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PRESSURE (…is a good thing)

In honor of March Madness NCAA Basketball Championship Game Day (Men’s and Women's) is a grade eight short speech written about the pressure of an athlete from a 13 yr. old girls perspective.  As a parent of a child who has encountered obstacles and social interference about her basketball dreams and aspirations she stays strong and determined. The RISE (Realize Individual Success Everyday) Centre is a vision and concept many high-level sport professionals have embraced. McMaster University Athletes Edge will train our athletes at a level proven for success. The RISE will give extraordinary athletes learning opportunities through The Hill Basketball Academy to flourish and guide in their athletic endeavours. I am very proud of Aerial Wilson’s perspective of life on and off the court. I hope you too enjoy how this young lady is dealing with the “PRESSURE” to pursue her basketball dreams.

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PRESSURE

by Aerial Wilson, March 01-2015

Small. Misshapen. Insignificant. A lump of coal! Ordinary, yet extraordinary, but what happens once it is under pressures of 725 000 pounds per square inch? What happens to a black piece of rock that does well under pressure? It becomes a diamond.

The most beautiful things are created from pressure, like us as individuals. Some can thrive under pressure and some of us will bow down and succumb to it. Those of us, who have the right mentality, come out of the fire as diamonds. They’re the peak performers that not only have trained and worked hard, but won't crumble when the time approaches to make their dreams come true. They can perform in high-pressure situations without surrendering to their doubt demons. They’re the one’s titled “Most Valuable Player”, the one’s who hit the game-winning buzzer beater shots, they’re the clutch players who can play and push through adversity. They’re the ones who attack life as a challenge, not a threat.

We all choke, but what separates two people with the same skill set is how they perform due to pressure. What’s your skill worth if you can never use it when it matters? You can have all the talent in the world but if you can’t use it in a game, it’s worthless. Pressure is always viewed as a negative, but that is just a mental roadblock keeping you from peaking. You can perform either 15% worse or 15% better under pressure. Those who are successful feed off the pressure to maximize their full potential, but in order to perform with more proficiency you must have a positive mindset. It is a proven fact that those who face high-pressure situations with a challenge state have blood flow more efficiently to their brain allowing them to have control over their thoughts and emotions. Where when we approach the same situations with a threat state our blood vessels constrict, causing us to cease up, hindering our ability to think and therefore perform at our best.

Nausea, sweaty palms, dry-mouth, about to throw up any second. I’m sure we’ve all felt it. Sure it’s because I’m nervous, but what’s there to be nervous about it’s just another game, I’ve played amazing on countless occasions before, I’m a good player. If I go out there and play a terrible game or lose it’ll be okay. Worst-case scenario: I’ll go home and sleep. No. I’m older now, and getting exposure, I have to play well in practice to get playing time and prove that I’m the best on the court. I can’t have a slump, because you never know who’s watching. It could be scouts, the team Ontario or Canada coach, or anyone who wanted to watch our game because they’re recorded. I want to do well so badly, I want to get noticed, want to play my best; I have to play my best. Every game is big and championships even bigger. Everyone watching. I have one opportunity to make it happen. One shot.

All of the pressure I’m feeling right now is a good thing. It’s making me work harder to get where I want to be. I am the only one putting pressure on myself because I have expectations. If I feel that something isn’t the best I can make it, then I’ll do even more to make sure that it is and I’m rarely satisfied. The added pressure can be overwhelming, but I will always resist the temptation to give up because the pressure I’ve put on myself is my motivation.

What do we think when a coach yells, “Put pressure on the ball.” Get up, get low and play defense. Don’t. Let. Them. Breathe. Chances are if you do that the other team will have a pretty hard time scoring, yet they may have one player that can play with the added pressure. If it were easy everyone would do it. That’s the difference: under pressure your true character is revealed. It defines you as a person. It will either make or break you. The ones who won’t panic, won’t fear, and won’t settle are the successful people in life. Although we see pressure as a bad thing it is actually good. It is an opportunity to rise. Not just to be seen as someone who can play, but as someone who can think. It forces us to attack life with a challenge mindset that only allows positive thoughts. No more, “Don’t miss,” only, “It’s going in.” And even if that shot somehow misses, keep your head up, hustle, and know it’s O.K to fail, but you better make sure that next time you have an opportunity that you take it. No pressure.

