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Texas A&M vs. UCLA

The California Rose

September 9, 2017

As I write this post, I am jammed into a window seat inside of a extremely uncomfortable plane (not calling out anyone…Spirit), fueled by 2 hours of sleep, an excessive amount of Coffee and my gourmet dinner of hot dogs and Oreos. I have no where to put my feet because my large camera bag is taking up the floor beneath me (no way I am checking my babies), and I feel like my hamstrings will cramp at any moment. All of this, and I would gladly do it a million times over just to be able to experience this weekend one more time.


The excitement and nervousness did not set in until we were driving past the mansions in Pasadena, getting closer and closer every minute. I had been counting down the days for months now and the time had finally come. As I entered the gates, I paused in front of the stadium to soak it all in. It’s here. It’s happening.


The Rose Bowl.


Texas A&M vs. UCLA

I walked out onto the field a few hour before the game was set to begin to get the lay off the land, and the beauty shocked me. A vibrant green field surrounded by stands that felt like they went up for ages, with the Eucalyptus trees and nearby mountains close behind.


Then a few hours later... Kickoff! I missed this. It had been 10 months since I felt this rush. The amazing nervousness of photographing a collegiate division one football game. I missed sprinting up and down the sidelines, constantly fighting for a good position with other photographers and fans while sweating my ass off.


Texas A&M vs. UCLA

The first half was an incredible showing by the Aggies. They seemed unstoppable. The UCLA defense could not stop the run game or the thunderous cheers from the 12th Man as the Aggies scored again and again. The Bruins looked dead on the sideline. The players and fans were staring onto the field in disbelief. Meanwhile, Aggies were already celebrating the win late in the third. I mean, there is no way a team could come back from a 34 point deficit in 19 minutes?


Wrong.


After the Bruins scored a touchdown late in the third quarter, the momentum completely shifted to the opposite sidelines. That dominance and swagger that the Aggies had was now property of the Bruins. UCLA Touchdown after UCLA touchdown. A&M punt after A&M punt. Before I knew it, there was 43 seconds left on the clock. Aggies up by six. Bruins had the ball in the redzone. Josh Rosen faked a spike, dropped back, and fired a throw to the corner of the endzone where ? would make an amazing catch for the game winning touchdown. Game. UCLA wins, 45-44.

Texas A&M vs. UCLA

I just witnessed one of the worst second half collapses and one of the most amazing comebacks in recent college football history. The adrenaline (and frustration) was flowing. I could not believe what I just witnessed. I stood close to the tunnel right after the clock expired, watching as deflated A&M players and coaches walked off the field as UCLA celebrated behind them accompanied by roars and fireworks.


As I walked out of the media room towards the car, after hours of editing and publishing, I paused again to soak it all in. It was well after midnight, and the stadium was empty. I had the Rose Bowl all to myself in that moment. I have worked hard to get to this point, What a reward this was.  I am looking forward to more opportunities like this one in the future, yet for now, back to Kyle Field.

Gig ‘Em.

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