Nov 17, 2009

A bitter end in the bitter cold

Friday night was the end of the football season for the Naselle Comets and for me. It was certainly an unexpected end for both. We have covered this team pretty heavily the last four years as they rose from a perennial under-.500 team, to one of the best in the state. There's a small sense of finality for me, as many of the kids I've been shooting for that time are now all done. Next years team will likely be great again, as they have some very good players returning and the coaching staff is a caring and professional group, but for me, in some ways it won't be the same. I can honestly say that I've had the pleasure to befriend on some level several of the players and it really made it a joy to go to their games and document their successes, and lesser so their defeats. Here are a couple pix I liked from the night, you can see a gallery from the game HERE
As the game entered the fourth quarter and it became more and more evident that it would not be the Comets night I had to shift my focus away from the normal action and look for pix of how the players react to the impending loss — truly one of my least favorite things I have to do. Following the game this scene happened in front of me, and while sad I think it speaks to the level of family and community of this team.

I got this one prior to the start of the game, as they chose to have their final pre-game meeting on the field since their locker room was located a couple hundred yards from the field. They brought it in tight so they could all hear the coaches, though I personally think it may have been to conserve body heat, as it was the coldest game I've shot in a couple years — I actually ran into the Burkhalter family at Safeway following the game and we agreed that the similarities between Friday's game and the second round playoff loss to Life Christian in 2007 were many, including: freeeeeezing cold, Christian private school, no offense for Naselle, night game in Tacoma, two weeks before Turkey day (I actually remember that part because just a couple hours after returning home we were off to California for an early Thanksgiving with my folks).

I don't think anyone would deny that Alan Erickson has been the emotional leader of this team. Once again at halftime he tried to rally the troops one more time. And while they marched down the field to score on their first possession in the second half, that's all they could muster. A couple days after the game Alan wrote a particularly touching farewell to his teammates, which you can read HERE if you like. Alan and the Burkhalter boys were the first to take on player blogging for Friday Night Sights, and have written consistently, win or lose, the last three seasons (the Longview Daily News even wrote about it last year). I don't know who will carry on that torch now, but I hope someone does as it really has added a further level of depth and understanding of the game on the blog.

So, goodbye football once again (believe it or not, hoops practice begins today at  both schools), we'll miss you — well maybe not the rain, cold and late Friday nights...) Hoops is on the horizon and I've been trying to think up some new approaches to shooting it — hopefully in a way where a Raymond parent won't want to get in a fight again after a game...


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