Back in January I had the honor of photographing my favorite player from the New York Giants, wide receiver Victor Cruz, his girlfriend, Elaina Watley, and their newborn baby Kennedy. It was one week prior to the Super Bowl, the day before he left for Indianapolis to be exact. We had a wonderful time, built a beautiful friendship and above all, came away from the session with the most amazing memories for baby Kennedy! On top of that, six days later, he and the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI! Talk about a month to end a dream season!
When Victor and Elaina told me that Victor was writing a book about his life story and that they wanted to use our favorite image of Kennedy in the book, I was beyond thrilled! Kennedy was fast asleep, nestled in Daddy’s arms when I decided to combine his two passions, Kennedy and football. I asked Victor if he had a ball in the house. Elaina pulled a ball from the closet and I took a deep breath and shook my head when I read the sticky note attached to it….”99 yd”. I knew exactly what it was the minute I read it. It was the ball from the Jets game on Christmas Eve, December 24th, 2011 when Victor set the NY Giants record for a 99 yard touchdown run against the Jets, in our house, MetLife Stadium. After spending two hours with them and realizing Victor’s humble personality was as true in real life as on tv, it was no surprise to me that the ball was in a closet with a sticky note attached. Kennedy didn’t make a peep and we got the shot I envisioned.
I received an advance copy of Out Of The Blue, by Victor Cruz and Peter Schrager, (Celebra/Penguin) and read it in three days. If only I didn’t have to work it would have been one! They both did a phenomenal job. I loved that is was an easy read suitable for all ages, it was hard to put down and you may even cry like I did.
It is a story of friendships and family, triumphs and tragedies.
It is a love story. It is a story of courage and strength. It is a story of a child
beating the odds of inner city Patterson, NJ.
It is about learning from a young age that “nothing is handed to you in this life”.
Out Of The Blue is a story of sacrifice for your children, keeping them on the
right track and helping them realize their dreams.
It is a humble story of perseverance. It is a story full of irony that will give you chills.
It is a story of a Cowboys childhood-one who loved the legends of Troy Aikman,
Emitt Smith and Deion Sanders.
It is the story of Victor Cruz, the salsa dancing wide receiver of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants who now catches passes from the legendary QB Eli Manning.
It is the story of a boy from Patterson, New Jersey who loves his family, friends and football and wants you to know how he beat the odds.