5. Julia Reggio 1000th point
I have captured a few 1000 point moments throughout my time being apart of college athletics. Each has their own special moment and means something different for each person. Overall, it's a special milestone that only so many hit throughout their careers. The moment also happens differently for each. It could be a layup, a three pointer or at the free throw line. You truly never know how it might happen. I’ve captured it as layups and now I can say I’ve had two players hit it from the free throw line. Julia Reggio is basically my neighbor and I’ve known her the the Reggio family since I was in high school and even a bit before that. So we are going on almost 10 years knowing each other in some capacity, which is why this was a special moment that I’m blessed I was able to capture. I was also really lucky I was even there which makes this moment mean even more. I had no clue Julia was even close to hitting her 1000th point until SHE told me at half time she was 3 points away. When she first said that, I didn’t even understand she meant she was three points away from 1000 until she clarified that for me. So the one game I randomly decided to put on my calendar, at least month ago, to come shoot for the girls happened to be the game she hits this huge milestone. That's lucky and very special in my opinion. I know this meant a lot to her parents and I feel good knowing I was the one that captured every part of the moment. Since I’ve captured a 1000th point from the free throw line before I knew exactly what I needed to do and the photo you see below is the result. The ball leaving her hands and into the basket, a memory she and her family will remember forever. The luck of me being there on such a big day for a family that means a lot to me, makes this a very special moment from 2019 and it only happened two weeks ago!
4. White Plains Men's Basketball vs Scarsdale
Staying within the White Plains basketball family for this next story but this time on the men’s side. My dad captured White Plains High School athletics for around 12 years, so basically from when I was in kindergarten till I was a junior in high school. I was his little shadow and got to follow him around (where I found my love for sports & photography). It was a lot of fun but that has nothing to do with this, I just like mentioning that. So, since he was working at the school for 12 years, he captured a lot of different athletes and coaches, however a few coaches stuck around his whole time there, one of them being Spencer Mayfield, the men’s basketball coach. They had a few great teams during my brothers times in high school. Even though my brother did not play, his friends did and they are some of the most memorable players to me because I knew them as people, not just the athletes. Fast forward to now and those ball players are now adults themselves and some of them have become coaches as well, while Mayfield is still coaching at White Plains. That was a lot of backstory to explain that this top moment was when two former players got to coach with and against their former coach in one game this season.
Spencer Smith and Jordan Griffith played together in high school under Mayfield. Now Smith is an assistant at White Plains, while Griffith is assisting at Scarsdale high school, a town over. One week into this years basketball season, Scarsdale competed against White Plains in the Harrison Holiday Tournament. I work with Harrison high school, so there would be no way I was missing this tournament because both Harrison & White Plains would be playing in it. The cherry on top however was that two high school teammates would be coaching against each other. That was something I had totally forgotten about until I captured the Smith and Griffith hugging before the game. That was when I realized how special of a moment this was. And for Griffith, it was twice as special because not only was he coaching against his good friend, he was also coaching a man who coached him and made a huge impact in their lives. Forever grateful I was the one to capture this unique moment since my dad was the one to capture them on the court back around 2005 - 07. It all comes back full circle and the photo like the one below are moments that will be framed on walls for years to come. Jordan standing with his team during the national anthem, as we see the back Spencer Smith & Mayfield in the foreground standing with White Plains. A photo I am very proud to have made.
3. Harrison Football beats Easchester
I love this coach so much I would put this at number 1, however I figured he would probably call me crazy and when you all read the next two, you will understand why this is 3. Jay Ciraco is one of my favorite people and I am not afraid to admit that at all. I only met him 9 months ago and I’m forever grateful to have him in my life. On the first day meeting me he was already so sold on my work and photography that he was interested in me shooting the football season the following fall, which would be his first season as the head coach. He had only seen a few posters of mine and I had yet to shoot one Harrison baseball game. That felt special and ever since that day he has always made me feel appreciated and seen. He makes sure to let me know that he notices my hard work and how much he appreciates it. He also works with me on social media but doesn't push it and lets me relax. He is just a person that I know will help me for as long as I need it and I will do the same for him. That is whey when he got his first win in his second game of his career and of the 2019 season at Eastchester on September 14th 2019, I could not have been happier for someone. I could not have been more thrilled to have been there, and more importantly to have been the one capturing it so that years from now every can look back on the moment for years to come. And that would not have been the case if he never asked me to come on board. That is why Jay Ciraco’s 1st win of his young head coaching career at Harrison is my number 3 moment. He works so hard, cares so much and is genuinely a great person. So seeing it pay off and seeing the kids work to get him that win, was so rewarding. I can’t wait to capture more wins in the future. I have told him this before and I’ll say it again; as long as he’s around, I’ll be around Harrison for as long as I can. Oh and this game also went into like three overtimes so that makes for a great moment in itself. It can never be done easily, always has to be “fun”.
