FAMU by Sara Tanner

Jimmy Colton reminded me of this piece in a Facebook comment yesterday.

His kind words started me thinking about a few things.

At halftime of the game, my sister Elizabeth called to tell me our mother had passed away in faraway Nebraska. I was shaken and FAMU band director Dr. White could tell something had happened. He asked, I explained.

He brought the entire band together, said a prayer, and they sang. Incredibly generous gift.

It was one of the first multimedia pieces Laura Heald and I did. Total exploration of the medium from the ground up. We had some ideas, but not much experience.

Laura did a wonderful job of both shooting and editing. We had paired one of our 300mm f2 lenses with a Nikon D90, and first time out she rocked the manual pull focus — a tough thing to do.

The D90 was Nikon’s first foray into DSLR video, and thanks to William Pekala we had a couple of the units available. When he got his hands on the camera initially he called me and said you need to see this. It’s going to change your world. I don’t think either of us could have guessed how right he would be.

Steve Johnson jumped in to help us. Steve is a total band geek, and was just starting at UF. To say he was engaged, is well, a huge understatement.

Marguerite Schropp Lucarelli assigned the piece. Always love working with her.

Jimmy helped us figure it all out, and get it published correctly.

Lots of thoughts today mainly about what great folks I’m surrounded by.

Alex “The Buddha” Collins by Sara Tanner

Three years ago SI Kids Director of Photography Marguerite Schropp Lucarelli asked Laura and me to do apiece on Erin DiMeglio, a high school quarterback in Ft Lauderdale, FL.

She was great to work with, just a wonderful kid and a terrific story.

One of her friends and teammates, Alex “The Buddha” Collins, was a running back who was unstoppable on a competitive south Florida high school team. He ran over everyone.  We focused on Erin, but Buddha was always there–being a buddy off the field and a strong support on.

Getting ready to board my flight today to Atlanta I watched Alex on an airport tv still at it as the featured back in Arkansas’ attack.  17 carries for 91 yards, in the first half.

He’s been a star from the time he joined the Razorbacks.  A junior, this year he has carried for 1262 yards for a 5-6 team playing a tough SEC schedule.

Nice to see a familiar face with a lot of sun shining on it.