Every football season, I get a chance to become Greg Brady from the Brady Bunch of early 1970s television fame, and this year has been no different following Alamo Navajo’s game against Tatum on Aug. 24.
Our older readers will remember The Brady Bunch, a hit show about Carol and Mike Brady, who already had three children each when they married. Mike had three boys, and Carol had three girls – Alice, their housekeeper, gave the girls a 5-4 advantage if anyone was keeping score.
Now that everyone is up to speed on the Brady family dynamics, let me explain what it means to “Being Greg Brady” for a sports photographer.
In the Brady Bunch episode titled “Click” (season three, episode 11), Greg, the oldest child, wanted to play high school football but cracked a rib and could not participate. He picked up a camera to be around the team.
During a football game while taking a picture of a cheerleader Greg captures a play showing his teammate making a catch that was ruled out of bounds in the background. The score would have won the “championship” game for Greg’s team, and when he sees it in the darkroom, he can’t wait to show it to his father.
Together, they made several enlargements clearly showing the play was blown by the officials, and they took the photos to Greg’s head coach to show him the error.
When they get back home, Carol asks if something can be done because they have evidence that the victory should have belonged to Greg’s team. It was 1970s television, so you might find Carol’s inquiry funny today, but they played it up Hollywood-serious back in the day.
My first Greg Brady Moment happened long ago, and I remember the outrage I felt at the officials getting it wrong during a college football game. Every sports season, another Greg Brady Moment has come up, but I mellowed and realized long ago officials are human, and I have the unfair advantage of instant digital replay.
Now, back to 2023 and my Being Greg Brady at Alamo Navajo the other day.
Cougar’s quarterback Scotty Guerro had heaved a huge pass to wide receiver Jurrale Tsosie, who went up against three defenders on the play only to have the ball tip away off his fingers at the last second.
It looked like the play should have been ruled pass interference for face guarding because Tsosie’s nearest defender never turned his head and put one of his hands in front of the receiver’s face.
There was no whistle on the play, and when I replayed it on my camera, it was very evident a foul had happened, but with so many people surrounding the play – the nearest official missed it.
I mentioned the error to one of the Alamo assistant coaches, who asked to look at it. Like any good coach fighting for his kids, he mentioned it to one of the officials, who later asked to look at the picture.
“I missed it,” he said. “I just didn’t see it.”
Meanwhile, I was apologizing because I hadn’t meant to cause a mini-controversy, but I had to admire a coach who wanted to give his kids their best opportunities.
I also admire someone who can admit he got it wrong because I get it incorrect a lot all the time. When shooting sports photography, it can be hit or miss.
Blown calls are a part of the beauty of high school sports. All former high school athletes can remember a blown call that still gives you a little pain when it comes to mind. It’s a reminder that what you did was important to you and your teammates, and things don’t get much better.
Russell Huffman is El Defensor Chieftain’s assistant editor/sports editor, and he can’t play, coach, or officiate, but his ability to hold down a sideline is legendary.