Button at a recent soccer game.
I recently went to watch my Niece play soccer. On Saturday mornings girls ages 4-5 gather behind a local school in shirts that are far too big for them, and play/learn to play a team sport. Together.
It’s pretty great!
I loved watching it because I am not only partial to the sport of soccer, but also to places that teach girls and women to work together. Places that teach them to celebrate being strong. These places weren’t really available when I was young. I didn’t join a soccer team until I was in 8th grade. I tried playing tee ball when I was young, but it was a team of mostly boys. I took one ball to the face and that was it for me. I never wanted to go back.
Soccer was different, though. I mean, there is kicking and running and contact involved! What’s not to like about that?
Now, as an adult I want more opportunities for every young girl, whether she is my niece or the daughter of one of my closest friends or someone I have never even met.
Playing roller derby for the last 5 years has given me a community of strong females (and a few males), a place to be competitive and have fun at the same time. A place those of us in my age bracket never had as children. Watching my niece play soccer, running her heart out with her team and against her friends, and watching how GOOD some of them were already was a pretty cool thing to witness. I had my camera with me so I captured a few (perfectly imperfect) moments.. between cheering her on and cringing when she was a little aggressive with some pushing.
I don’t know the girl on the left, but I love that she leaned in and smiled.
Clenched fist. Ready to…something
Are you familiar with a photographer named Christine Rose, who came up with the hashtag #sheplayswewin? It’s one of my favorite hashtags right now because it’s all about celebrating and empowering young girls. It’s something I look at every so often as a source of inspiration, both as a photographer and an athlete. If you want to know more about it, there’s a video here
Oh, and this image I love of Button and her neighbor/good friend after the game was over. On this day they were competitors until the final whistle blew when they high fived and laughed and plotted hitting the playground together…
Button and Paigey. Feisty pals xo