#4 punt - jenniferdidio.com

#4 punt

Millions of little boys spend a sizeable chunk of their childhood dreaming of NFL futures.   They spend hours enacting miraculous touch down plays into pillow pile ends zones in their family rooms.  They dream what it would be like to do that in front of thousands of adoring fans.  But dreaming is as far as it gets for just about every one of those little boys.

Then, every once in a while, one of those little boys begins to show promise of being able to trade their backyard end-zone into an NFL sized one.   That was Sam Koch’s case.

Sam was drafted in the end of April 2005 while surrounded by family and friends in Nebraska.  Nebraskans take their football very seriously so you can imagine the celebration in that room as the annoucement was made that Sam was picked up by our very own Baltimore Ravens.  That day he became our much-loved Raven #4.

When the live draft announcer broadcast Sam was picked up by the Ravens, his wife Nikki asked, “where’s Baltimore?”  Nikki’s dad turned to her and said, ‘Nik, looks like you are gonna be leaving.’  He then proceeded to tell her, ‘You know the Ravens and the Steelers are huge rivals.  You also know I’ve been a Steelers fan my whole life.   That changes right here, right now.’     (I know all you Ravens fans are doing a jig right now and thinking, ‘Yes!  We’ve pulled one from the dark side!’)

To NFL fans, Sam is a super star punter they’d love to have on their team to help tip the scales to victory on those close games.  To his boys, Sam is dad first and foremost.   He’s the dad who’s always at the bus stop.  He’s the dad who creates labors of love, like bookshelves, from scratch for the family he loves.  He’s the dad who works 16-hour days over 8 weeks in the off-season finishing his basement.   He’s the dad who encourages them to be their best.

Neighbors grin in disbelief when they watch Sam play on Sunday afternoon, then see him out mowing his hilly back yard in his cleats that evening!

Nikki and Sam are very much on the same page about making their family top priority.  Family is everything to them and they believe the best expression of this is through time spent together. 

Their boys were a lot of fun during our time together.  Boys will never fail to bring excitement and energy to family life.  There’s just something about groups of little boys—I can tell you, mothers to little boys sleep good at night.  Boys in groups will wear you out every day with their abundant energy, but they’ll usually keep you cracking up laughing while they are doing it! 

There’s something about boys when they are anywhere close to one another that irrepressibly draws them closer.   There’s an irresistible urge to pull closer and then pick each other up/wrestle/ poke and just generally get right up in each other’s kitchen.  All efforts to try to stop this gravitational pull will inevitably end in defeat.  

So, when we started this little portrait series I knew “the” shot was not going to be the one of them all smiling and looking.   I have 3 boys; I knew the great series this was going to produce. Instead, ‘the shot’ would be the boys engaging each other like they do every day of their lives.   This is the kind of series they will look back on with laughter as they grow together and continue to wrestle each other to the ground. 

We ended our session playing with footballs that Sam has punted in games while the sun dipped below the horizon.  What a perfect expression of this beautiful little family!   Koch’s, may the love and laughter within your family only grow stronger with every passing year!

  1. Hope Carpenter says:

    You are amazing Jennifer. Love the silohette with the footballs. Looks like your are moving up in the world!

  2. Chris Tobias says:

    Awesome pictures!!!! What a neat place to take your pics! Love the whole family on the train…bet Ryan would have climbed higher if he could have!!!

  3. Janelle Schaefer says:

    Amazing Pictures!!! I love each and every one of them! You are all naturals with the camera! What memories these pictures will be for your family! You are all amazing and I love you!!!! ps I want a picture for myself!!!!

  4. Tracie says:

    Love these Jen!!!!! Beautiful family, beautiful photos. Where's one in Ravens jerseys? 😉

  5. Cindy Koch says:

    Great Photos. Can honestly say I have never seen anything quite like them Everyone is so natural looking, I almost feel like you guys are in the room with me. Can't wait to see them all next week. Great job.

  6. Joyce Didio says:

    Love these Jen! As always, great job!

  7. Ann Koch says:

    Absolutely amazing photos!! The boys look so grown up and just by looking at the photos of them I can hear them laughing and having fun. Looks like you had a great time, and even better memories of this day!

  8. Alison says:

    These pictures are BEAUTIFUL, you all look so amazing!

  9. Lacey Koch says:

    You did an awesome job! I love all of the pictures. They are all just so natural and beautiful. Well done!

  10. Cindy Rew says:

    Love…love…love them!!! You, Sam, and the boys look amazing. Can't wait to see them all and help you plaster your house with them!!!! 🙂 Cin

  11. Jeston Koch says:

    AWESOME pictures! Like Ann said, we could definetly "hear" what was being said in each photo.

  12. Geno says:

    Awesome photo's of you all. The back rounds are so impresive and really says it all. Great photographyJennifer.

  13. Tina says:

    Priceless pictures!! They are all so good, that I couldn't imagine having to pick a favorite. Great pics, great family!!

  14. Amalia says:

    I just LOVE all the pictures, thay are so "not posed"-I just can't pick one, they're all amazing!

  15. Nicole Hunsicker says:

    LOVE!!!!!!!!! What gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous family!!!!!!

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