Generous Access

December 25, 2008 

You may have been expecting something Christmas-related or perhaps a column about all that snow we're having.

If so, you probably haven't been following Behind the Fold very long because my topics are generally not too timely and associations with holidays are usually a stretch.

Maybe that's why it’s so poorly read...

In keeping with this tradition, I will transport you, loyal and patient reader, back to fall, when the surroundings in Tri-Cities were more colorful and my work life seemed to revolve around high school football.

It didn't take many games (and the associated galleries) before they started blurring together in my mind. In an effort to mix things up, I tried my luck at photographing teams in the locker rooms. It's my job to show readers something they didn't see at the event I'm covering. Sometimes this is a matter of noticing something obscure and other times it's purely a matter of access.

Now, if I was better at planning, I would: a) publish blog entries in a timely fashion, and b) call the coaches prior to the game in order to finagle access. I always decided to try on a whim, however, with mixed results that surprisingly tipped in my favor.

Southridge, Hanford and Pasco all welcomed me without hesitation into their lockers before kickoff:

It was a nice change for me to see the players get in the zone before rushing out in a rowdy stream to bust through a banner or whatever grand entrance was planned. Not having played football, I didn't know what to expect, but the players were good about ignoring me and not mugging for the camera.

Most surprising, however, was Coach Bill Templeton’s willingness to let me into Kennewick's locker room during two halftimes in which they trailed by a wide margin:

This sharply contrasted Kamiakin's Coach Craig Beverlin, who, when trailing at the half in a similar fashion, wouldn't shake my hand or even look at me when I approached him. After my experience on the Braves' sideline, however, his reaction didn't surprise me.

Richland politely declined my request while simultaneously acknowledging my existence, which was fine by me.

After all, I hadn't given them any notice, and never expected anyone to allow me in.

Nobody who works as a newspaper photographer or reporter does it for the money, and it's always frustrating when people treat me like paparazzi, who can make more with one obtrusive photo than I do in a year. I work hard to try and show our readers something different and appreciate when members of this community understand and open their lives up to me.

And though it happened a couple months earlier, I now belatedly thank the coaches who extended generosity usually found around Christmas.

See, I told you it'd be a stretch.

Happy Holidays!

~~~~~

kyau@tricityherald.com
(509) 585-7205
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