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Not Getting Lucky On Prom Night

There’s a certain amount of luck involved when trying to cover weird sports. Discovering them is the first crucial part. Obviously, being able to shoot them is the second.

For some time, I’ve been wanting to photograph the annual prom dress rugby match at UCLA. The web site for the women’s team was always out of date, so it was hard to push the button on a trip to SoCal. Then, when I went through proper channels for media credentials, they wanted to charge me a $2,000 shooting/location fee, since I mentioned I’ve been working on a book project.

You kiddin’ me? Los Angeles, you’re crazy.

(Officials eventually said they couldn’t stop me from showing up, but a sour taste in my mouth – and the Winter Olympics – kept me from going.)

While doing more research, I found a college in Minnesota that welcomed me with open arms. So there was that fallback.

But while covering Drag Queen Softball in Seattle last week, I learned that on the same field on the following Friday, they would kick off Gay Pride weekend with Prom Dress Rugby – with women in tuxedos and men in drag!

UCLA, bite me.

My schedule has been nuts, in good and bad ways. I was making a last-second round trip drive from PDX to cover this. Traffic was a huge problem, but not in Seattle. It took me over an hour simply to cross the Interstate Bridge into Washington State from downtown Portland. Sign of the Apocalypse? I say yes.

So, despite cruising at a healthy clip, I arrived after halftime. I almost never, ever take good photos when I’m that late. I find myself rushed and trying to simply make snapshots in focus. On top of that, I had never shot rugby before, so I was a little out of my element.

I also forgot to bring a monopod. And my 35 1.4 lens, like its owner, had a few screws loose. The jinx of prom night continues.

With all that said, I’m glad I went. I made a couple usable frames for a client. More importantly, I was able to see what it will be like when I go back again next year – this time much, much earlier.

While I did learn about this match on my own, I had a couple Seattle-area photogs give me a heads up the days leading to it. Thanks Erika & Andy for thinking of me. The UCLA event was pitched to me last year at Geekfest by Tim Galloway. I’m making an executive decision and splitting up contest prizes among those 3.

I’m flattered that when my friends hear of athletes in prom dresses playing sports, that they think of me.

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