Change of Pace

It's the little things

By Holly Vanorse Spicer | Aug 04, 2017
Holly Vanorse Spicer

I just wrapped my eighth year in the Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports department, and already have checked off the first few weeks of the start of year nine.

In that nearly decade, I can dare say that I have probably taken thousands of photos. If you lined up every event I have covered, it probably would be enough to have something marked on every day of the calendar for more than a year.

From Thorndike and Searsport, down to Waldoboro and Warren, there isn't a school that I haven't been in or at, or a field I haven't stood on taking it all in.

The tears of losses. The loud cheers of success. Personal triumphs of a young athlete. Game-winning basketball shots, goals, or home runs. Watching teams come together over a season. Individual players grow as athletes in their sport. Seeing friendships blossom between teammates. Watching rivalries develop. Or seeing that kid from peewee, back when I first started, playing out their last year of sports before graduation.

Over the course of the nearly decade I've spent behind the lens covering athletes of all ages from the area, there's been a particular event that's taken a place in my heart.

I know, I know, but you're not supposed to have favorites.

But I just can't help it. The atmosphere, the athletes from young to old, the spectators, it's all just something else at this event.

I've covered the Special Olympics of bowling and track and field many times. The track event is the one in particular that I've come to enjoy the most.

The variety of events from the runs, jumps, throwing events to test the mettle of the determined, hearty athletes. The community that comes together to cheer them on. Their fellow peers who stand on the sidelines with signs of support. The young adults of this community who help guide them through their tasks at hand for each event.

The competitive spirits that also never hesitate to cheer on the same person they're trying to out run, out jump or out shot put.

It's so incredibly uplifting to just be there, witnessing it all.

And when I'm done, I never feel like I've gotten enough photos to do justice to the event and those there.

This year, in May, despite the gloomy gray sky overhead, the track meet at Wasgatt Field on Thomaston Street in Rockland certainly was no less fun to be a part of.

Popping around between events, doing my photo-taking thing, I happened to notice a young girl staring my way. While the next group of runners I stood near set up to race, I looked over. When she smiled, I smiled back. Then she lifted a hand and waved. Naturally, I waved back.

The runners lined up, the person who manned the event shouted, "GO!", and off the runners went.

Snapping my photos of a pretty heated competition between two of the runners, I panned my camera along to follow them and happened to see the young girl I had just waved to talking very excitedly to an adult near her.

Those runners finished, and the event took a break between setup for the next group, so I ducked off to make a round of all the other events as I typically do.

While standing at the next event, the softball throw, the adult that was with the young girl approached me and introduced herself as the young girl's helper. What she said next, will stick with me.

She told me that the young girl was friendly, always waving or saying "hi" to those she passed. Almost never did anyone respond back to her with any type of acknowledgement. That I waved to her, certainly had made her day.

As the mother of a toddler, knowing how he often loves to "say hi to everybody" as he tells me, I know how it feels to see their little face fall when their greeting goes unnoticed or without response.

I grew up in a large family with cousins all over, so young children and babies have always been a part of my life in one way or another. I didn't realize, until having my own child, how very few people actually even smile in the direction of a child that has waved or greeted them with an excited "hi!"

Shyly, the young girl stepped around her helper and I knelt down. I asked her if she wanted to see photos I had taken of her in her own running group. Peering down at the small screen of my camera at herself, she grinned widely and told me she looked like she was running really fast.

I then asked her if she wanted to try to take a photo with my camera, telling her I'd help her. With an excited yes, I helped her hold the heavy camera while she pointed it at one of her fellow athletes and pressed the shutter button, firing off a few rapid shots.

The small child and her helper needed to move on to their next event, and I needed to keep making my rounds, trying to get shots of other participants.

But for a moment, I stood and watched them walk away. I probably looked a little silly standing there with a big smile on my face, but I couldn't help it.

The interaction that just took place, made my day probably just as much as it had made hers.

Even with the hundreds of other events I've covered, and probably hundreds more I will be part of over my career, it's the one that I will always carry with me and never forget.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Thomas Quinn | Aug 06, 2017 07:40

Holly - a well written "from the heart" article.  Keep up the good work.  Your article is something we all need to remember and think about.

 



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