One of the first thoughts that came to mind after I learned one of my photos took first place at the Alabama Press Association's media awards was that I had to interview the athlete who made the …
One of the first thoughts that came to mind after I learned one of my photos took first place at the Alabama Press Association's media awards was that I had to interview the athlete who made the spectacular catch in a rivalry game, Fairhope's Ben Moseley.
My observations have found that some of my best shots came down to being at the right place at the right time — with the right camera settings — but I seemed to find myself at the optimal position to capture this same athlete multiple times throughout the 2022-2023 campaign.
I first caught Moseley attempting to make a bobbling catch at Daphne's Jubilee City 7-on-7 tournament in July 2022. Then in the baseball season, I added a shot of him making a running throw to first base during the PBR South Alabama Showdown in February.
I didn't get to officially meet Moseley in person until earlier in February at Fairhope's first game of the baseball season. He came to introduce himself, but as soon as I made eye contact, I knew who he was and was excited to meet him.
He thanked me for the pictures I got during football season, and I thanked him for being an insane athlete. So, when I was notified of that photo winning first place, I had to hit him up to not only share the news but also chat about the backstory of that shot.
Even though it had been eight and a half months since the play, Moseley shared details of what led up to the diving catch as well as his immediate reaction.
The biggest thing he pointed out was the brace on his left hand, the main one gripping the football in midair. What Moseley thought was just a badly sprained wrist turned out to be torn ligaments.
"After Game 3 (against Choctawhatchee on Sept. 2), I was in the yard with some friends and we were watching the Florida State, LSU game. That was Labor Day weekend so we had Monday off," Moseley said. "(We had just got out of the pool and) were running routes having fun, and whenever your feet get wet, they get slick on that grass. I took a pretty nice fall on that wrist and I ended up tearing two ligaments. … I had a really good doctor, Dan Matthews, who recommended me to who would be my physical therapist and she makes braces, Crystal Rogers. I had this nice brace where I could still play the game I love and do it for the team."
Fast forward a few weeks and Fairhope is preparing for its second rivalry game in as many weeks, this one against Daphne. As Moseley recalled, it was the previous week that two starters went down in the team's first regular-season loss to Foley between Nolan Phillips (ruptured spleen) and Qualin McCants (ankle).
"There were a few other injuries across the board, we were really hurting at the time and we didn't know if we were going be fully suited up to play against our rival. Everyone had doubt in us going into the game and that brought more to the rivalry because we wanted to prove a point that we could beat them without our studs," Moseley said. "I remember being really amped up for the game and excited with something to prove so we could get back on track in our area play and make a run in the playoffs."
With torn ligaments in his wrist and a limited starting lineup on the road in a rivalry game, the stage was set for a marquee moment.
Moseley remembered Fairhope scored first before Daphne quickly responded. The Pirates forced a Trojan punt but got pinned deep in their own territory and although it was still early in the game, Moseley knew a major blow could be dealt.
"This was kind of make-or-break drive for them because it was a long third down. I knew they were playing me close and we got the play call and I thought, 'Alright, I've got a shot to do something pretty cool here against the rival,'" Moseley recounted. "I had some trouble off the line of scrimmage but I got past the guy and Caden (Creel) just trusted me and threw it up for me to go get it. It was one of those things that in the moment when the adrenaline's pumping, you can do things that you normally can't do. I felt like I was floating in the air and somehow got a hold of it with that braced up hand."
Moseley got up and celebrated, his sideline went crazy, and Fairhope went on to secure a 26-7 victory, which eventually helped lock in the Pirates' sixth straight playoff berth. Looking back on it, Moseley not only saw the catch's impact on the rivalry but also in the APA media awards.
"After I made that catch, I had complete confidence that we were going to go out and get them. I was so excited because I mean, anything you do against a rival that stands out to people, you feel like you're the king of your town for a while," Moseley said. "Right after the play, I thought, 'I just did something really cool for Fairhope against Daphne and made my mark on Fairhope at least for that one play,' and it's going to be even more with this picture winning an award."
I am incredibly thankful to represent Gulf Coast Media with just a few of the haul of awards we took home but it's even better that I get to share this one with such a great athlete and person. My recognition doesn't happen without a lot of people's influence and I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that fact.
It took me four years to earn a first-place award at my previous job in Texas. Although I'm extra grateful to win two in my first year here, I always see room for growth and already look forward to submitting more work alongside the all-star crew we've got covering Baldwin County.