Backlog: Relentless Sports Photography

Sports photography. I love sports with my entire heart, but let me tell you, when I need to photograph sports it’s one of the biggest pains, worries and heartaches of my life.

Recently, I began to wonder if my love for sports is simply so strong to the point where I get distracted by the game, itself. So I stopped photographing.

Professors, advisors, classmates and my parents all said I needed to photograph sports, and I said no. For the longest time, I couldn’t will myself to sign up for a game out of the frustration, anxiety and embarrassment I knew I would face.

Finally, I pushed myself over that hill. I forced myself to sign up for a few action-filled events for the rest of 2018. Just the other day, I, again, signed up for one game a week for the rest of January. Although I hate myself before every event and attempt to cancel, I have started to realize that I leave the anxiety on the field and come back a little more confident, a little more excited and beyond excited for updates to my portfolio.

With all this in mind, as of October I had never watched a game of field hockey in my life. When I signed up for a game back in October, it was an experiment for myself. I absolutely loved it. I’m not sure if every sports photographer feels this way, but I left the game against Longwood University bouncing on my toes. (Finally my “Hallelujah”, I thought.)

Going home, I began editing the photos, and decided I wasn’t cut out for sports photography, after all. I gave up. I took every image out of Lightroom and threw them into a folder in the back of my hard drive.

I photograph gymnastics next week, and, again, that anxiety, frustration and hopelessness is sitting in the pit of my stomach. This post is telling myself no, that I can photograph sports and I can be good at it.

I decided to pull the field hockey photos up and toss them to the world. They aren’t anything extraordinary, but it’s the first time I think I’ve truly captured the moments throughout of a sporting event. Moments in the crowd, teammates, action and defeat. Also - no blurry pictures, woo!

Nevertheless, this is me being vulnerable, this is me admitting a major flaw in the photojournalism community. I love sports, but boy do I hate photographing them. It’s going to be a long road (still full of anxiety), but one game at a time, I’m determined to change it - even just a little.