with the change of the seasons, the ball begins it’s roll towards goals. off feet, between legs, through the air–not always sure and true but never forgetful of the points that lie in wait.
happy birthday to this guy. sixteen he is, sixteen, oh no, it can’t be. has it been that long? i think he was seven in this picture, maybe six, but definitely not eight yet. doesn’t matter. i’m old, these boys are getting old, boyhood has escaped all of us involved. what happened to youth…mine anyway?
so yes, what a boy this boy has become. a young man indeed. so proud of what he does daily, the discipline, the insight to life, the empathy. i’m biased but he is one helluva kid. seriously, he has his own way of carrying himself that denotes a maturity that i’m not even sure i have. so, yeah, proud. pop.
so happy birthday, my boy #2. i hope i am around for about fifty more of these. my love to you always.
another year of youth soccer wrapped this past weekend. around 2,200 miles logged through a half dozen states or so. long drives, cheap hotels, craft beers, KindTM bars, grapes, oranges, vegan pizzas, ugly socks and moments. moments of joyful play, painful losses, car naps, good songs and words. sometimes many, sometimes few. boys and pops. i know i am on a count down when it comes to these moments. they grow…UP. boy #1 is job searching, living out of town for stretches, talking about his next life and wants…#2 has school, girl, guitars and a slinging hash at the pool. changes (turn and face the strange). here’s to one less season of soccer, still a few more but i’m remembering to savor all the moments on the ball even if there is another one through.
it’s easy to mouth off in defiance, “ain’t nothing or no one gonna stop me from living my dreams…” but in reality just about everything is set-up in this life to do just that…stop you from living your dreams. but that is where you come in, have the determination to be your own person, set your own sights, and follow through on “you.” it’s gotten a little cliche’ but “you do you” isn’t such a bad message. do you, and push through, you can get there…where ever there is for you.
“Ultimately, sports are just about as close to what one would call the truth as it is possible to get in this world.” –Harry Crews
if you aren’t a fan of sport you probably think all the hyperbole about kinship, brotherhood and soldiers together in battle is just a bunch of nonsense that boys use to justify that somehow playing a game is an important task. having spent more than a little time watching boys play together as a team (i played a little myself even) it’s hard to deny the bond that grows amongst team mates. sure, it can at times be cliqueish, it can be ever-changing, and it doesn’t always happen for all kids. but i know for a fact that when boys go at a singular task together, and really, truly buy-in to caring about each other and have a willingness to fight as hard for their team mate as they would for themselves, that a connection is made that makes for a victory of spirit–that win or lose on the field–makes for pretty special trophies. sports ain’t for everybody, but they should be.
after a huge fall of soccer that included pulling double duty as a starting Varsity high school player as a freshman and helping the club team go undefeated in league play to make the jump up to the next level for spring, the spring has rolled into early summer with reward(s) for all the hard work. a cup, the U.S. Youth Soccer, Kentucky State Open Cup to be exact. for all the success in soccer, the trophies, the medals, the t-shirts, the atta-boys this item has been elusive. but no longer. great coaching, super commitment and a winning, positive mindset are all huge parts of this whirlwind run of the last 10 months. but it’s isn’t over yet…more for sure…
this photo is a classic example as to why i’m just not really a good photographer. no patience, no willingness to watch the scene unfold through the viewfinder, no intellectual moxie when it comes to “the decisive moment.” i guess that is why there are always too many words to accompany the images around here. always searching to explain the context of my clicks of the shutter.
you see, without the context, this is just two boys running, in soccer strips, happily across the green grass. the photographer (me) is in the wrong position, behind them, missing the joy in their faces. i’m also too far away and the frame is basically uninviting. but when you know the context, or i should say, “because i know the context,” there’s something more to the image. this moment is part of a series of moments, some photographed, some not, that included sixty-eight and a half minutes of soccer, a struggle, falling behind, tying the score late and then a game winner before the 70th minute that secures promotion next season to the top league available for the team.
only seconds before this frame was captured, my boy managed to find the back of the net with 21 other boys crowded into the box. and with the goal, he sprinted out of the crowd towards the other end of the field in exaltation with teammates streaming behind. this shot captured him and the first kid to him on the sprint, touching his back in congratulations sure, but there’s so much more than just that. context–team, brotherhood, competition, battle, family, victory, relief it’s all there, i just didn’t do my job showing enough of it. but i assure you we both won’t forget the context, with or without the good photography to prove it.
we, as spectators, get spoiled by professional athletes, musicians, artists, actors, dancers, etc. by how they make their chosen craft look effortless and at times just plain, easy. but we’re smarter than that right. the hours of practice, sweat, blood and want make it so much more than we could ever see.