stadium from the practice field he asked if I came to Norman just to shoot him. I said, "Yeah. And the offensive line."

"Where are you from?" he asked.


Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

Photo by Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated

The Oklahoma O Line.
His smile was as bright as the Norman sky had become. "You came all the way from California for this!?"

"Yes," I chuckled. He couldn't get over it. "I must be...Important!"

We fiddled around with a couple of different setups. I'd kept him so long already. I asked how much time he had.

"For you, all day."

What?! ALL DAY?

So it does still happen. There are folks who want to work with us. My Christmas wish for all of you? That someone, at some time, says: "For you, all day." Happy Holidays everyone. I hope we all make it through '09.

(Robert Beck is a Sports Illustrated staff photographer based in Southern California. He is a frequent contributor to Sports Shooter.)

Related Links:
Beck's member page

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