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You ever meet someone in your life and you think, “Man, that guy is just cool. He totally has life figured out?”
That’s kind of how I felt when I first met Tyler Hicks (that’s him, above) in 1997. I was working at the Wilmington Star-News as a young sportswriter fresh out of college. Tyler was just a few years older than me, and he was a staff photographer. Hard to describe Tyler other than saying he was kind of like Dan Cortese’s character on “Seinfeld” that one time; just a guy who floated through life, happily and acting goofy. He was a sweet guy who was always friendly and always took great pictures.
I lost track of Tyler for a few years after he and I both left Wilmington, and then saw that he’d landed at the New York Times, as a war photographer.
His photographs were nothing short of amazing. Every once in a while I’d pick up The Times and see Tyler’s photo credit on pictures from Serbia, or Iraq, or Bosnia, and be amazed at how good he was, and marvel that this was the same guy who used to shoot New Hanover vs. Laney high school tennis matches I was covering.
I don’t want to exaggerate my relationship with Tyler; we haven’t talked in many years, but I always followed his career and was happy he was doing well.
As you probably have heard by now, Tyler and three other journalists were kidnapped while in Libya last week, and for four days they endured horrendous treatment and conditions.
Tuesday the Times published a first-person account from Tyler and the three others, and it’s absolutely compelling reading.
This is happening more and more to my fellow reporters all over the world; dictators think that by capturing members of the press, they can stop the flow of information.
Fortunately, Tyler and the others survived. Knowing Tyler, he probably can’t wait to go back to Libya.
Though personally, I wish he’d go back to shooting high school tennis matches. Rarely do you get kidnapped from those.
**So you may have noticed if you read this blog a lot that I love, love, love mascot stories. I am truly fascinated by people who dress up in funny costumes and wear giant feet just to entertain thousands.
A Maryland TV station recently hosted the 2011 Mascot Madness competition, and the results, well, who cares? I just had some good laughs watching them play basketball.
**Finally, a short video of a crazy stuntman. This is Professor Splash, and this is him diving 35 feet off the ground, down into a kiddy pool filled with shallow water.
I have no idea how he didn’t kill himself doing this. Guess that’s why he’s a stuntman.