This past Saturday morning I had a serious déjä vu. Easily the most intense one I've ever had.
I mean, I could feel this one down to the core. Usually when that happens I can't remember details, but tons of specific yet irrelevant details flooded my mind.
It whisked me back to 2019 when I was the lead for the Granite Games photo team.
One of my tasks was to create the photographers daily shooting schedule, which also put me in charge of giving the call time for the next day. Generally, I like the team to arrive an hour before the first event starts so we have plenty of time to get situated, loaded up, briefed, and deployed.
This was my fifth year as photo team lead at the Granite Games. I had reviewed the competition schedule on Wednesday or Thursday for the 17th time, and noted that events began at 9am every day except for Saturday, when they began at 8am. After a long day of shooting on Friday, I called the weary team together to give feedback on the day (they were awesome, as expected and as usual) and ended the day by announcing a 7:00am call time on Saturday.
We arrived punctually at 7:00am, and discovered our building completely devoid of life signs.
I brilliantly deduced that something was amiss. Maybe there was a venue change (not unheard of for these events), maybe everyone else is just late, maybe...hell, I had no idea what was happening.
Then someone smarter than I am - it could've been any of them - checked the schedule online. There was more than a small hint of irritation in their voice when they announced that the day's events didn't begin until 9:00am.
A voice in my head said, "Oh shit." My morning brain was not favorable toward me in that moment. "You sure fucked that up," was the next thing it said. It was less than helpful or encouraging.
My team was not pleased, and suddenly found plenty of time to text with family, catch up on social media, and/or give me dirty looks until people began to trickle in and the day was finally getting started. During that down time I took the opportunity to stay relatively hidden so as to avoid any unexpected incoming projectiles.
Later, my adoring team gave me a big, wonderful, bright orange, vacuum-sealed coffee mug engraved with a large middle finger (directed at me) above the words "Call Time", lest I forgot about the crime I committed against them. It is by far my favorite coffee mug ever.
Back to my traumatic déjä vu...
I had an Olympic Weightlifting meet to shoot on Saturday. It was in a gym 45 min away from my house, and started at 8:00 am (and yes, the
actual schedule actually says it actually started at 8am, and I can prove it!). I didn't get to bed until about 12:45 the night before, and was not amused (read: I was MISERABLE) when my 5:30 alarm rudely informed me of how little sleep I had just gotten. I reluctantly got up, showered, ate breakfast, and left a bit later than I intended in order to make it there by 7:00.
I arrived onsite about 7:10 and started my remote camera rig and the rest of my gear set up. After about half an hour I heard an announcement over the PA that I thought sounded something like the first session was going to start in 9 minutes, but I wasn't quite sure and needed confirmation.
The gym owner, Becky, was off to my side getting the scoring table ready, so I asked, "first session in 9 minutes?"
She said, "no, it starts at 9:00. We made a last minute schedule change 2 days ago. I guess we forgot to tell you."
My brain froze for a moment.
Then she laughed and added, "I bet you're pissed since you could've slept for another hour, right?"
At 5:30 that morning I would've sold my son into slavery to sleep another hour. But there I was with my gear all set and ready to go, with an hour of thumb twiddling in front of me.
That's when the déjä vu gods decided to kick me in the nuts.
That's also when I realized which coffee mug I had brought for the drive down.
I had no choice except to laugh at the irony of it all, and dedicate this story to the 2019 Granite Games photo team. You were fantastic to work with, busted your ass all weekend, and helped achieve some unrealistic goals.
And of course, you sacrificed an hour of your life at way-too-early-o'clock when you could've been sleeping because of my mistake. I will always remember you.