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Photo Bomb goes viral
(7/05/12 ... photo by Jon Dressler)

by Kevin Hamilton
It is often hard to pin down why things go viral on the internet, like a video or photo. Often it is a random event captured by a lens that, once posted, takes on a life of its own. Before you know it, the image(s) have been seen by tens of thousands on Facebook and in emails. The best just happen by accident with perfect timing and the luck of good content, and can rarely if at all be pre-constructed.

Such a viral event occurred this past weekend, involving three Iowa Park girls, a dad with a camera, and a baseball hero.

But first, for those (like this writer) previously unaware of the concept of “photo bombing,” this must be explained.

Photo bombing is when a picture is taken, say a wedding party outside with a beautiful landscaped background, but someone has interjected themselves into the frame. The more out of place that person or persons .... say they are wearing scuba gear ... the more obvious the photo bomb.

Evidence A below is an example of photo bombing pulled off the web. There are many examples of photo bombing that cannot be seen in a family newspaper.

Jon Dressler treated his daughter, Amber, and two friends, Sarah Lehman and Alyson McIlvanie, to a trip Saturday to the Ballpark in Arlington to watch the Rangers host Oakland.

The trip was meant as a “graduation/birthday” trip for the three, according to Jon. “Amber’s graduation gift was a Charger, so I told her this was a birthday present,” he said. “For the other two, it was a graduation present.”

All three graduated from IPHS weeks earlier.

Amber said, “Ok, so we got to the ballpark early to watch batting practice, and we wanted to go down to take a picture on the dugout.”

Alyson interjected, “We wanted to stand on it (the dugout), but they said no.”
The girls posed atop the dugout while Jon – who has for years covered the girls in sports and other events with his trusty Canon – snapped away.

“Then dad yelled out ‘Hey Josh!,’” said Amber. “So we all turned around and saw him (Texas Ranger star Josh Hamilton) waving.”

“We said, ‘Heh Josh, Heh!,’” noted Sarah. “And we were like, yes! Our life was just made.”

Josh responded with a grin and a “heh.”

Amber added, “It was amazing, because we all love him. He’s Josh Hamilton.”

Sarah said, “Once we kind of picked up our jaws, and kind of got a grip on the situation, we were stunned still, and we were like ‘Facebook ... we’ve got to get this on Facebook.’It exponentially increased our experience there. It was so much fun.”

Alyson said, “To spend that one day and for that to happen made it great. That day couldn’t have gotten any better.”

Oh, but it did.

According to Amber, the girls went up to Jon to look at the images he had just shot. “We saw that he was in the picture. We then freaked out even more! All in all it was the best day ever.”

After returning home to Iowa Park, Jon posted the picture on the Texas Ranger Facebook page.

And a viral photo bomb was born. Soon, a local television station was interviewing the four for a story.

As of Tuesday morning, the photo was “liked” by 26,429 people, and comments made by 1,114. There were 908 shares.

Several affiliates across the nation, Yahoo Sports, and the MLB network have run the piece from KAUZ-TV. The photo has been posted on several sports blogs.

Hamilton himself tweeted of the experience, “The Photo bomb” pic made me and my wife laugh! Thanks for sharing! @MLBFanCave.”

Even legendery sports coach/commentator John Madden tweeted about the photo on Faux John Madden. “Absolutely HILARIOUS Josh Hamilton photo-bomb that you have to see.”

So, what began as a special trip for three Iowa Park girls doing things that come very naturally to them all has, with the interjection of an all-star “photo-bomber”, raised the bar of their shared experience to a new and special height.
As for coming down to earth, Jon said, “Well, I did until John Madden tweeted about it. And Amber was starting to come down until the Josh Hamilton tweet.”

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