Smiling ‘Till The End

So, when I heard that Donald Driver confirmed his plans to retire, I thought about putting together some of my favorite pictures I have taken of him since 1999. Let’s just say there are a lot. But, instead of showing random images from throughout his career, I decided to narrow my focus a bit.

“I played my entire career in Green Bay and have always enjoyed a special bond with the fans,” Driver said. “I can think of no better way to retire than to celebrate with them and the Packers organization.”

I read the above quote in a USA Today story this morning. It reminded me of why he is my second-favorite Green Bay Packer to photograph since I started working at Post-Crescent Media in 1995. In case you’re curious, Brett Favre is my favorite … and please, no hate mail. ;0)

What I love about Donald is that he seems to simply want to have fun playing the game of football and in equal proportion share his joy with the fans.

On October 28, 2012, the Jacksonville Jaguars were in town to play the Packers. Little did I know that I would be photographing Donald’s last career touchdown. To be honest, I was in a good position to get a nice action shot of him catching the pass, but he sort of turned his back to me. (Hey Donald, didn’t you know where I was?) So, my action shot is sort of so-so …

1But I learned a long time ago to never put down the camera after a huge score because nine times out of 10 the celebration may be even better. Hey, it’s Donald Driver, you know he is gonna be leapin’! What I love about the next image is that there is a genuine interaction with this one fan. I mean there are cameras clicking, television rolling, and a mosh pit of craziness in general, but he locked in on this one fan. I love it and I ‘m sure she’ll never forget it …

2Because Donald was so fired up I decided to look for him on the sidelines as the game came to an end. Luckily, he was alone and actually had his helmet off. I like the isolation of the photograph and how he seems to be soaking it all in …

3After this image, I made my way towards the tunnel where the team enters and exits the field. In true Double D fashion, I found him interacting with the fans ’till the end …

4I’m gonna miss seeing him on the field. Just like the fans, he makes me smile, too. Great athlete, great guy. Nothing but a class act. Thanks for stopping by … Dan.

 

 

 

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