Okay, so I’m guessing you are wondering how on earth a game winning shot/celebration photos is not the number 1 photo from the year. There are many reasons. I love this photo, do not get me wrong. I loved this moment even more. Seeing a team I covered all year win a National Championship, and the way they did was unreal, surreal and every other similar adjective.
However, I am not the only person that has this photo. In fact, the Notre Dame photographer was right next to me and has the exact same set of photos I have. So that is the main reason it comes in at #3. Besides that, it’s perfection. Arike's face, the ball bouncing up after falling through the hoop, the scoreboard lit up and of course the bench jumping up and down. Then look at the coaches faces, the screams, all of them heading towards Arike, It’s perfect.
I know I’ve used the word perfect a bunch throughout these photos but I think these top 5 photos deserve that word more than any other. I just love them that much. I remember the moment I got each of them so vividly and I do not think I’ll ever forget them.
Especially this one. I will never forget the moment the ball went through the hoop and the girls celebrated. It was seriously the craziest moment I’ve ever been apart of and I actually loved where I was for it. Let me explain that and to do that I have to go back and explain how I got to the Final Four and National Championship.
I met amazing people at Notre Dame. I know I have mentioned that one or two times throughout my blogs. However, what I have not mentioned is the amazing people I met that were apart of the media. Cindy Hamill was one of them and she works for The New Notre Dame Network and she is the reason I had a credential for the Final Four and therefore, the National Championship (Oh and of course thanks to Josh Bates, the women’s basketball sports information director who approves credentials).
Thanks to Cindy I got to be at the Final Four game against UConn and somehow I was given a seat on the floor to shoot. To say that was cool is an understatement. I was a kid in a candy store just being there. This was my first big time event. A game being played on the national stage and I’m with all these amazing photographers that are working with organizations such as ESPN, Associated Press, Getty Images, Sports Illustrated and so much more. I was blessed and am forever grateful.
That being said, when I did not get a floor spot for the National Championship, I was neither upset or surprised. It’s the National Championship for crying out loud! I was just happy to be there and to have the chance to capture somehow. So I went up to a designated photographers spot in the 200 level. It was fun to get the game from a different angle and it turned out to be the PERFECT spot for the game winning shot as Arike shot towards me. Once again, perfection.
Lastly, I chose this celebration over the actual shot because I have a certain love for celebration photos. You see the true emotion in celebration photos. Just look at Arike’s faces along with her teammates and coaches. That is pure happiness and excitement coming out after an entire season of sweat, tears and everything else.
Especially after the season of injuries the Fighting Irish had, this photo sums up how much this national championship meant to them. It was a lot and the photo of the game winning shot does not say all that this celebration shot does. Especially when you see the Mississippi State players in defeat. To see the two sides of a game winning shot is always exciting, so yes this could not be a better photo as #3.