I Should Have Gone To Yale

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I really enjoy photography. As of tonight, “Clicky” has taken 24,123 shots. Obviously, I try and take pictures any time I can.

Tonight, I had my chance to shoot a basketball game. Yale was playing Columbia and I got a pass to sit on the baseline at the John J. Lee Amphitheater on the Yale Campus in New Haven.

It was Senior Night, which is nice. It was also the night of the Jones Brothers. Yale is coached by James Jones. Columbia is coached by his brother Joe.

I haven’t really shot a lot of sports. I’ve been to some Major League Baseball games, shooting from the stands, and stood on the sideline at the UCONN vs Army game a few years ago at Rentschler Field in Hartford. This was my first attempt at hoops. I am humbled.

Shooting basketball is much more difficult than I had imagined. it took about sixty seconds to come to that conclusion!

First, an observation I made after shooting the UCONN football game. Still photographers can get great shots, but they seldom get ‘the big play’ the way TV cameras do. Still photography doesn’t cover the field the same way. You often have to aim and wait for the play to get to you.

Basketball poses even more problems. It moves very quickly and is played in a relatively dimly lit gym. My lenses, fine lenses for an amateur like me, are just too ‘slow&#185’.

There were a few professional shooters at the game as well. I needed four to eight times as much light for the same shot!

I wanted to keep my shutter speed as fast as possible, so I compensated in other ways, which is why all the shots are very, very grainy. It might look like a nice artistic touch, but it wouldn’t be there if I had any choice.

In this game, Yale was blown out. Columbia was red hot. I haven’t seen the stats, but it seemed they just couldn’t miss a shot!

There was a a lot going on off the court. As with most colleges, Yale has a cheer squad They also have an unusual pep band, the Yale Precision Marching Band.

I didn’t see them march, though after the game they did play while crawling on their knees!

The YPMB also featured one guy wearing a “Harvard Sucks” t-shirt. At Yale, that sentiment is not an idle boast.

I felt very comfortable in these surroundings. It’s a shame I was so awful as a student growing up, because I would have fit well at Yale. And, my guess it’s, it’s much more prestigious to be thrown out of Yale than it was to be thrown out of Emerson College!

None of the shots from tonight will be printed. On the other hand, there is a little artistic merit there. I put a few of them in my gallery, if you’d like to take a look.

&#185 – When a photographer talks about a slow lens, it’s a lens that needs more light. The name comes from what you must do to compensate – slow down the shutter. The slower the shutter, the less sharp the action will be. It’s a vicious cycle.

Playing Golf With My Dad

I spoke to Helaine this morning. Not a good night for her. She’s coming down with the cold I undoubtedly gave her. Frank plowed our driveway at 2:00 AM and then the town came by and did our road at 4:00. She heard both… in fact she never got back to sleep after the first.

Steffie’s coming down with a cold too. I will not return as Mr. Popular.

The 1104 miles (1776 km) between them and me makes a world of difference weather wise. We were back into the low 80s with San Diego-like humidity. There were clouds, but they were the puffy variety that marks fair weather.

I lived here in the very early 70s. What was I thinking when I left?

My dad and I hadn’t played golf yet, so we headed out around 1:30 PM. There was plenty of room to get us in, though we ended up playing behind a slow group&#185.

My father’s course of choice is Sherwood Park, a course that is incredibly forgiving. There is no water. There is no rough. The holes are short and easy. So, for us, this is an incredibly challenging course!

If there is athletic acumen in the Fox family, it has been hidden from my dad and me.

Actually, Steffie is quite athletic. I have no idea how that happened. It is not inherited from me.

Sherwood Park has another attribute that attracts my dad – it’s cheap. Since it was already nearly 2:00 PM, we played for $11 a man. That includes a cart! And, since it was late, it was as many holes as we were willing to play.

We were paired with another golfer, an 84 year old&#178 named Joe. He was slim with good posture. He was old – no doubt. But for 84, he looked pretty good. He was certainly a better golfer that either of us.

When my folks lived in Connecticut, my dad and I played golf all the time. He was the perfect golfing partner. He was forgiving as only a parent could be. He was available as only a retiree could be. Once he left Connecticut my golf time was seriously reduced.

The funny thing is, I love playing golf. It’s a great game.

I’ve never shot up heroin, but I assume there’s the same pleasure involved at the beginning of heroin use and golf. Otherwise why would you allow yourself to become addicted to a game which is so frustrating.

I started slowly today, but soon had ramped my game all the way to mediocre. Twice I putted for birdies. That’s unreal for me. Of course, both times, I three putted – but that’s another story.

My dad, Joe and I made a great team. I was the spotter. I stood behind both of them to see where their tee shots went. In Florida, a lot of tee shots are lost in the vast blue sky. That most of these golfers, who can’t find their golf balls, drive cars is scary beyond belief.

We played 12 holes until Joe had to go. My dad and I continued through 14.

It was great in every sense of the word. This is one of those moments they talk about in the credit card commercials – playing golf with your dad… priceless. It is.

If the weather is good again tomorrow (and why the hell shouldn’t it be good), we’ll play another round. I’m looking forward to that.

&#185 – By definition, any group of golfers who plays slower than my dad and me is slow. Remember, we are taking the maximum strokes allowed by law on each and every hole.

&#178 – When kids are 3 to about 11 years old, they offer up their age as a matter of pride. That attribute goes away until age 65. From 65 up everyone again freely offers their age. No matter what the person looks like, your response is supposed to be, “Wow, you really look good.”