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Kick in face

Kick in face

April 30, 1978: Los Angeles Aztecs’ Ron Davies gets a kick in the face from Oakland Stompers’ Paki Paunocich. A cut and blooded Davies, left, remained in the game.

The Aztecs lost 2-1 in a match played at the Rose Bowl in front of 7,845 fans. The North American Soccer League operated from 1968 to 1984 with the Los Angeles Aztecs playing from 1974 to 1981.

Former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Rick Meyer reflects on these images:

The actual photo, which shows a player getting kicked cleanly in the face, is good by itself, but what makes it a contest winner is the aftermath photos. Nothing catches the reader’s eye like a kick to the face and the flowing blood to prove it.

At that point in my career (1978), I was shooting alongside sports photography legends like Art Rodgers, Larry Sharkey and Ben Olender. I was often assigned as the second shooter for many sports events. I was convinced that the “legend” photogs had a direct pipeline to the photo God who would send them one great sports photo after another. That night was my night — peak action, good exposure, focus and composition.

The photo God sent me these photos.


Meyer adds: The camera would have been a Nikon film camera with a motor drive. For some reason I remember that game at dusk or early evening at the Rose Bowl. Lens would have been a Nikon 180 f2.8. The exposure inside the Rose Bowl at dusk would be 1/250th at F2.8. Tri X B&W film pushed to 1000 ASA. I remember the photo is a little grainy.

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