Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Little Victories in the Game of Life

by Kelly

My husband and I went to the University of Oklahoma football game this past weekend.

We've had season tickets for the past several years.  But if to be perfectly honest, my favorite part about going to the games has little to do with the actual game of football.  Rather, it is a toss-up between the flowers....right now the campus is beautifully dotted with mums in shades of crimson and cream (naturally).

And the my other favorite thing about the football games is watching the band.

What can I say - once a band geek, always a band geek.

My husband though...well that's a different story altogether.  Because Tripp loves the game of football and most especially, OU football.

The University of Oklahoma is a proud family legacy for Tripp and he's been going to OU football games as long as he can remember.  Tripp is Sooner born and Sooner bred - I swear the man bleeds crimson and cream - and watching a football game with him is always a learning experience for me.

Now I've watched enough football in my lifetime to understand the basic rules of the game.  But Tripp takes watching a game to a whole new level.  Even before the first kickoff, Tripp is already watching the players as they warm up.  He's looking to see who's injured and/or who hasn't suited up...already he's making mental notes. And then each time the players line up at the line of scrimmage, Tripp is paying keen attention to the formations.  He is analyzing the possible plays and coverage based on the players on the field.  He's looking for mismatches between the offensive and defensive packages.

Like most spectators, once the ball is snapped, I started watching to see where it winds up.  But not Tripp - he's watching the play unfold across the entire field.  He's looking to see if the running backs and receivers are blocking or running their routes. He's watching the defenders to see if they are rushing or hanging back.

I swear it's like he's watching a different game.  

Like I said, I'm no stranger to football, but I've never paid attention to all of the subtle details of the game.  Maybe it's because I've never actually played football or had a son who played football.  Or perhaps - and much more likely - I've never really been all that interested in the ins and outs of football to begin with.  But sitting next to Tripp at football games for all these years, and listening to him explain things to me, it's an entirely new experience.  And I enjoy watching the game through his eyes and learning see things in a new way.

I was thinking about this on the drive home Saturday....how paying attention to subtle details and seeing things differently can have a positive impact on a person's overall enjoyment of an activity. But I don't think this concept applies only to sports - I think it applies to life as well.

As photographers, I think we have a gift when it comes to paying attention.  As we continually hone our visual skills, we become more adept at noticing shapes, and lines, and textures, and patterns.

Through practice, we learn to notice subtle details.  We watch how the light moves through our homes and gardens....we see the sign of things to come.  We anticipate the change of seasons and notice the subtle signs of change often before anyone else does.

But I will go out on a limb here to say that as photographers we're not 'in it to win it'.  There's no scoreboard with winners and losers.  There's no big trophy waiting on us at the end of a winning season.

Instead, what we're gaining from all of this practice and observation is mindfulness.  Peace of mind when life feels overwhelming.  Calmness in the face of a never-ending to-do list.   Perspective on difficult days.

I would suggest that these are the triumphs - large and small - that we celebrate by paying attention and learning to see.  And I believe these simple joys are sweetest victories of all.

Until next time,



terriporter said...

I am not a football fan, or at least not since my son stopped playing, but I watched it the same way you did -- where's the ball and who has it and where is it going next -- not the subtleties of the game. I really think the ability to do that is in men's genes! But you are so right about photography having a way of making you notice things that other people just walk by and how it can take us out of ourselves. I love that!

Dotti said...

It's a guy thing, this ability to analyze and anticipate every play. To my heart and mind, winning life's victories, with or without our cameras, is infinitely more important and with more long term benefit. Wonderful photos to capture the essence of big school football and early fall.

Carrie Bump said...

Love the post Kelly!

heyjudephotography said...

Yes, Kelly, mindfulness and peace of mind. Two things that my photography brings to me. I've always said that my photography is my meditation. Paying attention to all those beautiful little details of life bring me calm. Love the accompanying photos too!

Renuko Style said...

Your last two lines say it perfectly...and say it all!

kelly said...

thank you sweet friends for your kind words! very happy to be on the same 'team' with you. :) xoxo

Deanna said...

My husband was a football referee for almost 20 years. He loved the sport, loved being with the kids. When summer began he would say."almost football season." Drove me crazy sometimes. He knew the ins and outs and little details of the entire game (he had to). His mind was totally focused which is exactly what we, as photographers do. Knowing the ins and outs, paying attention to the details of life, perfect comparison. Loved this post, Kelly and such beautiful images!!

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