April 6, 2013

Final Four, Farewell

Brianna Bronger, 6, of Louisville, left, has her photo made with University of Louisville Men's basketball team member Peyton Siva after the inter-squad scrimmage Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 in Freedom Hall.

As someone who shoots a majority of my work in the sports arena from time to time I come to photograph certain athletes entire careers at one stage of their athletic lives. Some I don't remember others I wish I didn't remember.

The Louisville Cardinal standout guard Peyton Siva is an example of someone who I will remember. I took the above photo of him on his debut into the baskeball world after the Red/White scrimmage game back in 2009. As the years went on and I covered more games Peyton and I crossed paths. He doesn't know me and I am not "homer" enough to go up and congratulate him on a great 4 year college career, but still I acknowledge it.

As a photographer Siva has been a great subject to photograph. His creative way of getting to the basket makes for good photos but what's more is his team attitude and commitment to excellence. In a game against Kentucky this year, he soldiered through cramps at the end of the game, hoping to help his team win the game. Every chance he had he was squatting down to relieve the pain. Louisville won that game 80-77 and are now headed to the Final Four for the second year in a row.


Recently the University of Kentucky was knocked out of the NIT. While licking their wounds from a tumultuous season fraught with injury and a team chemistry that would make Todd and Copper seem like strangers, I am upset that they are not traveling to the Peach State for another Final Four appearance.

The reason is not one of true fandom but monetarily driven. I have to face this reality -- when UK does well I make more money! So yes, I am realizing that I am just as big of a fan as those who pretend to be media so they can sit on the court and be close to the action. My motivation is different but I am a fan nonetheless. That's why I will be cheering for Louisville hoping to get a call to go back to my hometown and photograph some couch burning and other mayhem if they win the championship.

This year there seems to be the same "joie de vivre" that the team 70 miles east of the "ville" had last year. Their defense is tenacious, their guard play is unprecedented and now with one of their own suffering a horrific injury, they seem to have a cause to fight for.

Today and Monday I won't just be pulling for the Cardinals to win the National Championship in College Basketball but hoping for a brighter future for both Peyton as he moves on to the next chapter in his athletic life and for Kevin Ware, who was injured last week, to make a speedy recovery.

University of Louisville guard Peyton Siva shoots a three point basket against the University of Kentucky, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2013 at the Yum! Center in Louisville.

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