Sunday, October 5, 2008

One Lonely Picture

On Friday night I drove up to Logan to watch my beloved Cougars take on the lowly Aggies of Utah State. I say lowly because they're likely the second worst team in all of college football. Anyway, as I drove up, I took a picture of the wispy, autumn sky. I figured it was the first of many wonderful, football-filled pictures that would be taken during the night. However, when I arrived at the stadium I was confronted by a sign that stated coldly and simply: "No professional cameras. Cameras with interchangeable lenses or with multiple parts are not permitted inside Romney Stadium."

Now, let it be known that I had just walked many miles to the stadium from where I parked and was NOT about to walk back to put my camera in my car. I pretended not to notice the sign and walked up to the girl who was taking tickets. I spoke first. "Hey, am I okay to bring this in here?" Wait, what? Did I actually just ask her that? She obviously had not noticed my camera hanging around my neck. And didn't I want to sneak it by anyway? What in the blue hell had convinced me to ask her if my camera was okay? I was kicking myself!

"Oh. Yeah. I'm sorry, but umm... no, you can't bring professional cameras into the stadium."

I smiled for a moment, flattered that she had called my camera professional.

"Oh, thank you, but this camera is really only an entry level digital SLR." She stared at me blankly. Hell, I might as well have been speaking Japanese to this girl. She was nice enough. Not very good looking, though. And seemed a bit slow. Not mentally challenged slow, just not a very bright girl.

To her credit, I could tell that she didn't want this confrontation. I got the feeling that had I not said anything about the camera, she would have let me pass through unhindered, even if she HAD noticed that I had one of them professional lookin thangs on my neck.

I looked around at the stadium. Not really looking for something to say or an excuse to bring the camera in, but more of the brutal, internal beating I was giving myself for bringing the damn thing up in the first place.

"Look. I parked so far from here. I walked for miles. With a handcart. I don't want to go back to my car. Do you have a place where I can put my camera till the end of the game?" I didn't really mention a handcart.

"Umm.. no. We don't umm... have a place for your camera."

I nodded, considering the fact that I had just driven a hundred and some-odd miles to see the game, arriving near the end of the second quarter, only to find that my kind (people with nice cameras) was not welcome.

"Umm... if you promise not to take any pictures, you can bring your camera inside."

I nodded. "Okay. I can do that." I dismantled my camera and put it all away in the bag while I thought about how I'd get by her, find my place in the crowd and then start shooting away. I thought of how fun it would be to know that I was the rogue photographer in the crowd, shooting without any regard to the stadium's silly rules.

I made my way to my seat and sat down. I glanced at my camera bag, ready to shoot, but hesitated. I had promised her not to take any pictures. Was my integrity worth some pictures? Was this even a question of integrity? I had not promised a dying man that I'd take his heirloom watch to his son. I was not on a battlefield listening to said man's final sputterings of life. I mean, come ON! If you fall through on a situation like that you can just wave goodbye to your integrity. You do something like that and you're a full-fledged, genuine ASS!

I had simply promised not to take pictures.

Battlefield or not, though, I decided not to take the pictures. So, for all of my troubles (and a two-hour long drive) I have one, lonely picture. The Cougars did win, though.



  1. come on now, barry. don't you know that the right to use a non-fixed-lens camera is a very sought after right, and one that most press groups pay handsomely for. :D

    go get yourself one of those big canon powershots that have like 20x lenses, but they're still fixed, and allowed in stadiums and concerts and such. :)

  2. Yes, I know, my beloved Aggies have a craptastic football team. I mean, no one in their right mind goes to USU solely for their athletics program. I got a huge kick out of the shirts that people wore to the game, though. The ones that read, "Win or lose, you still live in Provo. 'Nuff said." on the back. Ha ha!

    Any ways, I'm sorry your trip to Logan was rife with frustrations, but kudos to your integrity! I know the old adage is, "It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission," but it shows character that you decided to not take pictures just on your word that you wouldn't. Although, I'm sure it drove you crazy.

  3. i think that very well might be the stupidest rule i have ever heard. but way to go on keeping your integrity in tact!

  4. Bar, admire your honesty, but it's not like you sell the pics to Reuters or something! I think USU needs to rethink their camera policy. SO many people have "good" cameras now, and they aren't detectable unless you have inter-changable lenses.they may as well state "only disposable cameras may enter"! I laughed so hard and my office mates thought it was funny too. I know just how you felt after your initial question! I know some people who are always thinking one step ahead, but I guess I am to naive to think abt. what I am going to say, too honest... or dumb!

  5. Also, just to add...I, too, think that the camera rule at Romney Stadium is stupid. It's not like they ever have games there that are worth wasting a professional photographer's time on.

  6. And a good looking lonely picture it is Barry.