Paul Viger has a unique perspective of Tri-State sporting events — from behind the lens of his digital camera. He has been taking pictures of his children and their teammates for years. Here is what Viger had to say about being the father of a senior in the waning moments of his high school football career.
Question: You are at all these games with a camera. Is photography your passion? Answer: Yes, kind of. It gives me something to do. The kids like it. The parents like it. The grandparents like it. Afterward, I put the pictures on Facebook.
Question: How long have you been taking game pictures? Since Alex? Answer: Yes, but the last couple of years I have done it a lot more.
Question: Do you enjoy taking pictures? Answer: Yes. I am still be at the games, even when I don’t bring a camera. If our team isn’t playing, I still go to watch games. Sometimes I have to bring the camera if I have friends with kids.
Question: This is a strange year for this team. Before the season started, the seniors had only two high school career wins — total. How excited was the team to hear they were playing football in North Dakota? Answer: Just the fact it was going to be something new, they liked that. In South Dakota there were so many teams, so big in 9-man football with 40 kids on the sideline. We had no idea what to expect this year about the competition.
Question: Did the kids have expectations for playoffs? Answer: We were hoping to make it this far. We knew we had a good group of skilled players, so we were hoping to make playoffs, but a lot of things have to come together for that to work out.
Question: You have been watching Sam play football for years. Has it hit you yet that this was Sam’s last game? Answer: Oh yeah. I’m a little emotional. I remember when it was Alex’s last football game. Of course they are all tough guys and nothing bothers them. We played Herreid-Selby in the snow. It was a great game, but we ended up losing. Alex and several of his teammates were crying afterward. It was emotional as a parent. For him it was tough. For Alex, football was his sport, no question. For Sam, he likes football. He likes basketball. He probably likes golf the most. But, from a parent’s perspective, golf isn’t the same. It’s not so team oriented. You can just go and watch. I watched him play golf one time when he was a junior. I told him I would come and watch him again when he goes to state.
Question: There’s more excitement in this year’s football program. New coaches infused energy. Do you see that as well? Answer: Oh definitely, especially (assistant coaches) Taurean Smith and Rochenel JeanBaptiste — the way they’ve got the kids attitudes changed, excited to come out and play.
Question: Can you sum up the season, as a parent would call it? Answer: It’s been fun to watch these boys have success when they’ve struggled for so long. If we could do this today, that would be the icing.
Question: They are up against the No.-2 ranked team in the state. What will it take to beat New Rockford-Sheyenne? Answer: Have a successful passing game, which we have had this year. The wind isn’t going to help us today, but thank goodness we have a nice day for a football game.