The Saratoga Sun -

By Liz Wood 

Getting the best out of an eventful weekend


Everyone seems to think that I am going to write my column this week about my new grandson. Well, he is special and he is my first grandchild, but being only two weeks old, I am not sure I can write 500 words or more about being a grandmother or having a new baby to hold and kiss.

He does fill my days with delight and reminds me to slow down. Every time I see him he is sleeping, so there really is not much to write about.

I will say, Telitha and Josh are awesome parents. Much better than I was at that age. I had no patience.

In case you didn't notice, this was a busy weekend. All of us at the Saratoga Sun were driving in different directions, between Chariot Races, basketball games and wrestling tournaments we were in different parts of the county.

I had Mike and Doug choose what they wanted to cover Saturday, which left me with the Saratoga Basketball game against Burns.

Doug had a Saratoga game to cover Friday night, so I covered the Encampment game Friday night.

One of my favorite things to photograph is basketball. I like to challenge myself to see what type of shots I can get.

This year, I have only had the opportunity to photograph one game and that was Encampment's homecoming.

I was really happy I got to cover the game in Encampment Friday night as the girls game was one of the most exciting games I have seen.

I did not grow up watching sports, for the most part.

The small town I lived in had lost a female basketball player to a heart attack during the game. After that, sports for girls were banned, because it was too hard on them. We've come a long way, baby!

In high school, I moved to Des Moines and I watched the home games because I was in the pep band, but I mostly went for the socialization.

When my kids were in sports in school, I worked in Rawlins and did not have many opportunities to attend their games.

In high school, my kids didn't play sports. They were on the speech team instead. They would never let me watch them practice, so I always had to wait until the end of the season to watch them, when they showcased their talents for the public.

I love watching our teams play and it is especially fun from my perspective as the camera person. I pay close attention to see how to anticipate their moves to get the best shots.

My camera just happened to be in the right spot when Konnar Knotwell made that 3-point shot to tie the game with four seconds left.

The crowd roared! My heart raced. We were going into overtime.

The Encampment boys had come out a few minutes early to watch the end of the game and get ready for their warm up. It didn't take long for them to realize that this was going to take a while and they sat on the bench to cheer their team on.

I am not sure what gets me more excited, the game or the cheers and roars at the games. Either way, I was on pins and needles hoping the Encampment girls would win. They certainly worked for it.

It probably reminds me of the excitement when the town of Alta, Iowa went to state. That was the only time my dad seemed to be interested in the games. He would drive us to Des Moines, where our grandparents lived and go to what then was Veteran’s Arena and we would and we watched as the the Alta kid threw a half court shot and it went in. Alta won the state tournament on the buzzer.

I love that type of excitement at a game.

Although the Encampment girls lost that night, they can walk away proud, because they put up a heck of a fight.

Saturday morning I was able to cuddle my grandson. Josh and Telitha brought him out to the house while Josh help Jerry replace some lights. I took pictures, because it had been over a week since I had taken any and I needed more photos to show off to my friends. By the way, thanks for putting up with me.

Back to Mike and Doug's choices. Mike chose to cover the Chariot Races - go figure, and Doug offered to cover wrestling in Hanna.

I had not seen Saratoga play on their home court this year, so I was excited to watch them play.

I had never seen the Burns Broncs play basketball before and it was quite an education for me. They are an aggressive team to say the least.

Unfortunately, the Panthers girls lost to Burns despite an enormous effort on their part.

As the boys started to take the court I was looking forward to watching them play. The last time I had seen them play was against Encampment for the Tiger homecoming. I wanted to watch to see how they went up against Burns.

I certainly saw a different team Saturday than at the Tiger homecoming game. The Panthers were playing much more confidently. I saw them use a technique on the court that the Tigers used to get past their defense and the Panthers did it well.

I watched the Panthers get kicked and jerked around and they still played fairly. Same thing happened with the girls. .

I saw parents get excited, and even a couple were asked to leave the game. I think if I had been a parent I would have been kicked out the game.

I talked to a couple of the coaches about what I saw, just to make sure I wasn't over re-acting. One coach said it is much calmer than it used to be, the other said "it's not middle school basketball."

I have to commend the Panthers for their restraint on the court. When I was going through my photos, I saw photos of a girl who was sandwiched, slapped in the face and tripped. She kept playing and gave it her all.

I walked away from the games with a whole new respect for the Saratoga Panthers. Good luck to all the Valley Cats as they prepare for regionals in Wrestling and Basketball.

Sunday, I went to the Chariot Races. It is always a challenge to get good photos at the races. You have 30 seconds at the most to try and catch the motion of the horses and only 10 chances per day to find unique ways to photograph them.

I have some new lenses that I am playing with and at one point and I had to look up because it looked like a team was about to run right over me. I changed my course of action, because I didn't feel like getting run over by 4,000 pounds of well-muscled athletes.

This wind blew and my ears were full of dust but, as usual, the Chariot races were fun to watch and photograph.

Have a great week!


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