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Purple Day for Epilepsy

Today is Purple Day. Purple Day is for those of us with epilepsy. Canadian Cassidy Megan started Purple Day in 2008 so that people throughout the world could connect with each other and transform how people saw us. I was 16 when I had my first seizure. Cassidy is still only 17.

The 2009 Camp Coelho Summer Camp for children with epilepsy occurred at Camp Wawona in Yosemite. (bryan farley)

When I was 16, I was encouraged to hide epilepsy. I did not have a camp or event… or color. Now, I see purple often, especially on days like today. I saw a purple flower at the first Camp Coelho summer camp I visited in 2009. It was in plain sight. It felt as if it were there for me.

 (bryan farley)

Having a color means that I have people. I have people who have been there for me when I need them. They are like miracles. People love me when I feel that I am unloved. People encourage me when I feel that I can’t move forward. People remind me of my worth when I feel worthless. I was taught to find my voice after being taught to hide.

The National Walk for Epilepsy VIP Reception was held at The Mead Center for American Theater on Friday, April 19, 2012. The National Walk for Epilepsy is on Saturday, April 20, 2013 on the Washington Monument Grounds. (bryan farley)

I find purple in the large smile of tiny Royalty

The 2013 Sharon's Ride.Run.Walk for Epilepsy was on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at De Anza Cove at Mission Bay Park in San Diego, California. The event benefits The Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. (bryan farley)

or a family I finally met in San Diego who were wearing the royal color.

 (bryan farley)

In Washington D.C., I saw some old friends. One would not return for the next National Walk for Epilepsy. Some purple people disappear…

 (bryan farley)

and become names on purple flags. While this is sad, it is important that we honor those we lost, especially as we walk past so many memorials during our National Walk.

 (bryan farley)

It’s eerie walking past memorials knowing that we often pretend people with epilepsy do not die.

 (bryan farley)

When we say that we are “unbreakable” it doesn’t mean that we will live forever. It means that some days we must fight more than other days. We are not afraid to fight… or, even if we are afraid, this fear won’t break us.

 (bryan farley)

I love purple. I see it. I feel it and I hear it, even if it isn’t pure.

 (bryan farley)

I love that I feel purple. Purple is a mixture of blue and red and a few other colors… it might be hazy or cool. (Perhaps you have heard that some people feel blue, or Taylor Swift sings about loving someone like Red.) Having a supportive community feels like Purple Rain poured over me, and as Neil Young might suggest, the feeling is better than silver and gold.

School and Basketball

This post is about three basketball games that all occurred on March 2nd. I photographed two of the games. The other game was played in 1962.

The San Marin High School Mustangs defeated Bishop O'Dowd 51-46 to advance to the North Coast Section title game on March 2, 2011. San Marin would eventually win their first basketball section title in school history. (bryan farley)

When I was in 5th grade, I remember taking a standardized reading comprehension test. We read a short story about Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points against the New York Knicks. We were asked to categorize the story. Because I knew it was impossible for anyone to score 100 points in an NBA game, I decided that the story was fictional. Of course, Wilt scored 100 points against the Knicks on March 2, 1962 and my distrust of standardized tests was born.

A parent celebrates after San Marin's upset victory against Bishop O'Dowd High School. (bryan farley)

The second story happened five years ago on March 2, 2011. I was teaching at San Marin High School in Novato, California. I had just learned that I was going to lose my teaching position, because the technology department was closing. Our boys basketball team was hosting one of the state’s top teams, Bishop O’Dowd in a North Coast Section semifinal the next night. I decided to stay late, even though I knew I would not be staying at the school… even though I knew that San Marin would not win.

2011 NCS Division III Boys Basketball Champion San Marin High School defeated Center High School 61-55 during the NorCal CIF State Tournament at San Marin High School on March 10, 2011. The 2011 boys basketball team won the school's first basketball section championship. (bryan farley)

But of course, San Marin won. On the following Saturday, San Marin won their first boys basketball section title in school history. I photographed that too. I might write more about that journey later; here is my post about March 2, 2011. (March Madness.)

 (bryan farley)

This year, I started working for Albany High School. The boys basketball team hosted a NCS semi-final on March 2, 2016. Albany led 56-54 when the buzzer sounded. Albany students were prepared to rush the floor. The team was ready to advance to tonight’s final, but the ball dropped through the basket and the game went to overtime. The photo gallery from Albany’s loss seems to be lacking a conclusion. Even the other team, the Miramonte Matadors, seemed to disbelieve this story.

NOTE: The Library of Congress announced on March 23, 2016 that the 4th Quarter recording of Wilt’s historic game would be preserverd. I included another link to the home town Philadelphia Magazine.

BAD United Derby Double Header

 (bryan farley)

I am a roller derby photographer and my 2016 season started last Saturday. I usually photograph at The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California where light imitates art … or art imitates cupcakes. I forget.

I posted one gallery of the two evening bouts here.

 (bryan farley)

Bay Area Derby created two “united teams” to compete against Sacramento’s Sacred City Derby Girls and the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. My son was unsure which team to support, so he chose his team the same way he chose his cupcake. (He chose the blue one.)

 (bryan farley)

Before the evening bouts, I took my children to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. We would have watched the junior derby “Golden Goblet” earlier in the day, but my son played his first baseball game Saturday and my daughter danced earlier that morning.

 (bryan farley)

My kids enjoy derby as much for the community and competition as the cupcakes and cookies. I continue uncovering my reasons for photographing derby… something about leaning into a bigger conversation.

 (bryan farley)

Roller derby can be dangerous for the participants. Sometimes I forget that derby involves constant contact until I review my photos. People move fast, often colliding into each other and the floor.

 (bryan farley)

While I took a few good photos Saturday, I missed a lot more. It felt like opening day. I almost caught a really cool picture but I had focused on one part of the action when a skater jumped in front of me. I heard her leap just as I clicked the shutter.

 (bryan farley)

I got lucky with the light a few times. The shadows and reflections make for some beautiful pictures between the collisions. Seeing old friends make for good new memories too.

 (bryan farley)

… until the next home bout March 26th.

Note: I edited this post on Friday March 4th