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November 5, 2012

Photo story: Smoked on the sidelines

The sidelines can be a dangerous place to work. This photo was taken about a second before the second worst sideline collision I have ever been involved in occurred.

Fortunately, I've never been steamrolled by a ball carrier running out of bounds, becoming an instant Youtube sensation.

I've always wanted to make a photograph that somehow captures all of the pent up energy, tension and anticipation football players have in the moment leading up to the opening kickoff of a game.

If you could somehow bottle up all the energy…well, that's a problem for a scientist. I'm just a photographer.
I say this because if I were as smart as a scientist, I certainly would not have positioned myself in front of the locker room doors as Purdue took the field to play Maryland in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 29, 2006.

I got smoked. Broke the flash attachment on my camera and cut a small gash above my eye. But don't blame Cory Benton (78) and Jonathan Patton (56). They saw me and steered clear. The camera flash, still working in this photo, created the streaks of color in the photo.

But they created the perfect screen for the players (or was it a Mack truck?) behind them that knocked me to the ground. Did anyone get their number? No?

Oh, in case you're wondering? The worst sideline collision I've ever been involved in was with Purdue women's basketball player Lindsey Hicks.

She chased a loose ball out of bounds during a game in Mackey Arena and landed on me. Hard. It's not that I didn't see her coming. But when you are sitting on the floor balancing three cameras, there is nowhere to go. Make that three cameras and a basketball player.

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