The Red Vest Society is a clandestine community of sports photographers limited by painted yellow lines and laminated pieces of papers strung around necks. The official uniform is the branded-out red vest that blares one word in all caps…PHOTOGRAPHER. Just in case you didn’t know that this guy wasn’t one with the camera and all. We sign our lives away on waivers. We eat barely legal food. We submit to Sunday morning rubber-gloved pat-downs. Our jeans have grass stains and our shirts smell like last week’s game. We scramble for the padded folded chairs over the regular folding chairs.
“Did you get that?” always translates into “I didn’t get that, can you make me feel better by telling me you didn’t either?”
Then there’s the Green Vest Society. I got to be a part of it Sunday for the first time since they brought out those lovely red velcro lined couture. I was hired by Matt May and the fine folks in the photography/pr/marketing team of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to help out during their home game at Raymond James Stadium against the New Orleans Saints. These guys shoot every home and away game and have the task of making it different every time. Big challenge – and they are definitely doing it – and I saw some killer stuff as they edited. My job was very specific, but it was great fun trying to test my green vest as much as I could. The green vest is nice. er. The biggest difference is it gets you access to the press box and reporter’s meals (which is much, much more resembling of food – who knew all these years?). Good parking pass. You also get limited, but definitely better access at points. I got to play around pre-game on the field and scurry around the bench for a little bit. You get to deal with the same sound guy in your way. Still shooting rectangles in harsh light with white jerseys. Refs’ behinds stay the same size. To be honest, not a while lot different than covering it for newspapers.
Except the home team always wins…
…and the green goes better with my eyes.