Lessons from a Soccer Game

Landing on the soccer field?

It always amazes me when I’m at Georgetown soccer field how low the planes come. This afternoon was no exception. As we were parking the car for Robby’s 2:45 game, the new Boeing 787 flew by. I swear it was eye-level. Its one thing when you are driving through the area; you notice a lot of low level air traffic. Standing by the field, however, I often get the impression that a giant malevolent insect is bearing down on me. Its something about the lights and looking dead on into the front windows of the jet. If I feel this way, standing on the sidelines of a soccer field in Seattle, in the United States, of an age with no memories of immanent war, I can only imagine what it must be like if you live in Palestine or Afghanistan and see those eyes coming at you. I can look away. Even since 9/11 I don’t have to worry that the winged creature approaching brings death and destruction. I raise my camera almost instinctively and fire off a few shots. There’s something so incongruous about having the game go on in front of me with the plane in the same frame as the tops of the trees standing alongside the field.

Soccer games give me another arena to practice different photographic skills than I naturally gravitate to. If I weren’t a mom with a 17 year old son, this would not be how I’d spend a Sunday afternoon. Today’s results were both thrilling and not very exciting. The soccer game ended with a victory in overtime after two and a quarter hours, and Robby’s second was the winning goal. He played an inspired and dynamic game as part of a brilliant team performance.

My photographic rendering of the event was less than remarkable. The images I’m happiest with from the afternoon were about the kids. The facial expressions and body angles were what intrigued me because the action shots were not what I’d hoped for. There was too much going on in the background and the exciting moments had too much confusion in the frame to “work”. Interestingly enough, in my dissatisfaction with the images, I may have stumbled upon what truly appeals to me about sports photography. Maybe I’ll quit trying to get “the shot” and instead of focusing on the ball, focus on the faces of the players. I won’t necessarily have the ball in the frame, but I’m betting I’ll like the shots better.

Redhawks soccer

Having arrived home from New York late Thursday evening and spent Friday moving at warp speed, I now find myself at Sunday evening. Its time to regroup and catch up from all that got ignored while I was in New York. I haven’t looked through the piles of mail and papers that need attention which have moved from the floor of my room to the bed and back three times over the course of the weekend. I’ve finished my photo assignment and my writing assignment and cooked dinners and done laundry. The fires are out. Now I get to find out what’s about to catch fire!

After writing my blog entry last night, I decided something needed to be done about the propensity I have to try to do too much at one time. I talked to a friend of mine tonight about it. She suggested that I might want to learn how to assess better what’s for now and what’s for another moment in time. To better measure how much I can take on and when to add more… all without giving up on any of the things that truly call me and that I have already waited a long time to add back into my life.

I guess I have a built in measuring stick to see how I do at this effort, because having committed to write here every day, I will not be able to hide from myself!


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