Last Day of 2013 – My Brush with Fame

KGJ

I can tell you that having a ‘brush with fame’ is rather exciting.  But living a life of fame would not be my cup of tea.  And on this last day of 2013, I had a glimpse of both.

It was once again a special treat for me to accompany my good friend, Sam Craft, who secured photo-credentials for us both to shoot the Independence Bowl in Shreveport today where the Univ. of Arizona faced off with Boston College.    We left early this morning and  made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Louisiana and arrived with plenty of time to spare for the 11:30 kick off.

Prior to the game, I found my spot in the end zone where I shot this bowl game two years ago.  I noticed another photographer taking out his gear as well and while setting up, saw him  chatting off and on with some of the Arizona players.  I assumed he had some connection with the team and soon found out he had a son playing for the Wildcats.  Looking much like an athlete himself, I struck up a conversation asking if he had ever played college ball.  He kind of chuckled and admitted for me that I didn’t recognize him, to which I confessed that I probably should, but didn’t. He then stuck out his hand and introduced himself as Ken Griffey Jr.

I could only laugh sheepishly as I introduced myself…then turning to Sam..was delighted to introduce Sam to his childhood baseball hero.  Needless to say, the next several hours were rather special.  With ideal weather conditions, the game was underway and for the next three hours, I stood side by side with one of the greatest baseball players of our generation and a future hall of famer as we talked sports, family, and photography.  Ken was there having secured credentials himself to shoot  his son’s first bowl game.  Trey Griffey is a freshman wide-receiver for the Arizona Wildcats.

Prior to the game, Ken was more than happy to pose for a quick shot with Sam and I.  Then once the game started, the only pictures we were concerned about getting were of the game.  He did point out to me where his wife and daughter and father, Ken Griffey Sr. were sitting.  And as the game progressed, we did what a lot of photographer do…show each other various images on the back of our cameras that we caught during the game.

What was interesting to me was throughout the game, there were multiple requests by passerby’s of fans, other photographers, security detail, etc…asking for pictures and autographs from the famous father.  And  it was evident that he did not delight in that constant attention.  He was so down to earth and came across as a ‘regular guy’, and all he wanted to do was be a dad and take pictures of his son during the game.  He admitted that it is just a regular part of his life..sharing some assorted  instances of what he has had to deal with as a sport celebrity.

Towards the end of the second quarter, when his son Trey caught that first TD pass, there was quite a flurry of activity taking place down were we stood.  ESPN reporters and cameramen began to swarm us.  Ken’s phone started lighting up and he laughingly read off a Who’s Who list of sports stars that were calling/texting to congratulate him on his son’s first college touchdown.  It was surreal, to say the least.  And then that is when my phone started lighting up as friends were texting and posting on Facebook that they were seeing me on TV with Ken Griffey. Apparently the ‘Griffey Connection’ was an intriguing side story to the game and  I was just another photographer who happen to be a backdrop to the superstar.  I told Ken not to worry…that I wouldn’t charge him anything for being in all the pictures. 🙂

I even made ESPN’s Sport Center twice in one clip.  As my brother told me later, that is a lot more than most professional athletes get.   The clip can be seen HERE

To see Game Pics, click HERE

Needless to say, it was a great way to end the year and a day I won’t forget any time soon.

KG

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And two short video clips I took off the game when I got home:

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