Jimmy Orr and Jerry Mertens, Baltimore, Md., 1962
On this day I had my first field pass to a pro football game. I don't remember how I got it. I took the train from Newark to Baltimore. I was nervous. I would finally be on the same field as my beloved Colts. Every Thursday there was a show on TV called Pro Football Highlights. I loved it, you could see the photographers on the sideline. I thought, "If I wear all light-colored clothes maybe I can see myself on TV." So I wore khakis and a khaki-colored jacket. With about a minute left in the game, Johnny Unitas threw this pass to Jimmy Orr, who bobbled the ball but held on to it as he fell into the end zone, and the Colts won. In those days photographers could stand on the sideline, so I was right next to Orr as he reached for the ball. I didn't have a motor drive on my camera; I didn't even own one. I took two or three steps backwards, cranked the focus and took one frame. I was sure I'd missed the shot. When Orr finished catching the ball, I jumped up in the air, like the teenage fan I was, leaped on his back and patted him like a deranged stalker. I completely forgot about being a journalist. He brushed me aside. The next Thursday when they showed the highlights of that game on TV, there was Orr bobbling the ball, and me jumping on him and patting him on the back. I was part of the highlights and I got my first great catch picture. One frame, tack sharp—impossible. But there it was.