Shooting practice

June 13, 2012

By Petr Josek

Yeah, yeah, yeah 4-1 loss for the Czechs against Russia in Wroclaw. The Russian fans left the city for Warsaw after that and ended up fighting Polish supporters. Wroclaw is calm and quiet. Here the fans like each other and the city center is calm and full of friendly faces. The spotlight moves on, but there is still work to be done.

After the next round the Czechs became a decisive opponent for Poland in advancing from Group A. Its a championship and the teams need to keep sharp, away from the headlines, and for photographers there are images to be made that tell the story. Eyes on the prize.

As in previous EURO competitions I’ve been assigned to cover the team, and shooting training is a hell of a lot of work, even when everyone else is looking elsewhere. Let’s see what they look like even when there is “No Coverage” in the picture planner.

You come to the stadium and wait for the heroes or losers, depending on what happened on match day before. Several hundred people including school pupils are there to see their next opponent.

Today luckily, heroes arrived, welcomed by applauding spectators.

First of all the goal scorers. Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar, are imminent targets of fans’ interest and because they played yesterday they can share a little of their practice time to sign photographs, balls, spikes and other items for fans and kids. All part of the job.

You are always looking to take pictures of team stars or story making players and obviously the coach. Michal Bilek does not have it easy. He is not very popular among soccer fans in Czech Republic and this tournament will probably decide his future.

So when you are done with mandatory faces you try to do something from practice itself and you want to make nice pictures, features, whatever you can to look a bit different and show that we are actually at EURO2012.

After practice a regular press conference with selected players tops your daily work and you can finally go for a late lunch.

Slowly the media attention returns as kick-off approaches, spectators fill the seats and televisions back home come to life. Finally we are back in action and there to record the crucial moments, tomorrows losers or heroes.

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