Siloam at Springdale

Friday was a long night. I would have posted this sooner, but I forgot my password to the blog and locked myself out. Like I said, it was a long night.

I was scheduled to shoot both the girls and boys basketball games, Siloam Springs at Springdale. This was the second time in recent weeks I would be shooting Siloam Springs, so I knew the games would be good. I watched Har-Ber just squeak by the Lady Panthers earlier, and it turned out Springdale did the same thing. The Lady Panthers certainly brought the heat at the end, even when they were down. Kierra Lang was definitely impressive to watch in the girls game. She was one of the most aggressive players on the court and it showed in my photos.

In between the two games, Springdale presented their Colors Court. I was busy filing my photos, so I didn’t end up photographing any of the royalty, but after this delay of the boys game (and one later to come), it was a good thing I got my girls art in.

Finally, the boys game began and it was as fast and as physical as boys games always are. I never get used to how much more aggressive the boys games are as compared to the girls. For me, the game seemed to be going like all games do, that is, until the third quarter. Nearing the end of the third quarter of the game, something happened when freshman Avery Benson of Siloam Springs came down from his shot. Benson landed hard, and wrong, underneath the hoop. Once the play could be stopped, medical personnel and coached rushed to Benson’s aid. I happened to be underneath the same hoop when this happened and I knew something was wrong because Benson was screaming.


Image shot before Benson’s fall

I grew up photographing my older brother play basketball through high school and college. I’ve seen players knock their front teeth out and tear ACLs. Unfortunately, that’s just a risk that comes when playing a sport. Injuries are part of the game, and to me, basketball is one of the most dangerous sports to play (including football).

Thankfully, players do not get seriously injured often. However, when they do, it becomes news in the aspect that team dynamic, strategy and play are altered. Not to mention, the health of a local athlete in the community that was injured in a public setting is of concern. As a standard, I make sure to try and photograph an injured player if indeed that injury affects the team later on in the season. Obviously, I did with when Benson was injured. I shot a variety of images to convey the situation from start to finish. From when he first when down, to being cared for to reactions of the fans to the resulting end (when Benson was taken by ambulance to Northwest Medical in Springdale). I needed complete coverage so that readers would understand a more complete picture and not a snippit from the beginning or from the end (this could easily make the situation look exaggerated or sensationalized).


After Benson had calmed down from the initial shock of the injury and was being put on a gurney to be wheeled out to the ambulance, I knew things were looking up. While he wasn’t in the most ideal situation to be in, Benson kept strong for his teammates and fans and held a “thumbs up” for everyone as he left. I knew this was the image that would sum up the bad (and good) of the situation that was at hand.


Others, however, disagreed with me.

Some people believe it is in poor taste to photograph someone in this situation. I heard this both vocally and physically (someone had unplugged one of my lights). While I understand that this isn’t happy event everyone wants to remember, it IS something important that happened. News is both good and bad. Life is both good and bad. Sports are both good and bad.

I do not take joy in documenting the less joyful parts of life, but it is a part of my job. In the end, I felt I did justice to the event that happened.

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I'm originally from Colorado and I was introduced to photojournalism in high school while working on the school's yearbook. In 2011, I graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in journalism and art. This is my first “real-world” job, but while in college I worked for CSU's daily student newspaper and I interned for Denver-based Westword, the Colorado Eagles (ACHL hockey team) and Johnson and Wales University. I cherish analog photography and I like to shoot on a medium-format Mamyia RB67 whenever I can. While I'm not at work, I enjoy doing all sorts of physical activities, especially mud runs and Crossfit, and I love to bake desserts (which are usually consumed by my coworkers).