Welcome to my blog! From time to time, I'll be posting updates, previews from games and sessions or whatever I feel like talking about on here! :-)
Greetings and salutations, I hope this finds you all well, and I hope things are going well for everyone, as the year winds down. Things have been stop-start for me in the midst of football season, which is always the busiest time of the year for me. This past weekend, I covered Rice’s home game against the Army Black Knights. Shooting football is always fun, but not when the weather is inclement. And the weather this past Saturday was wet, or as I call it, two-of-every-animal-bad.
Between Friday night and Sunday night, the city of Houston (and all of Southeast Texas) was drenched from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia as perpetual bands of rain lashed all over town. And unfortunately, Rice Stadium was not spared from the deluge. As the game started, even as Rice jumped out to a 14-0 lead, the rain was showering the stadium, but it was as least tolerable. And yes, I took precautions beforehand, dressing for the precipitation and making sure my camera equipment was well-protected. Things held up until the start of the second half when the rain came down harder and harder. At some point in the third quarter, the sky just opened up and it started pouring hard, VERY HARD. The rain was so vicious that I could barely see the action on the field, let alone shoot it. And my main camera was nearly useless as water droplets completely covered the front element, making shooting very difficult. As the quarter progressed, I constantly dried off the front element to at least get shots in focus, but the driving rain made that difficult.
Oh yea, back to the game proper, Rice stretched their lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Army fought back to tie the slosh-fest with just two minutes and thirteen seconds left, right as the rain started to let up. On Rice’s subsequent possession, they drove 63 yards in 93 seconds, just as another strong line of storms passed over the stadium. Amidst the inappropriately placed heavy rain bands, Rice scored the game winning touchdown with 24 seconds left, winning the contest, 38-31. It was a great win for Rice, a truly memorably one, but it was simply the most miserably football game I’ve ever shot. I’ve shot games in extreme heat and cold and been reasonably fine, but never in rain that consistently fierce. And yes, every single part of my person and gear was completely soaked afterwards. But it was another memory created in a very long year, a year that has been a rollercoaster in many ways. Sometimes life involves doing things you don’t want to and doing things in VERY harrowing conditions. All you can do is push through and fight it out, even if you’re drenched into the stone age in the process.
Well, with all that said, thank you for your time and for reading my blog once again. I hope to have another entry online by mid-December if not sooner. Thank you for the support, and until next time, fare thee well.
All images copyright 2015 Erik Williams/Rice Sports Information
Good morning all, I hope this finds you all well today, especially with end of summer here. It’s been a while since my last entry, and I had hope it would be something different after the one in June regarding the Houston Astros. However, last Friday night’s game forced a change in plan. Last Friday night, I covered the Houston Astros’ series-opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game already had personal significance for me, as I grew up a fan of the Dodgers, which is weird considering I’ve lived my whole life in Houston. So seeing my favorite team as a youth was exciting, aside from the obvious matter at hand, as both teams led their respective divisions.
The game started out rather slow, but the Astros took an early 2-0 lead after two innings, eventually stretching it to 3-0 after six innings. As the game went on, a discernible buzz grew around the stadium as Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers hadn’t allowed a hit. Seventh inning comes and goes, still no hits for the Dodgers. When Fiers retired the side in the top of the eighth inning, the roar in Minute Maid Park had grown to a fever pitch, and the crescendo built even louder as the Astros took the field in the top of the 9th (still leading 3-0) and Fiers, whom had never pitched as long or as heavily in his career, retook the mound. And his task to attain the no-hitter was not an easy one, as he faced the top of the Dodgers’ order in Jimmy Rollins, newly-acquired Chase Utley and Justin Turner. Still bringing the heat after 130+ pitches, Fiers’ forced two consecutive fly-outs on Rollins and Utley, setting the stage for, well, history. And it was a moment I’ll never forget, with all the fans cheering and screaming, as Fiers at 9:43p, on his 134th pitch of the game, reached back and rifled a pitch past Turner for strike three, his 10th strikeout of the night, winning the game and securing the no-hitter. Needless to say, it was near pandemonium on the field and in the stands, and understandably so. It’s not every day there’s a no-hitter in Major League Baseball, so to be at one involving your two favorite teams (past and present) and to capture the moment is a humbling yet exciting experience.
The experience became crystallized for me yesterday when I learned that one of my images from the game (mainly the celebration) was printed in this upcoming week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, making it now seven times I’ve been published in S.I. since October 2012, and it’s my first “double-truck” shot of any kind. (In photo-parlay, a double-truck is a shot that extends over two pages of a publication.) And understandably, I am beyond overjoyed to attain an accomplishment like that, especially regarding such a momentous event.
With an uncertain professional future ahead of me, I am starting to cherish the grander and sweeter moments I now experience, moments that make the accomplishments stand out more. And what I’ve achieved is a testament to hard work, passion, respect, determination and dedication. With those things, you’re not guaranteed victory or success, but without them, you won’t get anywhere worthwhile in life. Put your best foot forward and love what you do, that is a start towards great things, and the occasional no-hitter. Anyways, that’s it for now. Thank you all for the support, the kind words, and the encouragement. Until next time, fare thee well.
Greetings and salutations all, I hope this finds everyone well. Things have been rather busy, but with summer here, I can expect things to slow down a great deal, which will be beneficial with a busy fall ahead. The spring saw me cover a lot of baseball, much more than I have this time last year. And a bit of my time has been spent at Minute Maid park, home of the first-place Houston Astros. No, that’s not a misprint and I am not inebriated. As of this entry (June 2nd), the Houston Astros are in first place in the American League West division. Not only are they in first place in the AL West, as of this entry, they have the best record in the American League overall (and are percentage points behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball altogether).
