Focus on the process, that is Coach Nick Saban’s key phrase and I think it would be cool to hear him say it at least one more time. Okay, I am being a little facetious. I am sure he has said it about as many times as he cares to and I have heard it about as many times as I care to. But now it is game day. It is time to focus on results.
I got Nick Saban on one side of my brain all calm and talking about process and then there is the other side of my brain where Ray Lewis lives. He is rocking my brain, pumping me up with his pre-game pep talk. I may take the field tonight like Ray does, with all dance move stuff yelling like a madman. Yeah Baby! I am ready. Let’s go kick some butt!!! Oh, wait, I am not actually playing in the game. Okay, yeah baby, let’s go kick some visual butt!
So I am all keyed up and it is still hours before game time. When I go out on the field, and especially during the first quarter, I have to make myself calm down. My heart will be pumping, my blood pressure will be up, the adrenaline will be flowing. Sometimes I get so keyed up I have to reel myself in. It is possible to get too pumped up and actually miss shots. That is where Nick Saban takes back over: focus on the process.
There really is a lot of wisdom in that statement. There is always the danger of losing focus when shooting a big game. I mean, I don’t care who wins. I am not there to win or lose a football game. I am there to shoot and do an excellent job covering the football game regardless of who wins. My problem is not worrying about the winning team or losing team, my problem is not getting too hyped and then not doing my job well.
Perhaps you have seen players who get so energized they are almost playing the game too fast, or they are too tight and the game gets away from them. That happens to me sometimes too. I will shoot and shoot and have nothing. I realize I am pressing too hard trying to make something happen. I have to relax and let the game literally come to me. That is a challenge. I want every picture, I mean, every single one. There is no way that is going to happen. All the big papers and magazines and media organizations will have a bunch of guys out there tonight. I am shooting against teams of photographers and they are going to get pictures I am physically incapable of getting.
I have to focus on the process, focus on doing my job. Man, I sound like Nick Saban now! I have to avoid letting my adrenaline run wild and then wear out too quick. It is a four quarter game plus a post game and I need to be stable and level through the whole process. I can’t burn out after the first quarter. Ray and Nick have to stay in balance in my mind and, all things being equal, I probably shouldn’t do the Ray Lewis dance when I take the field, well, probably not.
I will be testing myself against all these amazing photographers from places like the Miami Herald and the big magazines in Sun LIfe Stadium tonight. I hope I rise to the occasion. I hope I kick some visual butt. I hope I shoot better tonight than I have ever shot before. I hope I am able to use the opportunity to climb to new heights. In a few hours I will know. In a few hours I will have either done well or not. To be honest, there is nowhere else I would rather be than out there shooting next to these guys.
And yes, I will be checking the Miami Herald website along with the AP and as many others as I can think of including those from our state to see whose booty got kicked and who did the kicking. I do hope I remembered to bring my boots!