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Missing the action of your life - By Zach Porter

Over New Year's weekend, many of you watched bowl games on TV. You watched as the same play was repeated again in slow motion then again in slow motion but with computer generated chalk marks keying you in on important components you probably missed. You poured beer and chips down the hatch while listening to ceaseless commentary and play by plays. You relived the same moments over and over until something else worth repeating indefinitely occurred. I did not. I cleaned and rearranged my room, got my oil changed and actually read a book, (gasp!). I'd like to think that my New Year's weekend was more productive than those who sat on their butt cheeks and grew some roots to watch umpteen bowl games.

I did not go to a college with a football program so I never developed a strong connection with college football. My high school friends went to UGA but I never got to attend a game during my visits to Athens. I don't know how many bowls there are and who's playing in which one. It's simply another constructed world that I have little contact with. And before you go on in disbelief at my words or say I'm not a man, let me give you my own sports commentary.

It's like listening to a foreign language hearing my friends talk about recent games. I don't speak the language so I just wait the conversations out while acting like I'm passively involved in them, giving a nod or two. If they figure out I'm clueless about football then I fear being thought of as a wimpy "Nancy boy." So what if I don't care to watch football on TV and keep up with statistics that have no bearing on my life. Does that have to mean I'd rather philosophize all day? No. For starters I have been a great snow skier since I was a kid and I have run the Peachtree Road race with my dad a number of times. I was very psychically active as a child. Athleticism and physical exercise are certainly necessary for a healthy living and should be rewarded.

I have nothing but respect for athletes and their various talents. I see athletes every week on assignment for the newspaper and it would be hard for me to ignore their efforts as I record them with my camera. In fact shooting sports is always fun because there is a real thrill in catching one single extraordinary moment in time. It's a challenge because a great play will not recur. With TV there are hundreds of cameras to assure that the footage will recur over and over again to fill space and time on cable sports networks. The same bit of action will be played over and over but from every conceivable angle. Historic sports photos or any great photos still have great appeal because viewers realize that the photo was clicked in one single instant - what Henri Cartier-Bresson called the "decisive moment." Video footage of the same event may be great but arguably less difficult to achieve results since the camera is constantly rolling.

Sports are of interest to me, just not on TV. I can't get enthralled by a sports event unless I'm really there. It wasn't until I went to my first NASCAR race on assignment that I grew a special place in my heart for all those crazy hootin' and hollering fans. I don't care if you do have a big screen and surround sound certified by George Lucas himself, those revving engines and equally ear-deafening fans atop thousands of RV's just won't sound the same unless your really there.

Zach Porter is a photographer for the News Daily and can be reached at zporter@news-daily.com.