No story is adequate to recall the past like an actual image of the past.  Thus, we share some of best moments of the 2017-18 sports season on Press Pros with the photos we posted, as memorable as the moments themselves.  Remember, and enjoy.

We’re often asked about how many photos we shoot over the course of a school, or sports, year.  Never actually thought it in those terms, but being the miner of minutia that I am we did some digging over the weekend and project that we probably topped 100,000 for the year.  That’s not 100,000 actually posted, or used on the site, but 100,000 that at least went through the editing, or screening, process.

Tyler Mescher’s two free throws sealed the Division IV boys basketball title in March.

Digital photography, or course, has made this much simpler, easier, and efficient.  In the old days of film you never knew what you had until you actually developed that film…and often the frustration of realizing that the shot that told the story of the game was actually out of focus and unusable.

It’s also why when my old mentor and colleague Malcom Emmons (from Ohio State and Delaware, Ohio) went out to shoot an assignment he took so much film.  I remember him once shooting 30 rolls of Kodak Ektachrome film at a Bengals-Steelers game back in the 80s.  And from those 30 rolls (1,080 images) he selected a dozen to send to the publishers of The Sporting News.  But, he was so good that he always got his shot.

Now, it’s different.  You come home, upload the media card to IPhoto or Photoshop and you know within seconds…what you have and which shots are at your disposal for best illustrating the story of the event just covered.  And, you know before you even leave that event if you have in-focus images.  Malcom never had it that good.

So, at the end of each year we’ve come to look at some of the shots we used (and many we didn’t) as a look back at the old year…while we ready for the new.  Some of these you’ve seen, because they were the best shots at the time, and they’re still the best shots out of those 100,000.  And some you haven’t seen, because there were just too many to use at the time of the story, or we couldn’t use them because they didn’t fit the narrative.

Minster coach Geron Stokes could not be contained in his joy for the final moments of last falls Division VII championship…and Julie McMaken Wright caught him in mid-leap.

The shot at the top of the page, of New Bremen’s Paige Jones, stands as one of the iconic photos not only of this year, but probably for all years in area volleyball because she set tournament records that won’t soon be broken.  And, because you just don’t see this angle very often.  It’s a lot of work to climb up in the rafters of the Nutter Center (and thanks to the staff for letting us do it).  But in a true Nikon moment, this is perhaps the best shot of the year because of Cardinals’ historic win that day, and the uniqueness of seeing the action from above.

The photo on the home page, by the way, is one of our favorites because it stands as a tribute to out-going OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross, who retired this spring after a transforming decade in that position.  Ross, who recently received a heart transplant (and is doing well by all accounts) has been one of the more popular figures in that position over the years, and is shown here at last year’s state football finals presenting the Division V championship trophy to the Wheelersburg Pirates.  The photo very accurately depicts the passion and commitment of Ross to the athletes who represents the OHSAA, and with him there’s never a loser at this particular moment…just one who goes home with a slightly different trophy, silver, as compared to gold.

An Eastwood coach consoles linebacker Seth Welch after last fall’s stunning overtime loss to Wheelersburg.

Photos are good because they show the passion and excitement of the moment in a manner impossible to describe in words.  Such is the shot of Minster’s Geron Stoke (above) on the sidelines during last December’s Division VII football championship with Cuyahoga Heights.  Julie McMaken Wright captured the moment from across the field with 400mm of Nikon, and there was no other shot like it from the 2017 championships.

All of them aren’t happy, of course, as seen in this image made after the Wheelersburg – Eastwood game in Division V.  Wheelersburg won the game in overtime after recovering an unexpected Eastwood fumble.  They say there’s no crying in baseball (or they did in the movie A League Of Their Own), but the moment was simply more than Eastwood linebacker Seth Welch could manage.  We’re all human, of course, and this shot shows why coaches and the relationship they develop with players are so important.  They teach, and they share, so much more than football at moments like this one.

Degree of difficulty…Marion Local’s Nick Tangeman fights through the defensive efforts of Kirtland’s Max Janas to haul in one of his six catches in the Div. VI final in December.

It’s simply impossible to describe the drama of a moment in words sometimes, and those who witnessed the Marion Local boys winning the Division IV basketball championship in March will well remember Tyler Mescher’s dramatic free throws as they circled the rim and dropped through.  Flyers coach Kurt Goettemoeller later admitted Devine intervention.  But 9,620 people saw it first-hand, and when Mescher’s second shot went airborne (photos, top inset) you could have heard a pin drop in Value City Arena.

Likewise, the photo below of Minster’s Courtney Prenger (shot through a fish-eye lens) scoring a late basket against Ottoville illustrates not only how big the moment was, but the size of the venue, as well…ironic when compared to the gyms throughout the journey to get to the ultimate game.  It marked Minster’s third title in basketball (2004, ’98), but impressively, the third of their four titles in the 2017-’18 school year.

Loramie’s Ben Barhorst scores the winning run in the Redskins’ semi-final win over Garfield Heights.

Sometimes the simplest shots are the most memorable, as is with this shot of Ben Barhorst (left) scoring the winning run for Fort Loramie during the Redskins’ dramatic win in the Division IV semi-final baseball game against Garfield Heights.  The Redskins would go on to an even bigger moment on Saturday, with an 8-run inning to capture the Division IV title, but the irony of this Julie McMaken Wright photo is that nothing is really going on…except Barhorst scoring.  And yet, it is the winning run that will be remembered forever by history…and Ben Barhorst.  It illustrates not only the moment, but the adage of less being more.

Usually the best shots show degree of difficulty, as with this football moment (above) from last December’s Division VI title game between Marion Local and Kirtland.  If you don’t remember, junior wide receiver Nick Tangeman had a breakout game, making one big catch after another in the Flyers’ 34-11 win.  Tangeman would catch six balls for 120 yards and two touchdowns that day, including this one which looks inconceivable because of the coverage by Kirtland defensive back Max Janas.  But he did, and it’s why all eyes will be on Tangeman this fall as he comes back for his senior season and even bigger catches.  But, probably none tougher than this one.

Out of 100,000 shots, there simply is no room for all the ones that deserve remembering and one more glance.  Call it the cruelty of space, and editing.  And, if there’s one you remember that we didn’t share here, or a moment you wonder about, contact us and we’ll be happy to find it for you.  Chances are if we were there…we have it.

See you in September…when it all starts again.

Minster’s Courtney Prenger scores a big bucket on the big stage of the 2018 girls state championship game.