A Family of Lynxes

By Carrie Thornton

Soccer has occupied a substantial part of my life for the past fourteen years. Both of my sisters and I started playing soccer at young ages, and my parents were quickly pulled into the game. So we are definitely a soccer family, and I can truly say that soccer is my first love. When Professor Post-Rust suggested that I photograph a topic about which I am passionate, soccer immediately sprang to mind. I also learned that soccer is the fastest growing sport in the south, which opened up the alley for me to explore how certain southern values are reflected in a typical soccer team in this area. As an experienced player, I hoped to be able to identify and capture the key moments in the life of a soccer player on and off the field.

One thing that stuck out to me in doing this project was how little the times have changed since I was in middle school. All those years ago, I was faced with the same task of balancing school, academic, church, and other social endeavors that the boys on the Lakewood team are currently navigating. A new level of responsibility accompanies the transition to middle school, and it can be difficult to lead a well-balanced life. I could relate to this aspect, which allowed me to understand the role that the soccer team plays in other areas of a middle school life. Growing up in Virginia Beach, which is kind of in the south, I moved around from team to team for years until around the age of fourteen when I stayed with until I graduated from high school. As I noticed with the Lakewood boys, sports teams often begin to feel like a second, tightknit community or family. Sure, I was closer to certain teammates than I was to others, but in the end, our success with the game depended on us having each other’s backs and working well together on the field. Some of my fondest middle school memories involve things that I experienced with my teammates. Doing this project reminded me of these memories and also of how much I have missed regularly participating in soccer since matriculating to college.

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