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|| News Item: Posted 2011-04-08

Funeral For A Friend

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter Newsletter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Everything was for sale, even the shelves and furniture.
Walking around, my eyes darting here and there, fond memories crept into my mind but I still feel sad and just a little bit guilty. It’s a lot like going to a funeral and I guess it really is acknowledging the passing of a friend.

When Borders Books announced that our local store was one of dozens they were closing across the country, the huge banners screaming “Everything Must Go!” were hung thicker than LA Laker pennants after the NBA Finals.

As weeks went on and the discounts climbed from 20 to 30 and then 50% off, the shelves in the Valencia Borders slowly emptied. I usually wouldn’t lament the closing of a chain store, but books are a different story (pardon the pun).

The other day we made one last trip to the Borders; everything now was 60% off. My daughter said we should say “good-bye” and of course, we might be able to find a few last minute deals on some books.

Like most people, I buy books and music on-line. But I try very hard to buy at “real” stores as much as I possible. (But most brick & mortar bookstores don’t stock an obscure David Sadaris book or live performance CD…)

I’d overcome my impulse buying on, thinking that I could somehow stop what was now happening at a place we’d spent hours and hours over the last 15 years ---like waiting five hours for the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to go on sale at midnight.

We’d always see someone we knew when we went shopping at Borders and one of my daughter’s marching band instructors was a manager there. Sure I’d get pissed when I watched people using the magazine section as their personal library, the floor littered with the ad inserts. But people gathered there and they were doing something that I think is important … reading.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

The sports section still had some books, even a Neil Leifer photo book.
It was sad seeing the near empty shelves and the books that remained were out of order or in the wrong section. As my mom used to say when we’d hit a sale too late: It was “picked-over”.

But I did find things to buy; a few John Sanford crime novels and two “Burn Notice” books I didn’t know even existed. As I stacked up my deeply discounted bounty, I overheard a women tell her husband in the next aisles “If books were always this cheap I’d read more!”

Also noticeable was the choice of music playing on the overhead speakers. An endless rotation of “Glee” soundtracks was replaced by the Beastie Boys and Creeper Lagoon with the volume pumped up higher than usual.

Reading is a big part of what I am. It’s something my dad and mom instilled in my brother, my sister and me when we were kids, and my wife and I passed it along to our daughter.

Yeah, I spend a lot of time on the computer, reading for hours on the Internet. But books, newspapers and magazines seem more real; turning pages and the feel of the paper is part of the reading experience.

As we checked out with our armfuls of mystery and Manga books, the clerks tried to be cheerful, but there was sadness in their eyes.

The closing of our local Borders Bookstore is a sign of the times, both economically and I guess technologically. I’ll always read and I’ll have to drive a little further to buy my books now.

* * *

This issue features a poignant story by Eric Seals on Wes Leonard and the small town affected by his death after he scored the winning points in a high school basketball game.

There hasn’t been a recent Sports Illustrated cover that has generated more chatter than Robert Beck’s shot of BYU’s Jimmer Ferdette making like Superman and looking like he could leap tall buildings. Robert gives as a behind-the-scenes on the photo and the follow-up.

Access is everything when working on a project and James Gregg’s season-long look at the San Diego State men’s basketball team’s march to the NCAA Tournament is a great example. James gives us an insider’s look.

One of THE coolest gigs is being the best man at your brother’s wedding. Stanley Hu writes about the experience and how he was able to make some cool photographs as well.

Baseball season is here and Matt Brown writes about something we should not forget when we head to the ballpark --- sunscreen.

James Madelin continues his series on the basics of lighting. The winners of the first annual Sports Shooter Portfolio Competition are announced. Sign ups are now being accepted for a cool event on April 22 featuring a couple of Sports Shooter members, Tim Mantoani and Roberto Beck --- the Lighting Luau Speaker Night sponsored by Samy’s Camera. And Brad Mangin’s book on the San Francisco Giants World Series – winning season is now available and we have some details.

* * *

Photo by
On the nightstand is Laura Hillenbrand’s wonderful book “Unbroken” on the life of one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, Louis Zamperini. (Link to a column on meeting Louis:

It’s A Beautiful Day’s “Creed of Love” recorded live at the old Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco is my listening pick of the month (thanks for Mr. Shirakawa).

* * *

As always, special thanks to: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin and Joe Gosen.

Thanks this month to contributors: Eric Seals, Robert Beck, James Gregg, Stanley Hu, Matt Brown and James Madelin.

The comments, opinions and other perceived nutty statements that the writers may have expressed, implied, imagined or made up are theirs and theirs alone. Sports Shooter, Inc. and published these articles in good faith with the purpose of education and inspiration.

Permission in writing must be obtained from Sports Shooter, Inc. and the author of the article before being reprinted.

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

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