Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

I love comments March 29, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Blogs,Communication,Football,Lacrosse,Photography,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:03 pm

I shouldn’t open myself up on this topic, but I really do love comments… on my blog, on my photography, on activities… it just makes me smile. It probably shouldn’t matter to me whether anyone reads or sees my photos, but it honestly does.  My goal, when I shoot a sporting event, is to cover the game in photos as if I were writing the game with words.  I know I take too many pictures, but it makes me happy.

Case in point:  Tonight, I posted over 500 pictures of a lacrosse game from Tuesday (3/27) and the most vivid comment I got was from a Hood senior who posted the following on my wall:  “those pictures are AMAZING!!! Your pictures captured what happened better then my own memory!”  Wow…. those words had such a positive impact on what I do.  This young man felt compelled to get a message to me regarding how he enjoyed my photos.  What a wonderful endorsement he offered me for my business.

Knowing that people are checking my website (or even my business Facebook page) to see what I captured with my camera pushes me to do my very best every single time.  I know there are parents who live too far away to attend games.  I like to think that I’m providing pictures for these people… so they have the opportunity to “see” a game, even if they can’t be there in person.  If my child were on that field, playing a sport he loves, and I couldn’t be there in person, I would certainly be grateful for any documentation of that accomplishment.   Our kids are young and athletically active for such a short time in their lives that I feel it’s my honor and privilege to capture these endeavors in whatever way I can.  Having people react in a positive way to the photos I take, and send/post comments along the way, just makes it even better.

If you have a moment and can post a comment for me to read, I would be grateful for the feedback.  While my blog is really my own way of getting those random thoughts out of my head, I appreciate any time taken to read these missives.

Oh, and if you have some time to flip through a few photos, please feel free to visit my website:  http://www.alisportshots.com.  I post thousands of pictures of sporting events for High School, College, and Adult leagues.  It’s my passion and my joy… thanks for letting me share both my photography and my thoughts with you, dear reader.  YOU are very much appreciated!

 

A quick commentary on parental travel March 3, 2012

Filed under: Blessings,Communication,Lacrosse,Parenting,Photography,Sports,Uncategorized,Volunteering — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:15 am

It’s a Saturday in March and we are getting ready to drive 3 hours to MD to watch my son’s lacrosse team play.  Mind you, our son D isn’t playing… he’s got an Avulsion Fracture on his ankle and is on “complete rest” for 5 days before he can even start rehab.  It’s just “what we do” when our kids’ teams are playing and we have any possible opportunity to watch and attend the game.  Is this craziness or just parenting?

We’ve always been this way.  If our boys were on a sports team, we were in the stands (or tramping out onto the opposite sideline) to support their efforts.  It’s never really been an issue of whether or not our son gets his moment on the field… it’d be nice to see him play, but that’s really not my focus.  The primary reason for being there is to show our support in the most tangible way… we’re THERE.

No matter the level of sport played, there’s always a component of dedication that must be present in the player.  Youth leagues, High School, Travel programs, College… they all require participation on the part of each student-athlete.  In my humble opinion (IMHO), I believe the part we play as parents is simply to be present at any venue in which our kids participate.  It’s not an issue of how many minutes they play…. it’s not whether they’re even physically able to be on the field.  It’s the idea that our kids have made this choice… this commitment… to get up each day, get out on that field, and be a part of a team so we need to support them.

My younger son has had many more years of parental participation with regards to his sporting choices, simply because D came to lacrosse much later in his HS career.  M and I were on athletic boards, M has done websites for most, I have volunteered to be the team mom or “Athletic Director”, depending on the needs of each program in which our boys belonged.  I am still the Athletic Director (scheduler) for Richmond Shock Lacrosse, simply because I’ve been doing the job for the past 5 years and just can’t seem to (want to) hand it off.  Sports can be a business, but they can also be a saving grace that allow parents to do the “behind the scenes” work and still remain supportive of their childrens’ efforts.

We may gripe and whine about all the travel we have done, and have yet to do, but I would never trade it for an extra hour of sleep.  I know this hectic chaos has a lifespan and will all-too-soon become a memory.  Being on the sidelines of our boys games is a privilege.  It’s a gift to be able to see our boys do something they love, even if they don’t ever make it to the field on any given day.  Seeing D on the sidelines, bolstering his friends and helping to coach them in their efforts, is worth the lack of sleep.  He’s going to graduate in a few short weeks and this too will be  part of his past.  I just can’t imagine being anywhere else but AT THE GAME.

I’ll sleep in next week… for now, it’s off to the lacrosse game of the moment!  Go Hood Blazers… we believe in you and WE SUPPORT YOU!

 

How I became a Sports Photographer February 22, 2012

It’s the beginning of lacrosse season and one of my favorite times of the year.  I’m grateful to be busy as a photographer and am constantly reminded just how organically  this career path came to be.  As weird as it sounds, it all started with my kids and my husband… as does much of what is right in my life.

E started playing lacrosse in the fall of his 8th grade year.  He had decided not to play his final season of association football and had opted instead to play lacrosse.  We knew nothing about the sport at that point, so we figured this was just his way of choosing to “do his own thing”.  We supported him, but I made the decision to remain with his former football team as their team mom and equipment coach since I had already committed to them for the fall.  Truth be told, I could have quit that job if I’d wanted to do so, but really loved being on the sidelines and helping the team.  I also felt it was important to show the boys that one doesn’t just quit something if you’ve made a commitment.  I pulled back a bit from football, but still did all the typical organizational stuff that I so loved.   That fall was a bit more chaotic than usual, since we were attending all E’s lax games AND I was going to all the association football games.  D was a sophomore in HS and in the marching band, so his activities didn’t really conflict with all that was going on for E and me.

