Tag Archives: high school


All eyes are on the pitch, which looks a little high.

All eyes are on the pitch, which looks a little high.

Just like with high school baseball, I found myself last Friday with a chance for photographic softball redemption. Our battling Bulldogs were in the first round of the playoffs and needed to win two back-to-back home games after dropping the first one the previous night at the opponent’s home field.

This bunt will lead to speedy Maya being on first base with an infield hit.

This bunt will lead to speedy Maya being on first base with an infield hit.

Because there was a chance of a doubleheader, the first contest started at 5 p.m. Yes, when it actually was light out, and I could use that lovely, wonderful ISO 200. I wasn’t totally disappointed in my previous night-game photos; however, I hoped my quality would improve. Plus I wanted to make sure I captured good shots of our numerous left-handed hitters (like Maya above).

Alyssia slides into third base. Note that the ball is in the fielder’s glove.

Alyssia slides into third base. Note that the yellow softball is in the fielder’s glove.

When you’re behind the fence trying to keep everything in focus through a small hole, you never know what action might be in front of you. You’ve got to be prepared for anything and everything. In this game, which we won 9-5 to force the tiebreaker, there were plenty of slides.

The tag is applied.

The tag is applied.

This is why burst mode was invented. Just got to hold down the shutter button and let the Nikon D610 click away.



It helps to get the umpire’s call in the photo—it’s the perfect ending to a short photo story.

Callie bears down on the plate as the catcher awaits the throw.

Callie bears down on the plate as the catcher awaits the throw.

Snapping away on the right side of the plate allowed me to get a couple decent action shots. But I was really glad that I had moved to the third-base fence when this sliding series took place.

The tag has yet to be applied.

Looks like she reached it.

With the catcher blocking the plate, our baserunner had to slip in under her to score before the tag.

Score it!

Score it!

Once again, the ump lets us know the final result.

It’s always fun to document a victory for our team. Even better? Getting to watch our girls notch a nail-biting 3-2 win to advance to the next round. Good luck, Bulldogs!

Batter Up!

Logan is ready to pull the trigger.

Logan is ready to pull the trigger in one of my few decent shots from a week ago. (Believe it or not, this is ISO 4000 with no noise reduction applied.)

You know how people say that something is just like riding a bicycle, meaning that you never forget how to do it? Photography doesn’t always fit nicely and neatly in that category.

Last Friday night I got the chance to shoot our high school’s varsity baseball team in what quickly seemed to be an exercise in futility. It had been three long years since I looked through my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens at running, hitting, and catching, and I felt about as rusty as the Tin Man before Dorothy and the Scarecrow rescued him.

I’m not sure what the photographic equivalent of an oil can is (I still chuckle at the Scarecrow saying, “Oil can what?”), but it’s probably experience.

As well as a second chance.

Trevor connects for a hit.

Trevor connects for a hit.

Fortunately for me, the guys played again the next day at our rival high school, which is close by. More importantly? It was a day game. Give it up for ISO 200!

I took what I learned not to do the previous evening and improved in my quest to document the action. Thank goodness!

I mostly concentrated on taking good batting pics. When it comes to shooting baseball, photographers want to capture the batter and the ball. It’s easier than trying to snap fielding photos, because you always know where the ball is going—to home plate. Then it’s a matter of luck, timing, and perseverance to nail the perfect shot.

Ryan is ready.

Ryan is ready.

Fortunately, I managed to snap the shutter perfectly twice with Ryan, both times during the same at bat.

This was my favorite shot!

This was my favorite shot. And he did hit the ball!

It made me think that there may be hope for me yet . . . as long as I don’t wait several years again to take baseball photos!

Picturing Who I Miss

Can you guess what this is?

Can you guess what my younger son sketched?

Of course, I miss my two collegiate sons a lot. Our house is quiet and lonely (albeit a lot neater). That was expected.

But what I didn’t anticipate was how much I miss the boys’ friends. Especially after the fun summer we had competing in trivia with all of them. When you spend every Friday night with a lot of them, you get used to having them around.

And then they all go off to college and leave you. So sad!

My older son concentrates.

My older son concentrates.

But before the summer fun ended, my sons, my “third son,” Chase, and Josh found themselves in our tiny game room playing a lively, raucous edition of Pictionary on the Wii U. They had so much fun trying to guess what word was being drawn.

Josh engineers his drawing.

Josh engineers his drawing.

Most of the time, one of the three contestants figured out what was being sketched in time. But Josh stumped everyone during one of his turns. He tried to help the other guys by saying that it was something that I liked.

Sorry, Josh, but we have no idea!

Sorry, Josh, but we have no idea what this is!

Thinking that maybe that was a filmstrip on the bottom and a film canister above it, everyone guessed photography or film. Josh kept drawing, but no one got it in the allotted time.

