My experience photographing football as a non-football fan

Evergreen photo editor Mason Maron has only attended one WSU football game



WSU running back Max Borghi (21) waves to camera while running onto the field before a college football game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.


With the Super Bowl just behind us, I’m happy to see football discussion dying down in casual conversations again. 

This isn’t because I have anything against football, of course; it’s just because I know so little about it that I don’t even know what to say when it comes up. 

When people asked me what team I was rooting for this year, I proudly told them the Eagles and most seemed satisfied with that choice. 

Of course, I couldn’t name a single player on their team if anyone had pushed me for one. I just chose the Eagles because my cousins are from Philadelphia and I’m a big fan of birds.

Luckily, nobody asked too many questions, so I didn’t have to admit I really had no idea how football worked. Of course, I’m now openly admitting it to anyone who reads this paper, but I’m pretty sure I’m safe since my friends don’t read any of the stuff I write anyway.

In 2021, I finally took up the open offer from the then-photo editor to take photos at one of our university football games. I’d been thinking about it for a while, but I had not really felt any push to go. However, I had never actually been to a WSU game before and I figured I’d be remiss if I did not go to at least one in my time here.

As he and I walked from the newsroom to the stadium, it slowly dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I immediately started asking as many questions as I could, getting whatever information out of him I thought was relevant to the quest I was about to undertake.

From that last-minute chat, I got a hefty list of players to focus on for photographs based on their last names and numbers, which I promptly forgot all of except for Max Borghi. 

WSU running back Max Borghi (21) runs towards the end zone during a college football game against the University of Arizona at Martin Stadium,  Nov. 19, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

I also got some general instructions on where around the field I should stand for the best shots. Of course, I’m not so out-of-the-loop that I don’t know what the end zone is, so I spent most of my time there waiting to photograph touchdowns. 

Granted, I was also told something about moving up the field at downs and I had no idea what downs were, so I just said OK and moved on. I honestly still don’t really know what they are, but at this point, I’m too afraid to ask. 

For the most part, the game went well. I got some nice photos of the football players throwing, catching, running, tackling and otherwise … footballing while it snowed, adding a nice mood to the scenes. 

WSU running back Deon McIntosh (3) stiff arms University of Arizona linebacker Christian Young (5) during a college football game at Martin Stadium, Nov. 19, 2021.

Toward the end of the game, a thick fog rolled in, making photos pretty much impossible.

I did appreciate the fog a bit, though, as the field got really messy and chaotic right after the game ended. I had no idea what was going on, so using the fact that I could not take photos with the fog was a great way to excuse me from not knowing what to do at all.

As of today, that game is still the only WSU football game I have ever been to. Seeing as I graduate in a few months, there probably won’t be any future ones for me either, and I’m perfectly fine with that. 

I love the enthusiasm people have for football: how excited it makes them, how happy everyone is when we have a good play or win the game and how everyone shares the frustration and sadness after a bad call or a heartbreaking defeat.

Since that outlook on the game usually seems to make our avid football fans accept my lacking involvement in the sport, I figure I might as well throw this out there at the end to tear away some of that acceptance: I think soccer is better.