I'm not a sports photographer. No, really - I'm seriously not. Rather, an architectural/industrial photographer by training - who then kind of branched out to other commercial/advertising/editorial work, which also happens to include sports.
And I'm not even a soccer mom. A horse show mom, maybe - my kid (sort of) is a professional equestrian and never played soccer in her life. And neither did I; I spent middle school, high school, and college with the gymnastics team. If I ever kicked a soccer ball, it was just to send it back to its rightful owner.
So if you saw me work at every Houston Dash game and wondered - what in Heaven's name is she doing here? well, yes, it's a reasonable question to ask. And the short answer is - I do care about having a new women soccer team in town, because Houston NEEDS this team.
The city needs good role models, athletes who go out in the community and inspire our youth to be more and do more.
We need someone to show our kids how important it is to take care of their health and nutrition and be mindful about their food. Our area has one of the highest adult and pediatric obesity rates in the country. Having local athletes support healthy nutrition helps our local youth develop healthier eating habits.
We need someone to show our kids the importance of being physically active and fit, so they can learn to organize their day, spend time outdoors, and spend time interacting with others in real life, rather than in front of the TV or video-games. Training camps and other opportunities for youth to interact with athletes will go a long way in encouraging an active lifestyle.
We need someone to show our kids that gratitude is a daily practice, and make sure they learn to acknowledge the efforts of those who give and allow all of us to live in freedom and do what we love. Much like the local MLS team Houston Dynamo, the Dash players have shown great support for the Military and local rescue/emergency services, fostering many initiatives to give back to those who keep us all safe.
And above all this - we need someone to tell our kids to dream big and go for it with everything they have. And that not everyone gets a trophy, and we really have to give our best and want to win and be part of something bigger. We need someone to tell our kids that from the moment when you step on the field, your eyes should be set on the big goals: making it to a major league, the national team, the Olympics, the World Cup. Dream big. Because the world is full of people that will expect you to settle for mediocrity, and it's up to you to disagree and prove them wrong.
We need someone to show our kids how to be healthy, and do what they love, and dream big - and the Dash ladies are doing exactly this: they are always out there, working with the community to make Houston a better place.
Thank you Houston Dash.