Can you figure out what Josh’s word was?

It was burrito! He knows how much I love Chipotle (not that I’ve ever had a burrito there; I always opt for a veggie bowl). That “filmstrip” is the ingredient area.

Oh, how we laughed and laughed after that! It was so darned funny!!

Now when I pass by the game room, I look inside and feel sadness at its emptiness, my sons having split up the game systems between them. But when I close my eyes and think back to that August Pictionary experience, I can’t help but smile.

And hope that my older son brings the Wii U home at Thanksgiving!

Sidebar: The top drawing is of a remote, by the way. Anyone guess correctly?

One-Word Wednesday

It’s official! My younger son is a high school graduate.

It’s official! My younger son is a high school graduate.


One-Word Wednesday

The kid shakes hands with the school district’s superintendent at his high school graduation last Saturday.

The kid shakes hands with the school district’s superintendent at his high school graduation last Saturday at the Toyota Center.


ProGrad Gambling

The kid surrounded by his besties: Michael, Ricky, and Jared, with Marcus kneeling.

The kid surrounded by his besties: Michael, Ricky, and Jared, with Marcus kneeling.

Just like his older brother did three years ago, once my younger son was done with graduation, he attended his high school’s final event: ProGrad. Project Graduation still is a supervised, all-night lock-in at their school featuring fun, food, games, prizes, and a hypnotist.

Big money! Big money!

Big money! Big money!

And just like his brother, the kid first checked out the Spin ’n Win with its guaranteed payout.

Sidebar: He opted for a clock, which normally would be helpful in his college dorm. However, it’s the analog version with hands and numbers. I think he only can tell time digitally!

After that, he quickly gravitated towards the casino part of the activities and had a blast there, once again just like his brother. But there was one big difference.

Pondering his next move

Pondering his next move

He became addicted to playing blackjack. After several of his buddies expressed concern to me about how quickly he was blowing the 15,000 chips that all the graduates were given, I decided I’d better check it out.

Playing two hands at a time

Playing two hands at a time

Sure enough, his pile of chips was rapidly dwindling. I watched as he finally lost them all.

But he still walked away with a smile, and I figured that was the end of his gambling escapades. Of course, I was wrong. After a friend gave him a couple chips, and he begged another for more, he parlayed those into 10,000 chips, which were good for two raffle tickets (not that he won anything, again much like his bro).

Wonder how his luck would be in Las Vegas. I’m afraid to find out!

Graduation Support

The motley crew: The Mister, Uncle Mike, #1 son, Aunt Carol, me, and Grandma surround the kid after his graduation last Saturday.

The motley crew: The Mister, Uncle Mike, big bro, Aunt Carol, me, and Grandma surround the kid after his graduation last Saturday.

It was a given that his loving family would be cheering on my younger son at his high school graduation last Saturday at the Toyota Center. The Mister, our older son, and I were joined by my mom (who flew in from Chicago), as well as the Mister’s siblings, Carol and Mike.

Best disc golf buddies: Glen, the kid, and Eric

Best disc golf buddies: Glen, the kid, and Eric

But adding to that support crew were two men who have been special in my son’s life for several years, Eric and Glen. They are his best friends, adult division.

Eric advised my son at the 2010 amateur disc golf worlds in Ohio.

Eric advised my son at the 2010 amateur disc golf worlds in Ohio.

We met Eric in December of 2007 at my son’s first disc golf tournament (the kid was 12 years old). They played on the same card in the first round. Since then they’ve made great doubles partners, winning the 2011 Amateur World Doubles championship, as well as good traveling companions and friendly adversaries.

Glen and the kid walk together during a tournament.

Glen and the kid walk together during a tournament in 2010.

Glen came into my son’s life in 2009, and it seemed like they instantly bonded. Their mutual love of sports and ability to not take themselves seriously enables them to always have fun together.

I’ve trusted Eric and Glen to take care of my beloved baby boy on numerous occasions, including when Glen and his wife Kelly toted the kid to and from Michigan, playing disc golf along the way. It’s wonderful how both men can be terrific mentors and friends for my young man in their own separate ways.

The Mister and I really appreciated that both of them took time out from their busy lives to attend our son’s graduation. We know it meant a lot to the kid that they were by his side during this important milestone.

It does, though, make me wonder one thing: Who will miss my son most when he’s at Sam Houston State this fall? Me or Eric and Glen? I know the kid definitely will miss them, too.

And maybe even me!

To the High School Class of 2013

The cap and tassel are ready to go.

The cap and tassel are ready to go.

Three years ago when my older son was preparing to walk across the stage at Houston’s Toyota Center, where he would graduate, I thought about what I would say to his class if I was asked to add a few words of wisdom. Of course, I wasn’t, so I published them in this blog instead.

