Tuesday, November 4, 2008

His First Love

Today is the most anticipated presidential election in my lifetime, so naturally I am going to be running around Chicago photographing voters and events and whatever else I run into. The biggest event will be this evening at Grant Park, where up to a million people are expected to see Barack Obama speak. In anticipation of a huge crowd, the Obama campaign emailed tickets to the first 70,000 people that signed up for this event. Only people with these electronic tickets can apparently enter an area roped off to see Obama speak. Everyone else will supposedly have a blocked view. Either way, it is sure to be a madhouse. Mayor Richard Daley and other officials have left everyone in the dark as to the details of the event. Daley said he was confident letting the Obama campaign run this event. The Obama campaign is footing the bill, which comes to about $2 million. However, they are charging media for tickets near the front, with better positions costing more money. As a journalist I find this appalling. The demand, however, is high. People are already scalping these free electronic tickets for lucrative amounts on chicago.craigslist.org. Since moving back to Chicago this summer I haven’t seen a single McCain sign or T-shirt. In my neighborhood people are now wearing Obama T-shirts and hats as often as they do Michael Jordan apparel. (It is kind of weird thinking I have met both Obama and Jordan.)


Today while I am taking photos, Obama will be playing basketball, a ritual and superstition he acquired early in the primary race against Hillary Clinton. One of his stops along the way, back in April, was at my alma mater UNC-Chapel Hill, where he played pick-up basketball with Carolina’s Final Four team. Like Obama, my first love was basketball, and seeing what he has done with his life provides validation that is sometimes lacking in my own life.


“I can’t imagine more fun than having a good pick-up basketball game when everything is going right and people are passing the ball and you are actually hitting some shots,” says Obama. “I watch a good basketball game or I play in a good basketball game, it makes me feel good.”



It is likely he will be feeling something even better tonight. I think I will, too.

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