August 21, 2009

FOTOBALL: Give me Sugar Bowl

I was shopping for a TV in Circuit City when I got the call from my former photo editor John Curry telling me that not only was I going to the Allstate Sugar Bowl, but I was also going to be in New Orleans to cover pre-game stuff the week before. I had never been to New Orleans let alone a BCS Bowl and was ecstatic for the opportunity. After narrowly missing a bid to the National Championship the #4 Georgia Bulldogs would be facing the undefeated #10 Hawaii Warriors, Jan. 1, 2008. During the week I shot 2 Georgia practices, 1 Hawaii practice, 5 or so press conferences, a trip the Bulldogs took to a children's hospital, and a million fan features.

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Georgia's Sean Bailey walks across the field at the Louisiana Superdome before practice Saturday morning in New Orleans, LA.

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Georgia head coach Mark Richt is interviewed by reporters before his team's practice at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

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Georgia quarterbacks from left, Jonathan deLaureal, Joe Cox, and Matthew Stafford look around the Louisiana Superdome Friday before practice.

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Georgia quarterbacks from left, Jonathan deLaureal, Joe Cox, and Matthew Stafford look around the Louisiana Superdome Friday before practice.

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Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi

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Georgia football players react to one of several very badly missed field goal attempts made by various players as they have some fun before practice at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

The trip was the most fun work trip I've ever been on. After all it was New Orleans! My sister and brother-in-law even drove down from Alabama to enjoy the city with me when I wasn't working. We got to watch the most spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks show of our lives while sitting on the bank of the Mississippi river wearing gaudy 2008 glasses and sipping Hand Grenades. Several memories were made on this trip that I will never forget. It turned out, however, that not all of them would be good.

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Several women greet Georgia football player Kelin Johnson and his teammates as they visit the Children's Hospital Friday in New Orleans, LA.Around 25 of the Bulldogs visited the hospital to hand out signed footballs, t-shirts, and talk with sick children.The team traveled to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl being held Tuesday, January 1, at the Louisiana Superdome.

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Georgia football player Kregg Lumpkin, right, holds the finger of Justin Salisbery being held by mother Tammy Krol as teammates from left Demarcus Dobbs, Jeremy Lomax, Trinton Sturdivant, and Mohamed Massaquoi sign a t-shirt to give to Krol's sick son Nickolas Salisbery.

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Georgia's Brandon Miller holds Rhealyn Kline, 4 months old, with teammate Chris Gaunder looking on. Kline was brought to the hospital by grandmother Gloria Detillier to visit her sick sister.

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Georgia's Chester Adams, center, Mikey Henderson, left, and other teammates give a signed football to Ali Aucoin, 3, who has a brain tumor, and her mother Spring Aucion of Morgan City, LA .

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Georgia's Chris Gaunder looks at a toy display at the Children's Hospital Friday in New Orleans, LA.

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Georgia fans from left, Jack and Charlotte Robertson, and Kim and Danny Conkle of Athens take in the sights on Bourbon Street Sunday in New Orleans. The family traveled in town Saturday to enjoy the city before going to watch the Bulldogs play in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, January 1 at the Louisiana Superdome.

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Hawaii fan Trey Smith shops for Sugar Bowl gear at a store on Canal Street.

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Tamer Abdelbovky serves up a drink in front of the Island Warrior and Rapid Dawg mixed drinks created in honor of the Sugar Bowl on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, LA.

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A Georgia fan shouts "Go dogs!" after spotting other Georgia fans on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, LA.

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Three Georgia fans walk down Bourbon Street Sunday in New Orleans, LA.

John came to town the night before the game. We got there our typical 3 hours early to setup and feel things out. The game was incredibly exciting despite the fact that there was no contest as the Bulldogs mauled the Warriors with 8 sacks and a final score of 41-10. After-game madness is usually a lot to deal with, but I had never seen the celebration chaos of a big stage game. The Bulldogs were almost rabid once the trophy was brought off the podium. Senior kicker Brandon Coutu took off carrying the trophy towards a section of Georgia fans and like a herd on stampede the rest of the team took off after him. Somewhere in there I was brought to the ground, the chrome metal lens mount on my 300mm busted like cheap plastic as it slammed into the ground bearing the brunt of the force along with my knees. Two players stopped to help me. I hid my pain as the guys, unaware, cheerfully asked me to take their picture. I snapped a quick frame and took off to try to get jube pictures while fighting the tangled straps of my 3 camera bodies and clinging to broken pieces I had collected. When I finally made it back to my laptop to edit, the agony hit with unbridled force. When we left the Superdome I could barely walk. I ended up having to take a week off from work which wasn't near enough time to heal, as photographers know, there is a lot of time on the job squatting and kneeling.

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Hawaii head coach June Jones, left, and Georgia head coach Mark Richt, pose with the 2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl trophy at a press conference held Monday in New Orleans, LA.

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The Georgia Bulldogs push to get out on the field to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Tuesday at the Louisiana Superdome.

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Uga VI takes in the sights at the Louisiana Superdome.

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The Hawaii Warriors mascot, Vili the Warrior, gets the crowd going before the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Hawaii Warriors fans cheer.

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Georgia's Rennie Curran sacks Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan in the first half .

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Georgia's Knowshon Moreno runs for the first touchdown of the game against the Hawaii Warriors in the first half.

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Demarcus Dobbs tackles Hawaii's Malcolm Lane in the first half .

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Demarcus Dobbs celebrates with teammates Shaun Chapas and Quintin Banks after tackling Hawaii's Malcolm Lane.

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Georgia's Prince Miller is greeted by CJ Byrd, left, and Dannell Ellerbe after intercepting a Colt Brennan pass in the second quarter.

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Georgia Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez yells to the field during the 3rd quarter.

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Georgia's Dannell Ellerbe intercepts a ball tipped by teammate Marcus Howard in the fourth quarter.

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Georgia Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez jumps up on Dannell Ellerbe after his interception in the 4th quarter of the 2008 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.

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Georgia's Jeremy Lomax and others celebrate with Ramarcus Brown after his long punt return in the 4th quarter.

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Georgia's Fernando Velasco lifts up Thomas Brown after his touchdown in the 3rd quarter of the Bulldogs' 41-10 win over the Hawaii Warriors.

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Georgia football players reach up as confetti falls around them after winning the Allstate Sugar Bowl Tuesday at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

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Georgia's Dannell Ellerbe, center, Thomas Flowers, foreground, Rennie Curran, right, and other Bulldogs celebrate their 41-10 win over the Hawaii Warriors Tuesday in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Dannell Ellerbe admires the 2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl trophy after the Bulldogs defeated the Hawaii Warriors 41-10 Tuesday at the Louisiana Superdome.

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Georgia kicker Brandon Coutu holds up the 2008 Allstate Sugar Bowl trophy after the Bulldogs defeated the Hawaii Warriors 41-10 Tuesday at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, LA.

It is hard to believe that a year and a half later I still have aches in my knees from this injury. It seemed to set something in motion and turn me into a sixty-five-year-old woman over night. With the football season approaching I anticipate the dangers of the sidelines and the discomfort of all that kneeling, and can't help but wonder how much longer I can do this. It is a scary thought as I don't know anything else. I love it despite it all.


2 comments:

Kristin said...

That was definitely the best fireworks show ever, though once Uncle Steve took us out on the bay to watch 4th of July fireworks over Orange Beach from the water, and that was pretty cool, too. We need to go to New Orleans again for New Year one day.

Kelly Lambert said...

I definitely want to go again. Maybe this year! I just hope the Bulldogs go to the Sugar Bowl again so the room is paid for!