Given that it’s vacation season for many of us in the northern hemisphere (you may be taking more photos this time of year if this is your summer); and given that this is baseball’s Induction Weekend at Cooperstown, NY (Andre Dawson, Doug Harvey, and Whitey Herzog are joining the Pantheon of Baseball Greats), I have this story to share, involving Hall of Famers from The Team I Love to Hate. (I am originally from Boston, home of Dunkin’ Donuts, Fenway, and the dropped ‘r.’) But baseball is really just the backdrop for a story about the power a simple photo holds.
At the Tunnicliff Inn, just off Main Street in Cooperstown, a number of baseball’s greats are gathered to sign flats and bats — at one table, Tom Seaver regales Reggie Jackson with a play-by-play of one of his favorite games, complete with re-creating his windup and delivery. Rod Carew sits at a table across the room; Wade Boggs stands nearby. Yogi Berra has a table all his own.
Somewhat shyly, and with some prompting from Dad, a boy approaches Berra. Both Dad and the boy’s uncle hold their video cameras up, tape rolling.
It is a sweet moment. I snap a few photos, and, pleased with one of them, show it to the two men, offering to email it. About a week later, I hear back from the boy’s Dad: “My family loves it!” he wrote. “My wife and her father both cried.” As it happens, this boy’s grandfather’s all-time baseball hero is Yogi Berra.
Think about that for a minute: these guys had not one, but two video cameras recording this event, complete with sound. By the time they showed this photo around, their family had already seen both videos!
Yet somehow this simple still photo was far more powerful emotionally than the video. It’s something I ponder.
Do we let our heart go deep into the still photo and infuse it with something of ourselves, our past, our dreams, our families, and our love?
As I walk away, looking for other moments, pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage breaks away from his conversation with Robin Roberts and asks me, “Would you take our picture together?” So I did. Gossage seemed as excited as a boy to be in that photo — and judging by their relative ages, I wonder if Roberts was a childhood hero to the young Gossage.
There was something in his expression, in which I suddenly and fleetingly imagined I saw the boy Richie Gossage, listening on a transistor radio and hanging on every pitch the great Roberts fired off. Did he dream then of being on the pitcher’s mound at yankee Stadium? And at the Tunnicliff Inn on that rain-and-sunsplashed afernoon, did he see in himself the Little League dreamer and the Hall of Famer all at once, talking to his childhood idol?
I don’t know, but I like to think it might be so.
Have fun with your photos this summer!
(c)2010 Diane Rezendes Khirallah