 Aerial Wilson 1

Social Media (SM) Opens Doors at SI

Sports Illustrated

My Klout is admirable. I'm not famous and I know I don't have a lot of followers, likes, pins, favourites or retweets. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to communicate on social media (SM) and more grateful for the opportunities it creates. Please join me on my journey to Sports Illustrated, NYC.

Instagram @bradpix “The wonderful Robin Wilson of @aerialpromotions stopped by for a visit today. Happy to have her spend some time with us, hope she can shoot for us this summer.” & on Twitter [symple_social icon="twitter" url="https://twitter.com/BradSmithSI/status/444179226892455936/photo/1" title="Brad Smith Twitter" target="self" rel=""] from @BradSmithSI. 

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[symple_box color="green" text_align="left" width="100%" float="none"] The Lead Up [/symple_box] I joked about a year ago when I said Sports Illustrated (SI) is going to love this photograph. You may have heard the awkward laugh, but deep down I crave ambition to pursue this starlight fantasy. Here I am on my dream journey to NYC to meet with the Sports Illustrated Director of Photography (DOP), Brad Smith.

Twitter and Instagram is where we connect. It is important to be consistently aware and share great information for people to follow. I’m always trying to improve my photography skills and attend many conferences. KelbyOne/Photoshop World (PSW) is my favourite. I have met one-on-one with many professionals who have given me phenomenal advice (My Posts: Dave Black, Bert Monroy, Peter Hurley, Jack Reznicki, Catherine Hall and Scott Kelby)

As I blog about my experiences and post images, a direct message comes through twitter. This is an engagement that I embrace and want to develop a relationship like Brad says, "A healthy marriage between editor & photographer".

Brad asks, “When are you coming to NY?”  OK…put yourself in my shoes. Brad is the Director of Photography for Sports Illustrated. He is the SI cover guy….Yeah that guy!..Theeeeeee Guy! When I shared my news with friends I got the sarcastic, “yeah right” attitude.

I continued to post and work hard at being a better photographer. Brad acknowledges on my SM some of my family portraiture, ambiance and action. Speaking of shoes, one of my favourite @Bradpix post is Seattle Seahawk pumps on the sideline at the Superbowl.   I also enjoy it when he posts the latest SI covers fresh off the press on Instagram @bradpix and his Gator play by play action on Twitter @BradSmithSI. The relationship continues and I enjoy bantering online at the Team Canada hockey jabs in Sochi. BTW=“GOAL’D” 

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So when Brad says he has football playoffs-The Superbowl in January, then The Olympics in Sochi, Russia for February and wants you to pick a date to meet…pick a day and wish upon a star to make it happen. 

[symple_box color="green" text_align="left" width="100%" float="none"] The Trip [/symple_box]

The flights were cancelled and the weather was the worst we have ever driven in [ http://instagram.com/p/ldGrSSS5AW/ ]. It took almost 13hrs to get to NYC because the New York State Thruway was closed due to accidents and poor weather conditions.

Over the last month my workload has been extensive, but most rewarding. I have put in over excessive work hours and drove thousands of miles to expand my portfolio. Coming from the land of Tim Hortons, I really needed a coffee, but unfortunately another roadblock [http://instagram.com/p/ldOr6Dy5Na/].

White knuckles we keep driving. Due to the weather and dizzy GPS, we don’t know our ETA. We do know that if we travel East we won’t go in circles anymore. Yes it was that bad!

To have a great support system when following your dreams is heartfelt. My parents up in Northern Canada Cottage Country are entertaining the kids, my husband is determined to drive straight through the storm just to get me to my meeting on time, friends reach out on social media (SM) for encouragement and photography colleagues assist me on final details of my portfolio.

