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|| News Item: Posted 2006-01-25

Leading Off: Where's Vince?
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Where's Vince? Longhorn quarterback Vince Young disappears in the end zone at the Rose Bowl.
I was looking over some edits from a couple of football games and I couldn't help but think of the "Where's Waldo" books my daughter Emma used to enjoy when she was three or four.

You know the "Where's Waldo" books … a funny looking, ski cap-wearing character that's hidden away in a series of detailed drawings that you stare at for several minutes trying to spot him.

The same thing is true with a sequence I shot of Reggie Bush running out of bounds near the end zone against UCLA. Except in my version --- called "Where's Reggie" ---you can recognize many of the characters cluttering the scene.

Now let's see … there are two ESPN on-air "personalities" standing around. A dish guy. A video camera-pointer. UCLA cheerleaders. Trojan boosters. PW's. A guy with a cellphone camera. And three photographers about to get run over by Bush.

A lot was made after USC clobbered the Bruins to secure its spot in the Rose Bowl --- the "celebrities" wandering the sidelines during that game, of which Henry "The Fonz" Winkler was the only name I recognized. Then the week before the Rose Bowl, the BCS handed down an edict that games had to crack down on who was allowed on the sidelines.

A story in the Los Angeles Times cited the NCAA post-season handbook, which stated "Sideline credentials should be distributed only to individuals who have responsibilities that require their presence on the field."

The sidelines should be better managed "in the interest of safety for the student-athletes, appropriate security and proper game management" the directive stated.

According to this rule, participating teams were limited to 60 credentialed non-players, among them coaches, trainers, medical staff, team managers and other support personnel. With 60 or so players in uniform, that's about 120 in each team's bench area.

In the Times' story, BCS administrator Bill Hancock said that Texas and USC would be allowed five "wild card" sidelines passes that could go to only former players.

Good-bye Matthew McConaughey. Dennis Quaid, Nick Lachey and Kirsten Dunst. Adios Fonz.

Hello Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen and Ricky Williams!

"People there to watch should be in the stands," Hancock said in the Times.

Amen, I said.

But the game-winning touchdown scramble in the closing minute of the Rose Bowl was something like …"Where's Vince?"

Looking over my sequence of Longhorn quarterback Vince Young's run to the end zone, you can't help but notice the HUGE sea of bodies packed tightly in that corner of the Rose Bowl.

You also can't miss the helpless expression on the faces of the photographers as Young barrels toward them. Luckily Young skips between a couple of photographers and then DISAPPEARS in the mass of people that had somehow gotten onto the field in the closing minutes of the game.

After a second or two I actually said aloud "Where's Vince?" when he didn't reappear on the field after scoring what tuned out to be the winning TD.

Maybe the better question was: "Where did these people come from?"

I know that big games mean big crowds, big expectations and bigger headaches for game management and security. But when it becomes a huge safety issue for not just photographers, but for the players too, maybe it's time that the rules that are already in place really be enforced. Maybe the emphasis shouldn't have been so much of getting the celebs off the sidelines, but closing off the field to the fans and boosters as the clock ran down.

I can't wait to see the post-game scrum action in Detroit after the Super Bowl…

* * *
January was a tough month with the passing of several photographers. Mike Phillips from Nikon was a person I would see from time-to-time, mostly at sports events and workshops. But every time our paths would cross, it was like I saw him just yesterday.

His passing saddened me greatly, but after hearing the news, thinking of him made me smile as well.

I will always remember calling Mike up in 1984 while I was the chief photographer of the Visalia Times-Delta asking … actually begging … for a loan of a 300 f/2, 200 f/2 and a 135mm f/2. We were preparing for a color conversion and I had halfway convinced our publisher to buy all of this high-speed glass because I argued that we couldn't shoot night and indoor sports without it.

We had been forced to shoot transparency film instead of color negative like most newspapers did.

Of course Mike was more than a little dubious about loaning about $20k worth of glass to some guy from a dinky-shit paper in the San Joaquin Valley he'd never heard of ("Now WHERE is this town Vezala located again …")

He asked me why I need the loan of these expensive lenses ... I said, "We're thinking of buying them..."

He replied laughing: "So … this is a purchase evaluation???"

I croaked: "Yes, I guess that's what you could call it..."

The gear showed up the following week. We shot a bunch of prep, Fresno State and juco games, packing in as much as we could during the one-week loan period. A couple of months later, the publisher pulled the trigger and allowed me to buy the lenses!

About 18 months later I was 3rd in the regional clip contest. And two years later I placed in POY's sports portfolio category.

Mike was a great guy and a regular at the Sports Shooter Workshop & Luaus. A big bear of a man, wearing the "uniform of the day" … a Hawaiian shirt, a smile and always a funny story to tell.

We will miss Mike a helluva lot.

* * *
Giving back is one of the reasons why I started Sports Shooter nearly 8 years ago. And giving back is what Andy Bernstein has been doing through his participation in the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) program.

Andy was recently recognized by HOLA for mentoring inner city youths through Camera Kids a project he started, teaching them photography and photojournalism.

Last month Andy was honored at a dinner held at the Biltmore Hotel where he received the "Hero of the Heart" award.

HOLA executive director Mitch Moore called Andy's involvement with the program "exemplary" adding that he is a "dedicated member of our community."

Not many of us were aware of Andy's work with inner city kids … we see him at Staples Center, setting up his remotes, chatting up the players, refs and courtside celebs, shooting those wonderful basketball photographs … but he's giving back to not just photography, but to kids and to Los Angeles.

Congrats Andy … and thanks!

* * *

This issue of Sports Shooter features two articles on the upcoming Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The first by Michael P. King of Ohio University looking at the culture, language and most importantly … the food. (Also check out Sports Shooter's first-ever podcast:

Our second article on Torino by Erich Schlegel of the Dallas Morning News gives us a photographer's checklist for getting ready not just to cover a Winter Olympics … but working in cold weather.

This month also debuts the new "On The Road" column by Texas-based photographer Darren Carroll. Reed Hoffmann checks in with another cool Pushing Pixels column. Darrell Miho recaps the recent Macworld show in San Francisco. Alan Greth of the Contra Costa Times recounts a real life home alone story. And we also have our annual Sports Shooter Super Bowl Predications.

So sit back, adjust the contrast on that monitor … and turn up the volume on that Tommy James and the Shondells CD … and enjoy Sports Shooter v.87.

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: Michael P. King, Erich Schlegel, Darrell Miho and Alan Greth.

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

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