I will make this quick.
We’ve based the 2013 college football preview section on speed, not hair.
That needs to be clear because one of our covers is dominated by speedy Husker receiver Kenny Bell, who, you may have noticed, has lots of hair.
For a team of newspaper people brainstorming ways to illustrate speed in football, Bell is perfect.
Well-known. Fast. Big hair.
Wind-blown hair illustrates speed. Easy.
We just needed the wind-blown part.
Suggestion one: Ask Bell to run really fast at the camera.
No good. Our “photo studio” would be makeshift, set up in a back hallway with no room to build up speed — or stop for that matter.
Suggestion two: large industrial fan.
Negative. Too big and unwieldy. Will test the patience of NU officials.
Suggestion three: hair dryer.
Nope. Not enough oomph.
Anyone got a leaf blower?
This might work. But …
“If Bo is mad at us now, what’s he gonna be like if something flies out of the leaf blower and hits Kenny Bell in the eye?”
“How is that gonna happen? It blows air, not gravel … and stuff.”
“You never know. Stranger things have happened.”
OK. Then let’s test it.
So, this is how you get two editors standing in the World-Herald newsroom, one shooting the other in the face with a roaring leaf blower.
For the record, leaf blowers could peel the contacts off your eyeballs. They probably won’t — unless rigged to do so — shoot out small rocks.
We determined Bell would be safe.
Full disclosure: From this point on, I was not involved in the “leaf blower” shot. I relied on deputy sports editor Nick Piastowski to fill me in.
Bell, as it turns out, liked the idea of posing with his mighty afro blowing in the wind.
So, as you peruse Bell’s cover photo, you may ask, “Why isn’t his hair moving?”
To that, all I can say is that it’s a good thing section designer Tim Parks has a job at a newspaper, because he’ll find it difficult to land work on a lawn service crew — or, probably, as a beautician.
Dude can’t aim a leaf blower. It’s my understanding that as Parks wielded the blower, even Bell was motioning toward Parks — as many as seven times! (Parks disputes this claim) — for him to aim higher on Bell’s forehead rather than lower at his nose. The whole time Parks was missing the top of the ’fro!
So what the photos show are some wind-sheared sides but nothing moving up top — a mid-’80s lots-of-hair-spray look instead of the mid-’70s Dr. J-soaring-dunk look, which would have been perfect.
Parks’ explanation: “I was momentarily hypnotized by how much hair he had. That is a two leaf blower afro.”
On the bright side, we shot plenty of other photos of Bell — and there were no eye injuries.
OK, group, any other ideas to illustrate speed?
“Maybe we can get Taylor Martinez to wear a helmet like the cartoon ‘Speed Racer.’ ”
Yeah, like that would ever happen.