Sunday, February 3, 2008

One more camera down the road, and I'm feeling good about it

When Nikon introduced the D3 and D300 cameras last November I got one of each. The D2xs and D200 cameras I’d been using were now surplus. I’ve gone through this cycle quite a few times as Nikon has introduced new models. First there was the D1, then the D1x, the D2h, the D2x, the D200, and then the D2xs. Each one was better than the ones before.

In the past, I always sold the old cameras on eBay. This year, I decided to do something different. I gave the whole D2xs system to the Media Relations folks at UMass Athletics.

I feel good, having given them nice equipment that they can use for years. And they are thrilled to get it. We should all be aware of the need to support our colleges. As rich as some appear, most scrape for dollars. UMass is no exception.

Some people ask why a geek like me would support athletics, as opposed to engineering. Here’s why: I run a business in a city (Robison Service) and I see firsthand the struggles inner city kids go through. When schools award athletic scholarships a high proportion go to poor kids in the cities, and those kids become role models for their communities. Engineering students don’t tend to become role models in the same way. So a scholarship for basketball can have farther reaching benefits.

Sports draw attention to a school, and everyone benefits from it.

That said, I also support other programs at UMass and Elms College. My father attended graduate school with the help of a living expenses scholarship from the Ralston Purina folks. I’ve given money for similar programs at my schools. Any of you can do the same . . . small donations add up and they form the large part of the endowment at many schools. You hear about the guy who gives ten million dollars but those people are rare. It’s the folks who give a hundred or a thousand, thousands of times, year after year, that keep our colleges afloat.

Anyway, I’m happy to have done it and I have some pictures from today’s game, which was Women’s Basketball against St Joe. I’m sorry to report, we lost. They didn’t whup us like dogs, but they whupped us just the same.

Women’s sports are a lot more civilized. I have never seen a riot or even a noteworthy fight (the kind that gathers a crowd who cheer and lay down money) after a game. The people just disperse and leave in an orderly fashion.

But this is the calm before the storm. The UMass Police are gassing up the helicopter, feeding the patrol horses, and loading the tear gas cannons to get ready for Superbowl Sunday. They may not riot for Women’s Basketball, but they sure riot for the Patriots, especially if they lose. By two this morning, we’ll have burning cars, drifting clouds of poison gas, and looters in the street. Ten thousand drunk and crazed students against one hundred cops.

Here we have a face-off over the ball



The referrees watch from the sidelines, whistles at the ready. Refs are not local. They travel a circuit so they're never in the same arena twice in a row.



There's often action to be photographed on the sidelines. Here's what looks like a French horn player, idling, waiting for GO from the conductor. I originally called him that, but a reader wrote in to tell me it's a Sousaphone instead. So it's one or the other. Whatever it is, they use it to play loud musical accompanyment for every big play and at random moments throughout the game. There's always the hope that a honk from the horn will throw the opposition off just enough . . .



Here we are, back to the play:





My friend Gordy brings binoculars to watch the cheerleaders, but with a photo pass you can go right down and mingle. I tell him that, but he has yet to buy a camera.


5 comments:

Donald said...

That instrument is a Sousaphone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sousaphone

Loved the book!

Chumplet said...

I keep reminding my husband to trade in his Nikon 35mm equipment for a good digital body.

As far as scholarships go, we're at the stage where we're trying to get one for my talented daughter. Her animation is Disney or Pixar quality.

I was on the first basketball cheerleader squad in Spain in 1974!

John Elder Robison said...

Donald, thanks for the correction. I have changed the post to reflect Sousaphone

Amanda Lara said...

Congrats on your new Nikon equipment! I wish I could have a D3 for myself, but right now I'll have to be content with my D70. The shots look great!

Robin said...

I am trying my best to be an engineering role model.

It's tough!