Brian Hester Reporting
My headline may have drawn you in and left you confused. Allow me to explain. I might first offer the alternate headline that I had considered, “Rutgers Scarlet Knights Take Over Broadway” and the simple explanation for that one would be Rutgers Seniors photos being featured here among a major Broadway publication. But as for the actual headline I explain below.
So sometimes in life we encounter situations that we find difficult, but those same circumstances can lead to happiness and joy later. Often time unexpectedly. In these troubling times I am searching for anything positive and upbeat to share. For many years I have captured and shared photographs of students at my alma matter, Rutgers University, during college football games. I would take shots of all the students involved in the game day experience, The Band, The Spirit Squads, The Mascots, and of course the football players.
I did this as an alumni volunteer. I posted the photos on Facebook with no incidents for many seasons. The students loved them. I run into alumni that had cheered years ago that still thank me for the photos. Suddenly this past fall I encountered tremendous difficulty posting the free albums for the students. I would post 150 photos from a football game and within an hour the album would be deleted, and I would end up locked out of my Facebook account. Facebook Jail. I had never been in any social media trouble let alone Facebook jail. I’m from a good home. I did not even know what Facebook jail was. Apparently, there are a few reasons that you can get locked out. I had not violated any of the community rules but could not get an answer from Facebook. The lockouts appear to be temporary and last anywhere from 3 to 7 or 8 days.
At the time, last fall, I was frustrated at this situation. It turns out that one of the games that never got published was the “Senior Day” game at Rutgers Football. Parents and family of each Senior player, band member and spirit squad member came out to the honor their student athletes’ years of dedication. Seniors Days are typically much less formal than a graduation but still a monumental marker in the life of an NCAA Student Athlete or Band member. I am including the spirit squads as part of the student athletes.
I enjoy these photos because they show us that fighting spirit. Our Rutgers Band. Proudly marching in on game day. Rutgers Strong. Our Rutgers Cheer and Dance Teams. The Fans. The Students. The return of the legendary coach Greg Shiano. It reminds us that we will return. To “R” Stadium. To “R” home. To Life. It will be changed. But we will RetuRn.
Looking back, we had no way of knowing that the coronavirus would take away so many souls from our tri-state region, from our country, from the world. We had no way of knowing that society would-be put-on hold and life as we knew it forever changed. Classes moved online. Sports canceled. Campuses closed. Graduations canceled or postponed at best. But then I stumbled upon these photos that had got stuck in Facebook Jail. I am publishing them here so that all the Seniors may see them. Hopefully every pictured is still with us. If not, my most sincere condolences. I hope this helps some of “R” seniors find some joy in this crazy world in which we live.