Back in March, I was nominated by FNF Magazine for the Florida High School football photographer of the year with this photo:
I was so honored just to be nominated, but I didn’t think I even had a chance to win. During the voting period, there were so many people I didn’t even know that said they voted for me! I was humbled and honored! On April 15th, I stayed up until after midnight to see that I actually did win. How amazing is that? The magazine contacted me and said they were going to do a write-up about me in the magazine. It was a perfect time for me to reflect on my sideline journey….
In the summer of 2011, Oshay Carter (Now a TSU starting quarterback :)) contacted me and asked me if I would come to his new school to take pictures during his games. My one request was that he got permission for me to be on the sidelines with full access. He did, so that is where my football photography on the sidelines at Trinity Christian began. It’s funny when I look back, because my pictures were a bit lacking…..
Here’s a great example: Circa 2011
Back then, I realized that football photography was VERY different, so I had to not only tweak every setting in my camera, but I also had to purchase better equipment.
Over the years, my football photography got better, and I really started enjoying being on the sidelines and getting to know the boys. Eventually, I started calling myself a “coach” of sorts… because I realized that just as much as I loved being out there, I also loved making a positive impact on the players. You see, EVERY player LOVES pictures of themselves on the field… So, I at least had a little pull. I started to expect respect, appreciation and good behavior. If I noticed an issue with attitude during the game, or during the week prior on social media or something, I would say something. There are many boys I pulled aside to ask why they did or said something, or asked why they had a bad attitude on the field… even why they had the “I’m all that” Attitude. I even mentioned a few in the FNF article. I get it, some of the players have AMAZING God-given talent. But, you see, all it takes is one hit. One hit, and their football dreams could be over. So, I always ask the boys, “Who are you playing for?” If you’re out on the field keeping God first and staying humble, you will succeed at whatever God has planned for your life. But, if you’re on the field gloating or acting like you’re a baller, I am the first NOT surprised when you get the beat down. I also started a tradition of having a senior dinner for the boys that would be heading off to college to play football. I even invite some of the Jaguar players I know to also give advice to the boys. We always end with the “Sarah talk” where I break it down about girls, partying, making good decisions, social media and to watch out who they hang around once at school. It’s called “guilty by association”…
I’ve stayed close to many of the Trinity players now shining in college football. I genuinely love them and pray for their health and success. I also expect them to get their degree. Some of their scholarships are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and there are many kids that would dream to have that opportunity. God First, School second and Football third. I know, I know, how crazy of me. But again, it’s ONE HIT… that’s all it takes.
Since I am now a full-time photographer, I am much busier and only have a few Fridays available to be on the sidelines this season. So, I’ve decided to offer a bonus if any 2017 Senior books me for their senior pictures this summer! We will get some awesome senior pictures, and I will also attend one of their games to get sideline shots this fall. It’s a Win-Win. So far, I’m excited to say that I will be attending the Trinity Christian home Game on Sept 9th because of Logan Gunderson using me for his senior pictures. I’m also set to attend the University Christian home game on Sept 30th because of the Awesome Wilcox twins using me for their senior pictures. If you want ME on YOUR sidelines, check out my SENIOR page for more info!
The FNF magazine article isn’t available digitally yet, so here it is if you’d like to read it! Better yet, go to any magazine retailer and buy one! 🙂