How Athena Spent Her Saturday
Posted on January 9, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 26 Comments
She spent it playing basketball for her school’s fifth grade team. As she will be spending her next several Saturdays, in fact. And it was a pretty enjoyable game; it sounds like a cliche, but the girls pretty much left it all out there on the court — by the time it was done you could tell they were exhausted. Heck, I was worn out and all I had to do was heft the camera. And they seemed mostly to have fun, too, which as they say is the important thing. Actually, the important thing is going out to eat after the game. But fun is good, too.
Kids get sophisticated young these days. Basketball games in 5th grade? I was still trying to remember which type of paste not to eat at that point!
Where did you guys eat?
Good for her! Basketball is harder than it looks; tried it and failed. So I have a huge amount of respect for anyone possessing the hand-eye coordination required to play basketball!
Nice camera too, or were you actually sitting courtside?
I thought crushing your opponent in utter and complete defeat was the important thing.
@4: …and to hear the lamentation of the parents.
What’s your camera hardware? Nice pic.
Camera: The same Nikon D70s I’ve had for years, with a telephoto lens.
Remember that when the stoved fingers come, you push into the joint and turn, rather than pull, to release (that is according to my current medical professors but certainly was not the advice I followed when I was 10). I hope she enjoys it; it was definitely a good elementary girl sport when I participated.
What a great picture! And sounds like a great game.
I wish my two had gotten interested in an indoor sport. I spent many a Saturday morning standing in torrential rains watching them play soccer. But yeah, the after-meal at Shoney’s or Backyard Burgers made it all worth it, even if our shoes did squelch as we walked in.
Congrats to Miss Athena!
“but the girls pretty left all out there on the court”
It might be just me, but I think you left a couple of words out there.
Soccer in fall, Basketball in Winter and track in the fall. That keeps them to busy for boys. So far it is working for my 16 year old (I think!)
Ooops Track is for the Spring..of course.
Pworker, I did soccer(fall), track (spring), and horseback riding (a spring/summer/fall sport generally). And I still found ample time for both boys and drugs… But hey, I was also in good shape ;)
Basketball is awesome. Team sports for the win! :)
Now that is one very good photograph on a lot of levels. The delight in Athena’s eyes . . .
The D70s is a great camera! I had the original D70 and drooled over the s when it came out… It was lovely.
What lens were you using? I’ve got a three-year-old who’s quite likely to be getting into sports in the next couple years and I need to be prepared… :-) I’d love to be able to get shots this good! Which I realise is basically just photographer skill, not equipment, but I still want to give myself every chance possible. :-)
Actually, it’s the photographer taking lots of shots with good equipment and then showing you one that came out well and not showing you the dozens that were just blurry as all hell.
Sounds like you had an excellent time, John.
Sports at an early age are important. Show the little ones there is some fun in going out and play with a ball from time to time and maybe they won’t be so addicted to a computer game (which I am personally guilty of).
My 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son are playing basketball this year also. The boy is feeling vindicated, as he’s had to sit in the stands and watch his sister for the last 2 years, a state of affairs that he viewed as ‘not fair’.
Athena show’s very good taste in sports! (and parents, but we knew that already). I bet they use 10 foot rims in 5th grade though, which has to make it hard. Hope they at least use the girl’s b-ball. (there should be a rule that geezer’s get to use that ball too as it increases the range of my jumper markedly).
That picture is great. Is the blur on everybody but Athena photography wizardry or Photoshop wizardry? Either way, it’s still a super product!
What’s a girl’s basketball? Aren’t they all the same?
@izanobu A girl’s regulation ball (American only, I think the boy’s ball is used in Olympic and international play ) is supposed to have a circumference of 28.5 to 29 inches and a boy’s 29 to 30 inches. The girl’s (or is it girls’?) ball is about two ounces lighter also. Doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a big difference. Sorry for the egregious typo in my first post, I unfortunately do that all the time….
Great shot! We just had my 5-year-old’s first-ever basketball game today. Watching a bunch of kids race around the court, some of whom have only a vague idea what’s going on, was hilarious. We got creamed, but Benjamin had fun. He even got to steal the ball, dribble all the way down the court, and make a perfect pass to a teammate. Made up for the time he spent skipping around in circles …
I spent a great amount of time coaching little girls soccer and softball and my theory was that if we went .500, no one got seriously hurt, and everyone wanted to play again next year I had done a great job. The advantage of girls teams is that in the past (changing now) there were far fewer parents who bullied their kids and tried to bully me because they believed that their kid was the second coming of Pele or Babe Ruth.
That precious time in their lives when they enjoy the athletic endeavor mainly for the exaltation of effort and exhaustion, team parties, and the after game snacks needs to be held close.
@Scalzi: Ah, I see we subscribe to the same school of photography! If I get one good shot in ten, I figure I’ve had a fantastic day. I’m intensely jealous of real photographers who get 50% or better without apparent effort.
@herbie: I’m guessing it’s primarily a photography thing. It’s probably a fairly wide aperture, which means that only a very small part of the picture will be in focus. He was also probably tracking Athena as he took the shot, which would blur everyone who wasn’t moving exactly the same speed as she was. Of course, he might have enhanced it in Photoshop afterwards too. :-)
Chris Salter @25: School gyms are, in my experience, generally very poorly lit, at least for a photographer’s purposes. I’ve no doubt that the aperture setting Scalzi used in that shot was the widest the lens allowed, given that flash photography from the side and baselines is usually forbidden.
And yes, that shot looks as though Scalzi was tracking his daughter with the lens. This is a technique that requires practice, which is why, per Scalzi’s comment at #17 above, he likely has dozens of shots (since deleted, no doubt) in which Athena is as blurry as everyone else in the shot. That’s part of the beauty of digital photography; you can take dozens, even hundreds of shots to get the one you want, all without wasting film.