Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home-schooled Saints

"The Maryland Christian Saints home-schooled high school football team warms up before practice at Beechmont Christian Camp. The program has gone from a 17-player squad that was not very strong to league champions last season."

My draft bin is overflowing with old stories from this past summer (not to mention a lot of recent stories, too) that I've been meaning to get to.

At one point I mentioned trying to get them posted before some become outdated and stale. Well, since football season is still going strong, yet ending for prep teams, and I got a good lead on a possible story relating to football, here is an oldie:

The world is huge and every time I leave the country I feel so small. I realize that there is so much out there and that we really are just tiny dots that make up this enormous universe.

With that being said, it's down right fascinating when I am introduced to a story that has been right underneath my nose and so close to home.

With the football season starting (back in August), I got my daily assignments and realized that I was ending my shift literally five minutes from home. I needed to cover the local football team. However, they weren't your typical public school, prep team. These were home-schooled boys. Championship material home-school boys.

What caught my attention with these players was that they were a group of home-schooled kids that had formed a team from nothing.

When the Maryland Christian Saints first started a program four-years ago, they were horrible, having been blown out in all but one of their 11 games. One game they even got stomped, 70-0. And from what I was told by their coach, they had hardly any equipment and barely enough players.

But now, four years later, the home-schooled squad, which most are not in public school for religious reasons, now have nice uniforms, a full roster and even cheerleaders. Not to mention a league championship from last season. This was a great story and I was amped to be covering it.

Yet, to be blunt, in the past I have never had good experiences with home-schooled peers. Don't color me ugly, but most of the time they aren't very proficient at socializing. It almost reminds me of teenagers nowadays whom can't communicate any other way than on the Internet. They just aren't used to being around people everyday.

So as one could expect, I was a bit hesitant going to this assignment optimistic.

When I got there, I had trouble finding the field, but among the thick, knee high grass and rolling hills laid the pitch. About a quarter mile away. In the rain. And up hill in both directions. OK, maybe not that last part. Either way, still wasn't going they way I had wished.

As the practice started, I noticed that the students weren't seeking attention. They weren't posing and they truly acted like I wasn't there, which in turn made things easier for me.

Typically kids and teenagers, especially high school athletes, want to pose and stare into my lens. Hawking my each and every move which makes a photojournalists job a living nightmare. They want to be famous and portrayed as glamorous.

But when I could get right into their huddle without 50 pairs of eyes gawking into my wide-angle lens, I felt I was getting their true personalities.

I was there probably about an hour, making features of them in huddles, making tackles and trash-talking to one another, not to mention, the David Tyree catch. Aside from the rain and running back and forth to my car to get a work out get my rain gear, I had a good shoot.

After transmitting in my car, soaking wet, I realized that I shouldn't judge a book by its cover. No, that doesn't sound right for this circumstance. What I mean is, I shouldn't judge a book by my last critique of it. I need to remember to be open and take life for as it is and also to search a bit harder for those stories that inhabit my local town.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad used to speak at Beechmont during summers while I was in high school, that place is great. Used to hoop it up and wander around the wilderness, got my first introduction to B-More on those days.

Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:06:00 PM  

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