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|| News Item: Posted 2000-04-27

Family Man: mixing work & family
By Rod Mar, The Seattle Times

Photo by Mia Mar

Photo by Mia Mar
I was asked to write about how having a family has affected my life, job, and photography. My first reaction? Thank god that Griffey went to Cincinnati before my kid was old enough to ask, "Dad, why does Ken Griffey, Jr. call you an asshole?"

But there's probably a better explanation. Here goes ...

The Sports Shooter's life before kids: the most important things in your world are:
1) getting THE shot
2) having the latest, greatest equipment and
3) acquiring as many hotel points and airline miles as possible.

The sports shooter's life with a family: the most important things in your world are:
1) your family
2) your family and
3) getting the shot (but the miles are running a close fourth -- hey, I'm only human).

I was once one of the young hotshot-wannabes, flying around, carrying big glass, making an okay picture every so often, and thinking I was cool for doing it. So what has happened to change all of that? In a word? Evyn, my fourteen-month-old daughter.

Those of you without kids will probably skip to the next article right about now. Those of you with kids know what I'm talking about.

Recently, covering the NCAA Regionals in Albuquerque, I found myself reunited with shooters I hadn't seen in awhile (the Seattle sports teams have sucked pretty bad lately, limiting national coverage, but that's another story). The first picture everyone sees in the digital workroom is the one of my daughter that serves as the desktop picture on my laptop. And then we all started sharing pics of our kids.

In Graphic Converter, I keep a slide show of pictures of her. The last photos Robert Hanashiro and I emailed to each other? Not sports, but my Evyn and his Emma. Now you know why she graced an earlier issue posing with Santa. So besides becoming a sappy, sentimental father, what does this all mean to me?

Photo by Mia Mar

Photo by Mia Mar
It means that when I miss THE picture, I don't dwell on it too long. It still hurts like hell, but there's nothing like a smiley, drooly kid wearing "Teletubbie" slippers to cure those blues.

It means that when I'm on the road now, every trip is too long. In Albuquerque, when Gonzaga lost to Purdue on Thursday, I slept only two hours in order to catch a 6am flight home (hey, I'd been in Arizona for spring training for five days prior).

It means that my cell phone bill is higher than ever, even though my daughter can't really talk yet. I love to hear her little breaths and gurgles and baby sounds over the phone.

And it means that I now have a balance and perspective in my life that I never had before. Don't get me wrong --- photography is as important to me as ever. But I know now that it is not all there is in the world. This is actually helping my shooting. I'm more relaxed now, feeling less pressure at big moments and big games, and making better pictures as a result.

Bottom line? I realize that I am not my picture (great or terrible), and who I am is not determined by my assignments. Who I am is a husband and father first, and a shooter after that. I'm blessed with a terrific, supportive wife, and a lovely daughter.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

(Rod Mar is a sports photographer at The Seattle Times. His email address is His daughter Evyn was born on the day that Michael Jordan last retired from the NBA. His wife Mia watches "SportsCenter" nightly and knows the difference between Jose Mesa and Jose Maria Olazabal.)

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