Warrior

Diamond DeShields (#22), Norcross High School Lady Blue Devils

It was hard for me to find joy in this game. A team that I had followed all year was ousted, but most importantly, one of my favorite players was injured. Thus, this gallery contains mostly “straight” photos (no enhancements, cropping, etc.) Also, I was forced to shoot with my backup camera (Nikon D7000) for the entire game. Thus, the images look very “soft,” in my opinion. Some due to slower speed and reduced image quality of  the D7000, others probably due to my lack of focus and concentration for most of the game.

Less than two minutes into the game, as I was shooting under the Norcross basket, something suddenly crashed into the lens hood of my camera and twisted it nearly off. At first, I thought the ball hit my camera, because that has happened several times this season. But this was not the case. Looking around, I noticed Norcross player, Diamond DeShields crawling on the floor. She screamed, “I’m bleeding!,” and my heart sunk.  A silence fell over the gym. A million thoughts raced through my head: How bad is she hurt?, Will she be able to play the rest of the game? Will she need stitches? Was I too close to the court? , Why didn’t I see her coming?

My initial thought was of the health of Diamond. She was quickly taken to the bench, where a bandage was placed above her right eye. A few minutes later, she was back on the court playing again. I felt a slight sense of relief, but would spend the rest of the game with my eyes trained on her for two important reasons. One, to make sure another mishap did not happen. Two, to be certain she didn’t suffer any adverse effects of the collision. She was already playing with a soft cast on her left wrist. How much more pain could she endure?

To say my concentration was not on the game at this point is an understatement. Aside for the situation with Diamond, I now had a camera that was flashing “err,” and several pieces of my lens hood had broken off. After trying different things suggested by fellow photogs, I decided to go to my backup camera. I was able to finish the game, but I stayed parked near the Norcross basket the entire time. I flinched every time Diamond walked to the free throw line with that bandage over her eye. I was hoping there wouldn’t be a scar

After the game, I rushed over to Diamond as the team was leaving the court following their victory over Parkview. I apologized for the accident with the camera. First she asked, “Was that your camera?” I responded “yes, I’m so sorry for what happened.” She simply smiled and said, “That’s OK, it’s alright.” It meant the world to me that she was not seriously hurt or mad about the incident. I have since ordered rubber lens hoods used by NBA photogs, to prevent something like this from occurring again. I found out later that she did require stitches, and I felt bad all over again.

Diamond DeShields was able to propel the Norcross High School Lady Blue Devils into the AAAAA Final Four,  defeating the Parkview High School Lady Panthers during the Georgia High School State Playoffs.

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