I photographed the Lady Dawgs softball team of Fayetteville High school last week as they took on Rogers Heritage, a high school from a neighboring town. The time was late in the day, around 5:00 in the afternoon, and the sunlight streaming down from the clear blue sky cast long shadows along the ball field. It's that late-in-the-day time that makes these games so relaxing to shoot. There's a laziness and a peacefulness to this sport that you really just can't find during a basketball game or a football game. There's time to catch your breath and relax and really watch the game and the spectators in the stands.
There's a slowness to the sport, not all the time, but in between the batters and the innings, you can watch as the umpire dusts off home plate, the girls out in the infield throwing balls to one another, you can listen to the chatter in the dugout. There are the little children running around in the grassy field behind you playing their own made up games as the voices of the adults float softly over to you in the breezes. The raucousness of the crowds at the more popular sports, the fans and marching bands of Friday night football games and basketball games, is toned down to a more tolerable level of cheering when base hits and home runs are made.
The pitchers fascinate me during softball games. It's as though their arms are gigantic wind up mechanisms that spin round and round until you're never really quite sure when they will release that yellow ball. I took far too many pictures of our girl, but to see her intensity and her skill was too much for me to pass up.
Our girls sadly wound up losing to Rogers, which nobody (at least in Fayetteville) likes to see. But The Girls of Spring have a few more games left in the season to redeem themselves and if they play as hard as they did during this particular game, I'm sure they will succeed.
And I will try to be there as much as I can cheering them on.