There are a few interests that I have that Gabe actually shares. I'm still trying to work with him on the whole Chiefs fan thing. Can't seem to get him off the Packers. Even though pretty much all the family from my side all hail from Kansas City. I've attempted to logically explain to him that the only reason he even started liking them in the first place was because they happened to win the one Super Bowl that he actually watched. It hasn't gotten him to change his mind yet but we'll see.
Anyway, at least he likes basketball as much as I do. The playing part that is. Haven't been able to get him to watch an entire game on television yet. He may watch a little bit of the NBA All-Star game. Maybe even a little bit of some of a NBA Finals game. But NCAA ball is out of the question. Which amazes me that he knows so much about players in the League without actually following their careers. But again, at least he like playing it.
Competitive sports here in Texas is no joke. And they get them started at an early age. So kids that are Gabe's age at his school have already been playing for years. Even getting involved with different AAU teams. They start honing their skills early in preparation for successful high school, college and pro careers. A little premature? Well it's not near as serious as they are about football, but still intense. Gabe isn't to that level so he started off on a smaller scale: The Boys and Girls Club.
The Boys and Girls Club here has their own little league for different age groups. Each Club comprises their own team that would compete against the other teams from the Boys and Girls Clubs from surrounding areas like Plano, Allen and Richardson. It worked out rather well logistically. Even though the other teams are from other towns, all of the games were held in McKinney. So we never had to worry about fighting evening traffic for any of Gabe's games.
Gabe ended up having quite the knack for hitting three pointers. I was rather surprised by it myself given his size. He's probably the average height for his age, but it just seems like there are a good number of kids taller than him. So even getting the shot off was a challenge. Yet he still found a way to do it most of the time. Not the most sound looking jumper although still effective. Heck, Reggie Miller had the worst looking jumpshot of all-time and look how it panned out for him.
There are parts of his game that we still need to work on. His handles are not near where they should be. I was trying to remember back to when I was his age and I recall being the same way. It wasn't until late in high school that my skills in that regards were more polished. However, I don't recall having near the touch from the floor that he does when I was that age. Not a bad trade-off. You don't get points for dribbling.
Getting all of these shots was more challenging than I expected for a couple of reasons. The first being that the gym they played in was rather tiny. It wasn't like I could sit at the baseline to get good action shots. If I would have done that, the boys would have been right on top of me whenever they were on that end of the floor. I suppose I could have just moved over to the side, but that would have defeated the purpose of getting those close-up action shots where you can see the intensity in their faces. Instead, I was sitting in the bleachers with my 200mm lens trying my best to work some magic.
The other reason being that I still am not all that comfortable with my sports photography skills. I can count on one hand how many sporting events I had shot prior to doing Gabe's games. It has been a combination of lack of opportunity to do so and not having the right lenses to properly catch the action. As with anything else, if you don't get to practice enough, you won't be that good at it. It's all good though because it's not the niche I would like to get into anyway. Just don't have the loot it takes to invest in the right equipment to do that genre justice.
So I did what I could while shooting Gabe's games. I found myself constantly adjusting the settings the entire time. The light would always change depending on where they were on the court based on where I was sitting so I was getting my own workout. Didn't get near as many usable shots as I would have liked, but I got enough to get this nice little composite. More importantly, got to watch my son out there ballin' it up. That alone was better than any capture I got.