Snapshot: An uplifting experience with cadets at the Air Force Academy

IMG_2617COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – There was a neat moment that unfolded Wednesday at Air Force Academy, and it was captured with a photograph that makes me smile every time I look at it.

Some background:

With the Patriots practicing at the Academy for three straight days, I’m here covering the team for ESPN. That means writing on the web, and also fulfilling any TV duties. The Academy has been gracious, and when our TV crew asked about the possibility of taping a hit for the 11 p.m. ET SportsCenter on the airfield, they obliged (thank you, Staff Sgt. Charlie Rivezzo and Tech. Sgt. Julius DeLos Reyes).

So we were in the hangar around 4:30 p.m. MT, getting ready for a “talkback” with John Buccigross. This was also the time when the cadets that had been flying all day were bringing their aircraft back to the hangar, as they fly from sunrise to sunset.

Next thing you know, there is a small audience on hand for our taping. Our audio operator, Drew Levinson, was kind enough to hand over some earphones so there was a possibility to listen to the back-and-forth. Then when the taping ended, our camera operator, Price Wetherill, was feeding back some scene shots to ESPN when the cadets gathered around his camera to look at the small screen on the side that showed the footage.

Some of the scene shots Price took were planes landing for the day, which excited some of the cadets as they could review their performance. “Whoa…whose landing was that? That’s terrible!” one of them said.

As that rare “instant replay” was unfolding, producer Michelle Tuckner snapped the photo accompanying this post.

What I love about it: The youthful enthusiasm and excitement as they all looked at the screen.

Like the planes that would be taken out of the hangar the next morning, it was an uplifting (and unexpected) part of what has been a unique experience.


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