How Sweet is That Picture on the Back? Here’s How It Happened

Many of you are probably wondering how we got that awesome shot of the men’s volleyball players on the back page. Not to toot my own horn, but you only see this kind of stuff in Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. And that was my inspiration.
When The Freshness and I were preparing for the men’s volleyball preview, we were trying to figure out the starting lineup first. We realized we could not do the job on our own. Luckily, The Freshness ran into Coach John Speraw the next morning, and he provided us with the four players who we deemed “The Foundation.” The Freshness asked me about how we should approach this, and I semi-jokingly suggested putting them in hard hats and taking photos of them putting up the nets on the court. Mr. Ratto questioned my seriousness, and I did not back down.
“Let’s make it happen,” The Freshness said.
We decided we would try and get the four players on a construction site on campus and have our incredible photographer Scott Roeder work his magic.
I contacted UC Irvine Facilities and they told me that it would not be likely that we would be able to do so because of liability issues. However, the lady who I spoke with redirected me to Susan Menning, who would be able to help further.
I finally spoke with Ms. Menning from the same office, and she expressed similar concerns. However, she kindly redirected me to UCI Design & Construction Services.
At this point, I did not think that it would be able to happen and decided to start preparing regular volleyball preview pictures with the four players. However, I decided to continue and go ahead with all the redirecting as a potential learning experience.
I was eventually redirected again at Design & Construction Services to Mr. Jim Henderson, the Associate Manager of Construction. He has overseen the construction of the Student Center, the Stem Cell Research Center, among others. Fortunately, he is a big sports fan.
With enthusiasm, Mr. Henderson brought me whatever I asked and more. At 9 a.m. on Thursday, he took me on a tour of construction sites on campus in his pickup truck. He has owned a pickup truck since the day he first drove, and has been working in construction since he started with his father after college. He has been at UCI for 16 years now overseeing and participating in construction projects.
We decided to go with the construction site of the new Humanities Gateway building. The site was convenient for me because it was only a two-minute walk from HIB 100, where I had class 10 minutes before the interview, and it was very close for the athletes coming from Crawford Hall.
In addition, the staff at the site was extremely helpful, accommodating and enthusiastic. Shout outs to my man Eddie who fitted Scott, Claire Orosco and I with hard hats, protective glasses and extension cords, and to the entire staff for taking the time out of their busy workday to allow us to go with the photo shoot.
I know many people haven’t seen the Humanities Gateway building, but judging from what I saw, all the Humanities students should be excited for its Fall 2008 opening. It is aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly. You can go to the Humanities Web site to see images and plans.
The players arrived at 2:15 p.m., and the only thing I was concerned with now was how would the players react to this? Would they think it was stupid? Was I setting them up to look like idiots?
Thank God, they brought the positive attitude and excitement to make this project work. Once we got them fitted in UCI hard hats, they used their own imagination and excitement to pick up props around them, and got into the photo shoot.
“Can I pick up one of the metal slabs?” Spittle said.
” I want that power drill!” Asuka said.
After that, Scott took over by showcasing is camera skills. He took the pictures home and touched them up on his computer and sent me the picture.
It was the efforts of the UCI construction staff, the New U and UCI Athletics that came together to create what I like to think of as the masterpiece you see on our sports back page.