If you have read parts one and two, you not only now know why I love game day, you also have a better idea of the basic process I work through as a sport photographer for a single event. For part three, I want you to understand my deep motivation when it comes to covering women's sport.
As a female athlete, it hasn’t always been easy. My first years in sports were happily spent on soccer fields where boys and girls played together. I played in my neighborhood with mostly boys where baseball, football and kickball ruled the day. It was fun. As I got older, I realized that people treat you differently as a girl. Instead of just being a player, you were "a girl player" or "that girl" on the boys team. While this didn't usually bother me as I held my own and had lots of fun; over the years, I started to resent this difference. As I got older, opportunities for women in sports were just less than men. Pro sports were reserved for men.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I am happy to have seen some remarkable changes through the opportunities that are made available to women in sport today. While this progress is good, I do think there is still a long way to go for women to have the kind of exposure that helps grow audiences and allows young girls to see themselves in the shoes of amazing and successful mentors.
It’s because of this that I leave home most Friday nights and make the 25 minute drive to Cambridge from Waterloo to cover the Cambridge Rivulettes women’s hockey team. The Rivulettes are one of many teams in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL). The PWHL is a great league of amazing female athletes and not enough people are aware of it. The girls who play for the Rivulettes work hard every week preparing for games and competing. Their games are free and yet many seats go unfilled. Given the level of play, this is unfortunate.
Through my photography, I want to help raise awareness and get more young girls to see for themselves how they can grow into strong women and talented athletes. I also want to help local businesses see the huge opportunity there is in supporting the amazing elite level hockey played in our own backyard.
The opportunity to directly connect to this passionate community of athletes, their family and friends, and their supporters has the potential to not only improve a company’s bottom line, but improve the sense of connectedness in the local community that surrounds the team. By investing my time and skills into photographing these talented hockey players, I am actively telling the girls their efforts to be their best on and off the ice counts and is important. The pictures I take also have the potential to have a real impact on their future and maybe even on their future children and grandchildren who will grow up with strong role models.
My opportunity to share my pictures beyond my own network comes through sharing my photos with amazing digital media organizations like 519 Sports Online and SeeWhatSheCanDo that are focused on celebrating local sport. Our amazing local online news source 519 Sports Online gets the game highlights out to their growing audience. SeeWhatSheCanDo celebrates and highlights women’s achievements in sport using their digital platform.
If you find yourself with a chance to support a local girls or women’s team, take it. If you want to watch some great hockey, head to Cambridge on Friday night and I hope to see you there!
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