[symple_box color="green" text_align="left" width="100%" float="none"] The Meeting [/symple_box]

Excited and nervous to say the least. After a couple of hours of rest, I work on portfolio B-C-D…just in case Brad wants to see more. A few points that resonate with me in Youtube video “How to Edit Your Photos with Brad Smith” : 

Look for the peripheral things going on and encompass the whole game…even the portrait of a player on the sideline…it’s important to tell the whole story and include them in your portfolio. Keep shooting even when the play ends or when no one around you is working!

What do you want to show me? What do you want to do? I want to do it all, but I need to impress Brad with my action photography. Although I know I would love to do feature work too (Like Robert Caplin). There is limited time and I really need to show him what I want to do...ACTION game photography.

Show your best work first…Images you can’t take your eyes off. Because portfolio reviews are based on judgment, many people have different opinions. I have had the some of the finest people in the industry assist me in choosing the best images for my portfolio. Now I have my most important sports photography review of my career.

Time Life Building NYC

I am about to enter the Time & Life Building in New York City to meet with Brad Smith, Director of Photography Sports Illustrated. I was a half hour early after security. There was a gentleman from an advertising agency who does work for InStyle, People, Time and SI. We had a nice conversation in reception. When I arrived at SI, two fun loving characters met me at the front door.  They rolled out the red carpet and loaded me down with some fabulous reads.

Brad starts the conversation with his gratitude for coming down to NYC to meet with him. If anything I would fly over the moon for an opportunity like this. After I tell him about our travels, he expresses his appreciation to share with my husband for driving through the storm. He is such a compassionate man.  We then chat about our children and a little bit about the business. “Let’s get started…Show me what you got!”

[symple_box color="green" text_align="left" width="100%" float="none"] The Critique [/symple_box]

What resonates with me when I watch Brad review my images is how he emphasizes with the athlete. “More head trauma, only if they knew what they know now, unfortunately it makes a great shot.” Because I was trying to show my ability to capture prime action, many of the portfolio images were of collisions or impact.

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Brad then says, “Another great shot of a defender…there should be more of it.” I’m starting to understand that Brad want’s to see unique images and not what he sees come across his desk everyday.  He does mention that SI still needs the portrait of the QB and the story image.

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Brad seemed to enjoy my basketball night portrait the most. I have an entire collection of dunks and fun basketball portraiture that I would love to expand on. I actually feel it is my specialty above the rim, below and through the net [see more]. The Indiana gym photo- although Brad zoomed right into the garbage can-facial expression, general ambiance and frozen motion make him smile. “This is a great shot.”

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I feel I should have shown more variety in my photography. I have it, I just didn’t build my 20 images with this in mind for the initial portfolio review. Brad is a very busy person, but was generous with his time to see more.  Brad suggests that I shouldn’t show all my action cropped-tight with a 400. He acknowledges that I can shoot action, but to try a new perspective by lens or angle to make a more interesting image. Did I mention that I rock the fisheye!

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Now I’m beating myself up a bit because I didn’t show that one picture because I didn’t know he wanted to see it. I have the hardest time choosing. I was a little nervous, showed too much, possibly over processed a vignette on one image and even went into the wrong portfolio.  I wanted to show him my composites too, but focused on action. I over prepared. Brad wants to see me tighten up the portfolio. Live and learn, but what a time to have a teaching moment when you only have one shot….Literally! OK let's lighten it up a bit with some Dundas Blues Hockey Bobbleheads...

Bobbleheads

Sometimes you need to feel failure in order to succeed. I still felt at ease because Brad has the most wonderful, kind and sincere demeanor about him. I think the title purely “Authentic” in front of his name is justified.

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He asks me, “What do I want?” A question that stimulates an electrifying response, “I want to shoot for you!” If you need someone to cover any Canadian events or Detroit or Buffalo…as a take a deep breath…The Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto and the NBA All Star Game soon. Brad explains the process and what SI will cover. OMG, then I hear, SI will get you credentials to shoot for us at the Pan Am Games. We will run a section and you can cover the Pan Am Games for Sports Illustrated. I am giddy like a schoolgirl, but trying to contain myself. I now have the most perfect opportunity to prove myself as a Sports Illustrated photographer. I have access to 36 sports with 7000 athletes in my own backyard venues. I can research, practice and prepare the most unique photographic images I have ever done. Most importantly I will be able to capture these elite athletes at a prime moment in their athletic career as I fulfill mine.

