Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mission Kissimmee: Reflections On A Modestly Successful Trip

MAR 13th, 2012-Well...sigh.

I'd like to think that the trip to Kissimmee was well worth the time and money, but there are a few things that didn't quite go the way I had expected. A lot of things, actually.

Where do I start?

1. Timing is everything-My whole reason for making this trip was to get as many good shots of the Astros in training as I could, and the first real access to the Osceola Complex I had was on the day I left Florida. If I had known that they wouldn't be opening things up for the rest of us until then I would never have gone down until the first week of March at the earliest. That one you can blame on my pride; if I had bothered to call the Astros front office to find out how things were going to be, none of this would have been an issue. Which brings me to...

2. Why did I go?-This one is a little cloudy for me. I felt like I wanted to share the pics I got with my fellow Astros fans, and I guess I thought I would be able to make some contacts while there. Finding work as a freelance photographer is not as hard as it sounds; you just have to work your butt off and put yourself out there. In my mind, I felt like it was worth making the trip just for the experience, but part of me thought it would mean more than it did. Does that make sense? Probably not. Let's just say that I was hoping to pick up a little work in the process, but I should have put that idea aside and just enjoyed myself. As it was, I spent 90 percent of my time stuck in my hotel room, editing pics of players I've never met, hoping that I could make some of those pics available to the players themselves. The thing is, only a few of them even acknowledged that I was there (thank you, Brandon Culbreth, Adrian Houser, Rene Garcia, Vincent Velasquez and Jason Chowning). Why should I expect anything different? They don't know me from Adam. I should have just enjoyed the process and the fact that HELLO I'M IN FLORIDA, but I took it way too seriously. What I didn't think about was that...

3. Baseball is a Game-And games are supposed to be fun. When I got too focused on business, I forgot that this should have been fun for me. I can't really say it was as fun as I had hoped. And that was my fault.

I did make a new connection with one of last year's draft picks (Mitchell Lambson) and also got to hang out with Brandon on a few occasions, had dinner with him and Adrian, went to a tattoo shop with Brandon and Vince to see Vince's new tat (good GOD, it's a big one), got to talk to Rene a few times in the hotel lounge, and talked to Jason about his arm and his feelings about the progress he's made. That was the part that meant the most to me. These guys are living the dream, and I take a great interest in the experiences they have off the field while adjusting to a new life with new possibilities.

But I didn't go for that. It was just a bonus. I love photography. I would have gone only for the pics. I picked up a little work from a local paper covering one of the hopefuls in camp, so there's that, and got a couple of shots for a player's family (who were so hyped about it). Some of these kids will land in Lexington this year, and we'll be here when they do. I'll be doing my best to give them the best shots I can get.

Only thing is, I have to remember to have fun. For 9 days in Florida, I almost forgot that part. 
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