Now it’s his younger brother’s turn to cross that same stage tomorrow afternoon. In case they need me to fill in for one of the speakers, I’ve still got that speech ready to go:

To my beloved younger son’s graduating class:

Today is a huge milestone in your lives. You are high school graduates! Even though this is a “commencement” ceremony, it’s actually a beginning for all of you. Make what you do in life count!

“Can’t” is the most-negative word in anyone’s vocabulary; don’t let it be part of yours! “Would’ve,” “should’ve,” and “could’ve” are negative traps that prevent you from moving forward with your life. It’s important to stay positive on the road to success. Make your own breaks!

Be sure to pay it forward—be thankful for what you’ve been given and what you’ve earned in life. Gratitude is the best attitude. Be grateful, not hateful.

Don’t forget the Golden Rule—do to others as you’d like done to you. If only everyone lived by this rule, we’d have no wars, no strife, no pushing and shoving in the back seat of the car by certain brothers I know.

second-#2369-(cap-gown-tassel)It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing! What matters is what you’re doing. Set a good example, be a great role model, inspire others. You know right from wrong—choose to take the right path; don’t follow someone else down the wrong road.

Tell the people in your life how you feel about them, hopefully, in a positive way. It can be too late to say “I love you,” “thanks for all you’ve done for me,” and “you’re my world.” Don’t let important words just hang in the air . . . say them.

Bask in the moment! Remember that your parents and loved ones are extremely proud of you today. This is a fulfillment of a dream, one of many in your lifetime. Enjoy it and look forward to the next one.

e.e. cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Be courageous! Take chances! Reach for the stars!!

Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Whether you build doors or knock them down, know that we believe in your ability to succeed. Best wishes to the Class of 2013. Continue to make us proud!

And to my precious #2 son, you never fail to make me proud of you. When you started kindergarten, I had tears in my eyes. When you walk across the stage tomorrow, I again will have tears in my eyes. Tears of joy, pride, and wonderment that I’ve had the pleasure of watching you grow up these past 18 years. You are a wonderful young man who will succeed because you have a great heart, sense of humor, spirit, and intelligence.

I’m the luckiest mom in the world! I love you forever and ever plus a day!!

The End of an Era

Notice much of a difference?

Notice much of a difference between the first day of high school and the last?

Today was the last day of high school for my younger son. He only needed to attend to pick up his cap and gown for Saturday’s ceremony.  It was quick and easy, a total contrast to his four-year, up-and-down high school career.

Considering that our journey (yes, our) contained severe detours and doubts that the kid would even reach this point, walking across the stage at Toyota Center seems nothing short of miraculous. If his high school gave out letters for perseverance and triumph of spirit, he’d have several on his (nonexistent) letterman’s jacket.

But I guess his graduating from high school and looking forward to Sam Houston State is award enough for us. Congratulations, my beloved baby boy!! We are so proud of all that you’ve achieved . . . so far.

Prom Wrap-up

Getting ready to meet his date and take photos

Getting ready to meet his date and take photos

Remember that “sneak peek” photo from last Thursday?

Here’s how those clothes looked on my younger son last Saturday. So devilishly dashing!

Matching Mariela

Matching Mariela, his gorgeous date

Unfortunately for the stalking photo mom, the only part of “prom” that I got to enjoy was taking hundreds of pics before the kids left for dinner. Oh, how I wanted to be a Nikon-equipped fly on the wall at the Royal Sonesta hotel, the site of their dance in the Houston Galleria! And it’s not like the kid even bothered to pull out his iPhone 4S and snap one lousy photo while he was there (“lousy” because we all know how bad indoor iPhone pics are).

I would’ve paid good money just to have seen him milking the cow while grooving to the music. It’s his signature dance move!

The kid’s group included his bestie Ricky and his lovely girlfriend, Megan.

The kid’s group included his bestie Ricky and his lovely girlfriend, Meagan.

Instead I had to be satisfied with just snapping away Saturday afternoon. Sigh!

Sidebar: The Mister was chatting with one of the dads, who he didn’t know. The guy told the Mister that the group was using a professional photographer. Guess who that was?!? Sorry, but I’m a bogus pro whose photographic weakness is group shots.

This group cleans up well!

This group cleans up well!

There’s nothing quite like having 12 sets of parents taking photos for 45 minutes when it’s 86 degrees out in the blazing sun. Talk about your sweat city!

But it was a wonderful memory for everyone that won’t soon be forgotten. Plus the kid had a great time that evening and the next day at a bay house in Surfside Beach.

Now we start that lightning-quick spiral through three more weeks of school, graduation, and ProGrad. Let’s sloooooooow it down!