Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Toni Fuller, #1

I'm intrigued by jersey numbers.  Kurt Warner, quarterback for the Cardinals and Rams, wore #13.  He's a Christian and I suspect selected that number to express confidence that God is stronger than luck.  As proof of the point he played in two Superbowl's. 

Jim Otto wore "00".  He played center for the Raiders from 1960-71 and played in six AFL title games and one Superbowl. 

Writer George Plimpton wore #0 when he did his book, Paper Lion.  Plimpton was more intellectual than athlete.  He wrote several books where he, as a layman, tried out professional sports.  I've read most of his books - Bogey Man, about golf, Open Net, about hockey, Shadow Box, about boxing.  He never played in real Lions game, but did run a few plays in a pre-season game.  Still, he probably doesn't belong in this discussion of jersey numbers.

In fact, this isn't really about jersey numbers in general. I'll save that for another post. 

This post is about number one. 

What kind of player wears number one?  Number one seems to have a special meaning.  If you're number one you're the best.  I Googled number one.  Warren Moon wore number one playing for the Oilers.  There were a few others but not as many as I expected. 

Toni Fuller, number one, carrying the ball.
For the Outlaws Toni Fuller wears number one.  This is her second year with the team.  Last year she wore number twenty-three because number one was taken. 

I noticed Toni's number because I kept seeing it in my photos from Saturday's game against the Mustangs.   I saw her on offense.  I saw her on defense.  She's listed on the roster as defensive back and running back. 

I have a few photos of her carrying the ball but I'm not sure whether these were from the line of scrimmage or kick returns. 

When you have the ball you attract hostile attention.

This is first of three photos where number one
has the ball...

...encounters some opposition...

...and goes to the turf stretching for another yard.

Her defensive play impressed me more.  She is tied for the Outlaws lead in number of tackles with twenty-six.  Now to be honest, that's not really good.  It is good to have lots of tackles but I'd rather not have the defensive backfield leading the team in tackles.  Better the line and linebackers - stop the opponent before she gets into your defensive backfield. 

But Toni's performance is impressive. 

A key to effective tackling is to hit the runner low. 
Grab the legs and hang on.  It is difficult to run the
ball when someone is hanging on to your legs.

A flying tackle. 

First of three photos.  I wonder if you see this as I do.  I'm posting large because I want
you to see the expression on the runner's face, the concern in her eyes.

Open field tackling is difficult.  Try it sometime.  Toni
doesn't get a clean hit but she does get a hold on the

And brings her to the turf, hanging on to a foot just to be sure.

Possibly the biggest defensive play wasn't a tackle.  Some of our opponents have improved their passing game.  Long complete passes can do lots of damage - as witness the game against the Diamonds.  The Mustangs have a decent passing game, too.  One of Toni's big plays Saturday was batting down a pass.  It was on target and the receiver had a clear path to the end zone.  But Toni had a better idea and leaped high to knock the ball down.

Are you interested in sports photography?  Someday I'll do a post just about managing the
camera to get sharp photos.  Of which this is not an example.  My eyes water when I look
as this photo for very long.  I think my camera is focused on #29.  Or maybe on the
official to the left.  Certainly not on Toni.  The camera has auto focus which is far
better than my own manual focusing.  But sometimes the camera doesn't know where
I want the focus to be. 
Enough on the photography.  Toni saves a score by leaping high and deflecting the
pass away from the receiver.  Great play.  Pass defense is difficult, too.

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