Column: Referees get in the way of capturing moments

An example of an action shot that a referee stepped into. (Cynthia Rangel photo)
An example of an action shot that a referee stepped into. (Cynthia Rangel photo)

When one thinks of a sports referee most think of a rule enforcer or the “sport police”. But as a photographer I think of someone who just gets in the way of my shot. In other words… my worst nightmare. But to be fair, there are two types of referees: those who get in a photographers way and those who respect photographers.

Here I am standing on the sideline of a freshman football game watching play happen through my camera’s viewfinder. The center snaps the ball to the quarterback. He scrambles to make his way through the defender, and I instantly move to capture the action, ┬ábut as soon as my right index finger hits the button to take the picture, the referee moves right in front of me. To my dismay, the play ends before I can move around him. I beat myself up over it, saying over and over, “I did not get the shot, I did not get the shot”. My stomach is empty.

One would think that I’d be used to it by now. But it’s still so frustrating to miss out on opportunities to capture great moments. Not to mention the referees knock people down. It happened to my friend and fellow photographer, Shay. She was just standing on the sideline of the field when a referee ran and knocked her down in the process. Not to mention the fact that the referee did not even apologize to her.

Photographers are just as important as the referees. Without the photographers there would never be memories from the football game. I understand that they have a job to do as well, so I do not get too mad when they step in my way. But I get outraged when they step in front of me and turn to look at me with a smirk on their face.

It just does not happen in football, it also happens in basketball. I understand that the referees have to run around the court to see the action of the game, but what I do not understand is why they step into my picture during a time out. I try and get pictures of the team huddled up during their time outs, but no! A referee has to step into my way and not allow me to get my picture.

It seems as if they do it on purpose. Some referees may get in your way on purpose, but a certain few do it by accident. Even when it is an accident i still get aggravated. I know it’s their job to watch the game and our job to take the pictures. But what is frustrating is then they step into an award winning photograph and ruin it. The shades of black and white aggravate me whenever I see them.