2. Surprising Columbia Football at Cornell
Last year I was an intern with Columbia football and I’m sure if you’ve followed me for a bit, then you already know that and you know how much those football players mean to me. That is why there was no way I could leave this moment off of this list. I almost made it number 1, but that felt selfish and number 1 truly means more in a different way, just wait and see why. But, back to Columbia football and this moment. In November I was able to surprise the team by driving up to Cornell for their final game of the season! I reached out to the sports information director weeks prior seeing if they needed a photographer for the game, they said yes and it was a done deal! I had to keep this secret for weeks and even though that was the hardest thing for me to do, I knew it would be worth it because I knew their reaction would be worth everything. Well, I was right and also pleasantly surprised. I got so many hugs, so many shocked faces and even more smiles. I even got a few curse words because they were so shocked (in a good way). I got poses for the camera again and most of all I felt all the love I had been given a year ago. It was honestly one of the best days of my entire life. I smile a lot but I do not think I stopped smiling that day. Even when they were losing and lost the game. The moment and surprise meant so much more than a win or loss. The kind words I got from the seniors who were so touched I was there for their final game meant more to me than anything. I was hoping for a few smiles and hugs. What I got was outpouring support, loves, hearts, thumbs up and more love. I knew we had a special connection but I didn't know if it still meant as much since I had not been around.
The best moment of them all (the photo below) was when captain Michael Murphy saw me. He was someone I was very excited to see and nervous how he’d react, especially right before the games starts, since he’s a focused competitor. But he walked out with fellow captain Josh Wainwright, who I had seen earlier in warmups, and Murphy could not believe his eyes. He smiled, laughed and clapped with excitement and I got it all on camera. That was something I had hoped to do; capture one of the athletes reacting to seeing me again on camera. He gave me the best reaction I could have ever asked for and then told me to put the camera down and give him a hug. That put all the worry I ever had to rest. The whole 2018 season was a moment to remember, but this was something that will stay with me forever because even after all that time, these players remembered me and showed their continued support. Just look at his smile!!
1. Julie Lenhart Retires
Last, but certainly not least is one of the greatest of all times. Julie Lenhart. She was the coach for SUNY Cortland softball from 1995 till this past season in 2019. I was fortunate to be her manager for a few years in 2012 through 2016 as well as capture her and her players throughout that time and beyond. She is one of my favorite people from Cortland and for so many different reasons. That is why when I was able to capture to her last SUNYAC title as well as her last game ever as a coach of the Red Dragons, I was honored. I am the only one that captured those moments. No one else has the photos that I have. That is only one of the reasons it had to be the number one moment. I got to be the person who captured a moment that so many people, not just Julie or that team, but so many people in the future will look back on and reminisce on. She took me in as a manager in 2012 and made me feel welcomed. She made me feel appreciated. I was apart of the team no matter what. They made a run that year all the way to the National Championship game and I captured every part of it. Then I didn’t do as much manager the following years as I got into photography but she always welcomed me and I knew she was there if I needed her. I was allowed to shoot from the dugout, I could go to away games if I wanted. She would purchase posters from me for her seniors, something she did even after I graduated and up until her final season. Every time I came back to Cortland I would stop in her office to talk and she would always make me feel like a superstar. She believed I was very good at what I do and knew I was destined for good things. Coming from someone like her, it felt different and meant a lot. She never failed to let me know that I had a talent and would even give me advice for what I might be able to do with my business. She was special to Cortland and that’s why I am so blessed I got to capture her last moments as the head coach for the Red Dragons. The photo I’m sharing is during her last game and it’s such a simple shot but something I do not think I would have gotten in 2012 since i've grown so much since then and that is why I’m choosing that over the celebration from her last SUNYAC Championship. Oh and it goes to mention that Julie means a lot to me for one other reason: she chose a photo I took of her celebrating after the 2012 SUNYAC championship win to be used in the Hall-of-Fame when she was inducted. That’s special. She’s special. Coach, if you read this, thank you for impacting my life the way you did so many other. I feel very fortunate.