Sports Photography Changed My Life

Sports Photography Changed My Life

Giving Friday night lights a whole new meaning.

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As I was growing up, I had an inexplicable adoration for taking photos on my mom's phone. They were blurry half the time and never really had a particular subject, but I found so much joy in every terrible photo. At some point in my flip phone photography career, I think my mom got tired of me clogging up all of her storage with useless pictures. So, she bought me a camera. It was red, had automatic settings, and it was my baby. I used it for years, it went everywhere with me. Looking back on it now, I think I should've named it. Too little too late, I guess.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I got an upgrade. It was a "graduation" gift that came before I had gotten anywhere near putting on a cap and gown. A Canon Rebel t5. My mom and I went to the store, picked it up, and my passion for photography only grew from there. Do you remember the way The Grinch's heart grew in "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"? Yeah, something like that.

A few weeks later, I decided I would email the coach of the football team at my school to see if I could take pictures for the season. There was never a girl on the field, and I wanted the opportunity to expand my portfolio. Long story short, as you can tell by the photo above, I was the photographer for the season. I researched and researched until my entire brain ran on only caffeine and sports photography settings. Friday night lights are the time where students come together, usually to freeze for two hours and cheer on the team. Or the band, or hanging out with friends, or whatever purpose being at the game served them. Friday night lights to me was a time where I got to do what I loved. From that season, I photographed the hockey team. I continued to do photos for both sports for the year afterward, as well.

I learned a lot in my two years of capturing the seasons of these two teams. The first being that being the only female on a field, or in a penalty box, surrounded by teenage boys and adult men - you are going to be underestimated. You will be seen as fragile. I learned a lot about being confident from these two years. I learned that sometimes, despite the opinions of others not mattering one bit, you have to show people that you're stronger than they believe. Similarly, I learned a lot about girl power in those two years. The future of sports photography is female if I have anything to say about it.

I also learned a lot about passion. I have never had so much adrenaline coursing through my body, or excitement in my body until I started photographing sports. Especially when it's hockey, which was already something I knew I loved. The warmth and joy I get from sports photography is one I never want to let go of. I am grateful to the coaches, the boys, the experiences, and the memories I have from the last two years of photographing high school sports. From all of that, I found something I adore more than I knew was physically possible. I found a passion I want to pursue for a very long time to come.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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