MANHATTAN, Kan. — I’m in the Bramlage Coliseum media room after the Missouri Tigers lost 63-53 to the Kansas State Wildcats.
Two points of interest. The first: It’s unusual for a Columbia Missourian photo editor to cover a basketball game, but none of the staff photographers could or would volunteer to travel with the writers to Manhattan.
The second: I shouldn’t have worn a purple top for a game at/against Kansas State.
During the final 30 seconds of the game — which lasted about five minutes of real time — I was bored at my place at the endline. One of my camera batteries had died, so I was switching between lenses on the other camera, and I was pretty dissatisfied with my situation in general.
So I went into the stands, where I saw a young boy whose emotions were very much invested in the game: He was crying, shouting and, at some points, turning away from the court as if he didn’t want to watch the Tigers lose. I started making some pictures.
Then I heard, nearby, voices shouting: “She’s taking pictures of their son, and they don’t want her to!”
The last thing I wanted to do was upset anyone, so I nodded quickly at the offended Missouri fans and returned to my place at the endline. After the game ended, I went back to the boys’ parents and apologized if I’d upset them in any way.
“It’s just that our son gets really emotional,” the boy’s mother said.
“I understand,” I assured her. “It’s a really good fan photo.” Then — on a hunch — I added, “I’m from The Columbia Missourian, so when I saw that he was wearing a Missouri shirt — ”
“You’re from The Missourian? Well, that’s okay then!” the mother exclaimed, laughing. “We were afraid that you were from Kansas State, because of your purple shirt!”
“Oh no,” I said, relieved and embarrassed, and showed her my credential. “It was just a really bad, bad clothing choice; I didn’t even think about it until I got here.”
Then I asked her for her son’s name, and she readily gave me all the information I wanted.
Lesson learned: When you’re covering a team, watch what you wear at sports events.
And now — the long drive back to civilization Missouri. In the meantime, check out some more photos I didn’t post here.