Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shooting Lahainaluna Girls Soccer - December 3, 2011

Lahainaluna field. Daytime. Girls soccer. Blue skies? Better bring the Bigma, extra batteries, extra memory cards and ice for my shooting finger!

With the soccer schedule often coinciding with the basketball schedule this year, I will not be able to attend many boys or girls soccer matches this year. So what matches I can make, I will make the most of them.

Case-in-point: Lahainaluna girls soccer opened its season last week against Baldwin. It was supposed to be at War Memorial field, starting at 5:00pm. Perfect, I thought. I work in Wailuku until 5pm. I can just go down and catch the game - probably get there midway through the first half. When I got to War Memorial, the parking lot was relatively empty. Well, it is soccer. I also didn't see the yellow Lahainaluna mini-bus. Hmmm... then when I peered through the fence, there was no soccer match going on. WTH?

I did notice that the middle of the field was a muddy mess. Maybe they moved the match down to Keopuolani Park! So I drove down to the park, the lower fields by the MACC. I saw a match going on but did not see the red uniforms or the yellow van. As I got closer, none of the players were in uniform! Crap. Finally, I gave my friend Fred a call. She said the match had been moved to Keopuolani field 4 (which was where I was) and had also started one hour earlier, at 4:00pm! What?!

Finally, I decided to try the field they called the Pit. Making my way back down Kanaloa Avenue, I finally saw the yellow mini-bus and choke cars parked above the Pit. No parking there, so I parked at the Boys' Club facility. It was already 5:45 pm and I knew there was very little time left, if any. I got out my Bigma and walked down the sloped hillside. I had no idea what the score was or how much time was left. It was already getting dark. My Bigma is useless in low light, especially catching action. I snapped off about 20 pictures and the whistles blew. Game over. I managed to get shots of the girls getting in a huddle and the end-of-the-game handshake. Well that sucked. Later, I learned the Lunas lost 4-0.

Next on the schedule for girls soccer (Thanks Roxanne, mother of a player) was a home and home match up with Division II Hana. Because of the difficulties in traveling to Hana, this year, both the home and away games would be played on back-to-back days, with a game on Friday night and the following day at 10:00a.m. 

One of the peculiarities of playing in the MIL, which is a league composed of teams from 3 different islands. This not being a true home game for Hana and having to play back-to-back, it certainly does not make for a fair situation for Division II MIL teams. But to their credit, despite the scheduling problems, they Division II MIL teams are talented and have done well at HHSAA state tournaments. Molokai won state titles in girls volleyball and basketball (well, they did have a very talented player in Kalei Adolpho). Seabury Hall won the state title in boys volleytall. St. Anthony boys finished 3rd in the state last year in soccer.

Anyway, I digress. I could not make it to the Friday night soccer match against Hana because I was going Upcountry to cover boys JV basketball versus Kamehameha Schools Maui and then the Lahainaluna varsity girls basketball team at the Seabury Hall tournameant. But that's okay, because I would be able to make the 10:00am match on Saturday. And when a match like this comes up on the schedule, I have to make sure I'm there and ready to take several hundred photos and get shots of everyone.

So I packed up my Bigma, a Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5 - 6.3 behemoth, along with a monopod, and set out for Lahaina. Because I was going to shoot basketball later on, both at the Civic Center and then up at Seabury, I also backed my other Nikon camera body (D7000) and my indoor sports lenses (Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8). I also packed some clothes, my laptop and a fully charged cell phone and iTouch for my long day in Lahaina and then Olinda.

A day in the life of Lahainaluna Sports Shooter. Gotta love it.

For the Maui News article on the Lahainaluna-Baldwin soccer match, click here.

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