Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds you all well. Things have been rather calm for me as of now. I say “as of now” because August-November was a very stressful period for me with the bulk of football, volleyball and soccer seasons all going on at once. But now that football is over, at least for me, it’s time for basketball season. And that’s where I do shine in terms of sports photography, as I am a basketball lifer, having grown up around the game in the 80s.
Shooting basketball has always been enjoyable for me, but not only am I shooting college basketball this winter, I’m also shooting professional basketball. The NBA, the National Basketball Association, more specifically, the Houston Rockets. Shooting the Rockets was always an outside goal of mine, having done it twice in 2007, but I didn’t think it would be possible due to many factors. But this year, thanks to my association with USA Today Sports, the opportunity arose to start shooting a select number of Rockets games this season. Needless to say, I was elated to be offered the chance to shoot NBA games, since that had been a goal of mine, really, the final goal of mine in a while. But I was nervous about it as well, hoping to do a good job.
My first game was on November 12 against the San Antonio Spurs. Yea, my first Rockets’ game in nine years was a home matchup against the Spurs, one of the best teams in the league. It turned out to be a pretty entertaining game as San Antonio ended up winning, 106-100. In terms of the photos, I think I could have done better in terms of capturing the action. But for not having shot an NBA game in nearly a decade, I think I did a serviceable effort.
Five days later, I was back at the Toyota Center as the Rockets hosted the Portland Trailblazers. Regarding the game, it was a bit more entertaining as the Rockets used a spurt in the third quarter to pull away from Portland, 126-109. Regarding the pics, I was a lot more comfortable as I knew what to expect this time around, thus the photos were stronger. Regardless, I felt good about the two games I’ve covered this far, and am optimistic regarding future Rockets games this season.
Shooting the Rockets again has been a real experience, and considering it was the one sports team that I didn’t regularly cover until now, I feel a real sense of accomplishment. It’s an achievement that is a good way to cap off the last 27 months in my professional life. But now that December is here, I’m thankful for some quiet time. Granted, there’s still basketball on tap, but not much else, and I’m glad things can slow down for a little while. Now that things have slowed down, I’ve taken stock on a lot of things, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am and done what I’ve done without a strong edict towards hard work and exerting control. And that’s the key to making it through life. Believing in God, having a positive attitude and holding joy in your heart is all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, all that can’t supersede hard work. If you have a goal, attain it via hard work because no one is going to just give it to you. That may be pretty hard and unyielding, but considering where I’ve been in my life and the lows I’ve crashed to, it’s necessary, and it makes the successes I now enjoy all the sweeter.
With that said, thank you for reading another colorful blog entry. I wish to thank you all for your support this year and in years’ prior. And a VERY special thank you to my dearest friends, Michelle Miller, Jennifer Sacco, Helen Laird, Kerri Rapp, Dr. Susanna Mittermaier, Kyla Holas and Chantel Baptiste. I wouldn’t have survived the last two years without you in particular. Thank you all and fare thee well.
All images copyright 2016 Erik Williams/USA Today Sports Images