Though the 2015 season is only at the one-third mark, it’s an incredible accomplishment for a franchise that had lost 100+ games three of the last four seasons. And it’s been pretty fun watching this young team grow together, led by the timely hitting of Jose Altuve and the solid pitching of Dallas Keuchel. (Oh, and speaking personally, it’s also been fun shooting the games with “new” equipment on hand, improving the image quality and results.) With four months left to the season, it will be very interesting to see if the Astros can keep this pace up and win the division, or in lieu of that, qualify for the playoffs as a wild card (either way, making the playoffs for the first time since 2005). But as it stands now, they are the most interesting story in baseball thus far.
Anyways with that, thanks for reading my blog, and I hope to have another entry online very soon. Thank you all for your support, and until next time, fare thee well.
Greetings to all, I hope this finds you well. Once again, I do apologize for a lack of entries lately, but the beginning of the year proved to be busy once again, especially the month of February. A lot has been going on, but things should slow down with my basketball coverage for the year now completed.
The month of March is always an exciting month, with the NCAA Basketball tournaments starting up, and the road to “March Madness” begins with conference tournaments. And last week, I was out in Katy, TX for the Southland Conference basketball tournament, covering the Lady Huskies of Houston Baptist University. A quick recap, after a rollercoaster season in which their best player was lost for the year with a knee injury, HBU won on the final day of the regular season to qualify for the Southland tournament as the #8-seeded team. Despite being the last team in the tournament field, the Lady Huskies were undaunted as they faced off first against the #5 seed, the McNeese State Cowgirls on Thursday, March 12. After building a 17-point first half lead, the Huskies had to hold on down the stretch to pull out a 70-68 upset victory, stunning the favored Cowgirls and advancing to the quarterfinals. The Huskies pulled out another upset the next day, defeating the #5-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 49-48, advancing to the semi-finals. (Personal note: Due to prior commitments, I was unable to attend and cover the quarterfinal matchup, hence no photos, many apologies.)
In the last four on Saturday, HBU faced their biggest test, the top-seeded Stephen F. Austin Lady Lumberjacks, the winners of the regular season title, led by Porsha Roberts, the conference’s player of the year AND defensive player of the year. The already daunting task for the Lady Huskies looked to be impossible when they fell behind by as many as 18 points in the first half. However, a hot shooting run saw them cut the deficit to four points by halftime, 41-37. The Huskies continued their torrid shooting in the second half while mixing in some timely stops on defense, limiting Roberts to only six points (on one made basket) in the second half. The end result was an upset for the ages as Houston Baptist won, 88-81, to advance to the tournament final. Without exaggeration, it was the best college basketball game, men’s or women’s, that I’ve ever covered. It wasn’t just the comeback that was memorable, it was the way it happened, along with the atmosphere of the arena AS it happened. For example, in the second half, members of the Northwestern State band (in attendance for their semifinal against Lamar) actually went to the HBU student section and cheered for the Huskies. Even the Lamar fans who were in attendance were cheering for HBU as the game came down to the wire.
With confidence at an all-time high and local and national media now attentive, HBU faced off against the #6-seeded Lady Demons of Northwestern State in the championship game on Sunday afternoon. Sadly, after a back-and-forth first half, the Cinderella Huskies ran out of steam as a cold-shooting performance doomed them to a 58-50 defeat. Despite the setback, two members of the squad made it to the All-Tournament Team, and interest in the program has never been higher. And it was symbolic of two things: 1) March Madness will always be awesome, even the conference tournaments, where a long-shot can ride a wave of momentum to glory multiple times; and 2) In March, much like in life, it takes more than talent to succeed, it takes passion, heart and perseverance, even in the face of nearly certain defeat. It takes all those things to survive, advance and succeed in any venture, especially in basketball and especially in the month of March.
Thanks again for reading my blog, and I hope to have a new entry soon. Until then, thank you for the support and fare thee well.
Greetings to all of you, I hope this finds you well amidst the bustle of the holiday season, wherever you are.
As the calendar winds down on 2014, and with a break in my work schedule, I've been looking backwards, not just on this year, but on the last few years in my life. More than anything, I've been looking back at November 2012, which was a critical juncture in my professional and personal exploits. I hated where I was in my life, yet a chance to change it all presented itself and I took it. I wanted to change my life, and I did in many ways and I don’t regret any of it for a second, even though many people who were present in my life two years ago are long gone. Rather than bemoan or prolong this pity party and such, all I have to say is this:
Don’t let yourself be anyone’s physical or emotional punching bag EVER. Never take any form of abuse in the name of “friendship”. If you have a dream, don’t let anyone defecate on it because their dreams and ambition don’t match yours. If you do have a dream, honestly pursue it with all your strength and passion and don’t let up until you attain it…..even if it means pushing everyone you hold dear away.
While I’m not a firm believer in astrology and the zodiac, I looked up the Chinese zodiac and 2015 is the Year of the Sheep, the sheep being a symbol of peace and tranquility. While that is commendable and I do wish for peace for the world and this country, for me, 2015 will be the Year of the Wolf. I love wolves, such mysterious yet deadly beasts, capable of beauty and savagery, be it alone or in a pack. And that’s my thoughts for the end of the year. If you have a dream, a passion, and you want to attain it, be a wolf and do it. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals along the way, or go it alone, but do it as best you can, with beauty or viciousness. Humans only get one life to life, go on and live it……with the heart of a wolf.
And that’s it, for the end of the year. Season’s greetings, many blessings, and best wishes to all of you. Until 2015, fare thee well.