I know, the title brings a certain Duran Duran song to mind, but that is not the intention. About three years ago, Alaska Professional Sports was marketing and developing the introduction of professional football to Alaska. It had found a spot for its team first with the Arena Football 2 (AF2) league, then with what was then called the Intense Football League (now Indoor Football League). There was a build-up to what the name of this new team would be, including a public competition for naming the team.
At around the same time, Anchorage was looking for a new identity. For the longest time, the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) had used the slogan “Wild About Anchorage” to promote the city. Featuring Seymour the bull moose, the purpose of the slogan was to celebrate the wild and natural aspects of the town as well as its cultural jewels. Still wanting to keep Seymour on board, the ACVB paid lots of money for a firm to come up with the new slogan, and new splashy graphics, “Big Wild Life.”
Then, Alaska Professional Sports came out with the name for its new team, right around the same time – the Alaska Wild. Now, I lived in Minnesota when it acquired a new NHL franchise (the original team, the North Stars, were bought and moved to Texas). As that team was called the Minnesota Wild, I felt Alaska Wild too familiar.
After having been with the team now for three seasons as the team photographer, I can safely say that the name as definitely grown on me. It seemed appropriate to name the team with both “Alaska” and “Wild.” First, it was the only IFL team in Alaska at the time (there is now the Fairbanks Grizzlies, too). Second, there is really no single word that represents the whole of Alaska better than “Wild.” It has been a real treat over three seasons to be the team photographer. It’s always a pleasure to photograph the games, but working with the guys for individual and group shots can be a blast as well.
Take for instance my photo session with them just recently to get some make up head shots and an outdoor team shot. After we were done with head shots at the AT&T Sports Complex, several guys jumped at the suggestion that they could do some “buddy” shots. When it came time for the team shot out at Potter Marsh, I made it clear I did not want to photograph a typical team shot. I want it to be about attitude and personality. Needless to say, the guys have plenty of both. For this week’s home game at the Sullivan, we will do a typical team shot on the field. But for this Friday evening out in the chilly Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, an appropriate location for a team called the “Wild,” the boys let it loose.