Last year fellow Huddler Michael Pritchard contacted me and asked me for a favor.
His son, Jake, was the honorary captain of the game and was invited to join the Panthers players on the field for the coin toss.
I am not an official NFL photographer, so I am not allowed on the actual playing field, but I promised to do my best. Sometimes it is difficult to see what is happening at mid field due to video and still camera crews.
Thankfully, I was able to capture the moment Jake looked back to the sidelines.
Of course, Jake makes this photo. His coolness and smile are all that is needed. I just pressed the shutter button. I also like the fact that Cam is playing guardian of the young captain.
Jake was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births (about 20,000 new cases each year). Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects boys; however, it occurs across all races and cultures. (source).
It was Jake's fighting spirit that was needed on the field against Cleveland and most certainly contributed to the Panthers victory.
Some time after the game, I shot the hi-res file over to Michael to have printed. They hung it up in their house and named it "The Captains", which is insanely awesome.
I can tell you that of all the photos I have ever taken at a Panthers game, this one is by far the most endearing to me.