I photographed my first Kane County Cougars home game on May 16 as a photo intern with the Kane County Chronicle. Being a part of the press resulted in my behind-the-scenes view of the Cougars game against the Peoria Chiefs. I wasn’t there to photograph the action – I was there to capture the essence of the ballpark that the average fan wouldn’t generally experience.
Initially, I focused on the fans, specifically children. They all seemed to be enjoying their colorful Dippin' Dots snacks or paying more attention to their counterparts than the action on the field.
To photograph the players on the field, I was led through a simple, gray door that connected to a worn, shady passage. I spotted a hamper brimming with baseballs and rakes hung with haste. It was a sports fan's secret garden as it led directly into the player’s dugout. The dugout was messy, with empty cups and bats carelessly leaning on the bench. This dugout was a lounge, a home and an area for the players to cheer on their fellow teammates and friends. The dugout, that night, was the essence of America's favorite sport.