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Another gentleman comes to visit, Chris Chambers. Brad introduces us and explains Chris was an editor for Getty and edits the NBA, NFL and Motorsports for SI. We go into the boardroom and chat a bit about the industry. I then start to show Chris some of my photographs, more specific to football and basketball. Chris advises me that it’s about access and what is available to you.  He said, even though you are shooting amateur sports you are taking great photos. Hearing him say, “No doubt you can shoot” makes me so happy. Chris than spoke to me about layers. Everyone has a purpose to make the photo better. Fans create the energy; band makes you move, coaches direct the game and so on. Chris says he want’s to see the one blade of grass in the forefront of the photo leading up to the action and then the crowds reaction. I need to be responsible for everything in the shot. Even when the shot's not clean try to make it a part of the story. This conversation was very inspiring because I want to emote this in my photography always.

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Today as I review my photographs with fresh eyes, I understand how I can make my portfolio better.  I want to intrigue the viewer and make them stay in the moment- frozen in time. I want them to see something different, build an emotion through the layers and not take their eyes off my photograph. I am not afraid to fail, but anxious to experiment and achieve greatness in my photography. THANK YOU Brad!

My portfolio is always a work in progress! To view more photographs visit 500px or Behance  (Update in Progress)

A huge shoutout to all the amateur athletes who give it everyday, CIS, OCAA, OUA and McMaster football who allow me to capture the good, bad and the ugly. Thank YOU to all of my friends, family and colleagues who support me. I am very grateful for my young athlete followers and will always keep it real. Thanks for all the retweets, likes, favs and your encouragement. I want my kids and husband to be proud of me and love them for joining me on my special journey. Check out some of my colleagues great work. I appreciate the help with my portfolio selects: Matt Hernadez, Brandon Taylor, Scott Thomas, Hamilton Scores-Denis LeBlanc & Sean Healey.

I LOVE BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER! How bout a reality series for photographers like America's/Canada's Next Top Model EH?

TAG US #aerialpromotions @aerialpromotions #presentitphoto @presentitphoto

Social Media Please like us onfacebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. We always update on { Instagramtumblr blog | flickr photostream | YouTube channel | Pinterest Boards | Google+  } too! ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* © Aerial Promotions 1997-2014 *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why...Because We CARE! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community (...more)

Images available now at www.Present it Photo.com

DiCroce Sheds Maroon for Blue

Source: McMaster Communications | May 28, 2013 [Hamilton Scores]

McMaster Marauders’ star receiver, Michael DiCroce, has inked a contract with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Blue Bombers selected DiCroce in the fourth round (29th overall) of the 2013 CFL Draft, as the third of five Marauders chosen on May 6.

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The Hamilton native enjoyed a landmark season in 2011, leading Canadian Interuniversity Sport with 48 receptions for 904 yards and six touchdowns en route to recognition as Ontario University Athletics Most Valuable Player and a First-Team All-Canadian. He missed the majority of the 2012 season due to injury, but reentered the lineup in time to help the Marauders reach a second-consecutive Vanier Cup final, totalling 26 catches for 384 yards and three touchdowns in that limited action.

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With his signing, DiCroce joins the Blue Bombers who welcome their first-year members to a three-day training camp that begins on Wednesday (May 29).

Winnipeg’s full training camp will open on Sunday, June 2.

[cincopa AYAAqKbIxjiP]

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Bombs Away Michael DiCroce, CONGRATULATIONS!

Images are available at www.Present it Photo.com 10% Discount: 8x6JeuYU [Football coming soon!]

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Social Media Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. We always update on { tumblr blog | flickr photostream | YouTube channel | Pinterest Boards | Google+  } too! NEW! Aerial Promotions is now on Instagram  Instagram ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* © Aerial Promotions 1997-2013 *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why...Because We CARE! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community (...more) Images available now at www.Present it Photo.com
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