Cal Football Home Opener
It's not football season until it's college football season! Last year Cal opened on the road at North Carolina, this year they opened at home against them. And again came out victorious.
KLC fotos was covered on the action side with Al Sermeno and covered on the on field presentations (plus some action) with Nathan Phillips. Marcus Edwards was assigned to the sponsor side of the game and Aditi Raghunath was assigned to the fan experience. And then Rob Edwards, Mike Wondolowski and Ariel Nava were all contributors/volunteers covering on spec. So lucky to work with such a great crew of photographers! Check out their collective coverage KLCfotos.com/calbears
I was going to cover for Cal as a volunteer so I could shoot features (like trekking up to tightwad hill for a photo), but ultimately ended up getting the gig for USA Today Sports Images. Since USA Today is just in-game action, I was able to cover pre and post game still for Cal. (Also a great reason to ensure your credential is under your name and you keep your copyright with all clients)
While covering "Tailgate Town" sounds like a drag compared to action, here's why it isn't. You get to interact with people. Great for the soul and means I can say hello to the former track stars I covered when we were both students and some alums who are big supports of the university.
And my parents - photo credit to my mama ;)
Also, you get a sense of the impact of college football. Families that create memories of bringing their kids to games and having a day outside, away from their phone, and some pre-game where they can play.
And beyond that, Patrick Laird and his reading program.
Last year, seemingly out of nowhere (while he had been putting in work for a while), a walk-on junior (entered as SEVENTH on the depth chart) earned a scholarship position and quickly demonstrated how he earned it. Hard work that paid off on the scoreboard. He started a tradition of mimicking that he was reading a book after a touchdown. To promote reading. What a unique and wonderful way to celebrate and use your platform for a cause close to your heart.
Then he took it a step further (as running backs try to do ;)) and started a website (WalkOnThenRun.com) and a Summer Reading Challenge, to prevent summer learning loss in student K-6. To share the core values on his site:
Great program, yes. But even better, after the game, still suited up, Laird visited with the students, explained how he loved reading and why it was so important.
A fantastic idea by a student athlete, and the support of Cal Athletics staff to have the program be boosted by awarding students and their families with tickets to a game. As a student-intern who stepped away to pursue my professional pursuits and now back at Cal with KLC fotos being official photographer, I feel all the feels. This is the type of story that is why I love UC Berkeley and Cal Athletics. It's so much more than academics and sports. With the new athletic director Jim Knowlton and second year head coach Justin Wilcox, I have the sense that they are building upon the legacy of Cal and taking it to the next level.
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