It turned out that E was a natural on the lacrosse field.  We had parents who asked us where he’d been playing before… that surely this kid hadn’t just picked up a stick and figured out how to play in just a few short weeks of rec ball.  When he asked about trying out for the Middle School travel team, we encouraged him again but were sure he’d be passed over for those who had been playing for longer… instead, he was selected and became a stronger player as this second season went along.  He still was in his very first full year of playing lacrosse, but it was obviously becoming his passion.  We jumped in with both feet and began to learn the rules, help behind the scenes, and do whatever we could to help him improve his skill sets.

He tried out for our local travel lacrosse team when he was in 9th grade and, not surprisingly now, made the team.  Schedules were adjusted to accommodate this expensive hobby and both M and I learned where our own skills would be most helpful to the program.  I found that I loved watching the action of a lacrosse game but I missed being on the sidelines.  Having spent four years on the sidelines for football (M called me a “bench Nazi”) it was increasingly difficult to pay attention to the game itself when parents kept shouting their “helpful words of encouragement” to/at their children.  I wanted to get away from them and do something productive… and then I found a camera…

One of the dads had a Nikon D40X.  It was simple… clean… workable… and I wanted one.  My darling husband found one for me for my birthday in 2008 and the rest, as they say, is history.  I fell in love with the idea of capturing the feeling of a game through photographs.  I asked questions… talked with professionals… experimented with different settings… read countless articles and books… and slowly got better.  I never stop learning about photography but I’m significantly better than when I started.

Around this time, a website that M helps to moderate (gomids.com) made mention that they were looking for someone who’d be willing to be their photographer during the fall Navy football season.  My darling hubby sent me a text asking if I was “interested”…. and I almost fell over trying to quickly text my emphatic YES! back to him before he could rescind the offer. Thankfully, they let me start in the fall of 2008…. and what an incredible journey that has been, but I’ll have to touch on that later.  Still trying to focus on explaining how organically my sports photographer career came to be…

E was still playing club travel lacrosse at this point.  He attended a lacrosse Showcase in the fall of 2008 that really drove home the point to him that his skills really were competitive with many higher level players… he stripped the ball from some kid in one of his first shifts on defense that had parents around us gasping and applauding his talent.  I was taking photos of him as often as I could and it got to be a joke that he was “levitating” down the field when he played, since I seemed to catch him in the air more often than not. I kept asking questions and learned how to take better pictures as we continued to follow E’s lacrosse career.

By this time, I had been given many photo opportunities since getting that Nikon for my birthday and, after fighting and questioning my own abilities, had finally started to call myself a “Sports Photographer”.  I’d earned that title… by now I had been on the sidelines of Navy football for two seasons, I had photographed lacrosse for three seasons, including summer travel games, I had shot volleyball photos for two years and covered the event when E’s HS team went and WON the State Championship, and I’d “taken one for the team” and gotten run over by a referee during a lax game, giving me a black eye for a few weeks. Note: you can see the faint purple mark under my eye in this photo, two weeks after I got the black eye.  I was also cautiously photographing D’s college lacrosse games and learning how to share them with the team via Facebook.  It was time to say I was a Sports Photographer.

Eventually, it came time for E to graduate HS.  E was selected for the Richmond area’s US Lacrosse All-Star game and I was bound and determined to photograph this accomplishment.  When we got to the event, being held at a nearby college, I introduced myself to the US Lacrosse president and asked if I could shoot the game.  I gave her a brief overview of my abilities and promised to stay out of the ref’s way… no need to get plowed over by another one, right?  I walked away to rejoin my family, happy they were going to allow me this small concession.

Here is the cool part of the whole thing for me.  A little while later, this same woman came up to me and asked if I would consider being their “official photographer” for the game… photograph the remainder of the girls game, all the awards presentations, and then photograph the boys game and awards… that their Official Photographer hadn’t shown up to cover the event.  O M G…. how often does something like this literally fall into someone’s lap?  She then asked me about my event charge and my website address…. I quickly collected myself and asked if I could email that information to her after the game…. I had NOTHING at this point!  Wow… talk about organic?  I looked at M and said “I need to figure out how much to charge for an event and I need a website ASAP.”  FYI:  My website address is www.alisportshots.com.

That was in May of 2010… I’ve since been the photographer for Swim Championships, College lacrosse games, Milestone Family events, Senior Nights for volleyball teams, and of course, Navy Football (and lacrosse) for GoMids.com.  It’s been a whirlwind journey for me.  Each time on the sidelines is truly a gift and I am constantly reminded how much I truly adore this job.  I’m blessed to have an eye for sports action and consider each event I photograph to be the most singularly important thing I do at that very moment.  I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in such a short time and am grateful that God has seen me worthy of these blessings.  It truly is magical to do what I get to do…

 

 
Jennifer VanOrman Counseling

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

tawnyajean.wordpress.com/

☕42 Momma of 5 🍍Cali 🍕Eat My Emotions 🦄Unicorn 🤓Nerd Introvert 👻shakomomma 💎Health Coach

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