One thing that comes to mind when you think about sports in general is family. By family I mean your brothers and sisters on the field (or court) of play. The last couple of years I have spent a good deal of time observing the High School football program in Woodford County, lead by Dennis Johnson. After all, that is what a photographer does right? Sits back, like a fly on the wall and captures moments that are fleeting or that others will never see sitting in the stands. When you cover a team for a while you get a sense of how things run, how attitudes are, how much a staff and its players care about the goal.

The goal of any sports team is not just winning. Sure, you want to take all that hard work and produce but anyone who has played sports knows it’s about more that just a win. Someone once told me, “Anything worth having isn’t easy”. You might think a particular sport is easy but the only thing fans or loved ones see are the results, the final product of hard work on the field; or at least the journey. Sure, parents or loved ones drop you at practice and games but the athlete is the one experiencing what it takes to get better. The blood, sweat and tears that go into trying to get better, fighting for that position on the field or court that they have been dreaming about. Sports build strong minded individuals, people you can count on, those that will pick you up off the ground and have your back. Ones that will be there in victory and in defeat, your brothers and sisters. 

This year I’ve been fortunate to work with the youth and middle school football programs. In being involved, I get the see the football family as a whole in Woodford County. If there is one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that there are a ton of good people involved. I see a lot of the same faces around each of these age levels and even if I meet new folks, they all seem to have the same mentality as the top. Teach kids the right way, hold them accountable. Get on them when needed and pick them up when things aren’t going their way. I always see a coach from the high school floating around the sidelines at middle school games. Coach Johnson has been at all the homes games this season in some capacity; watching, coaching, but mostly observing. Assistant coaches stop in, high school players roam the sidelines…it’s one big family all in support of each other. It means a lot to younger kids when they see the starting QB of the High School team on their sideline or High School coaches watching...believe me, they take notice. 

In life, most anyone will tell you, family are those who will always be there for you. Family doesn’t have to be blood but rather those who are in your corner through it all. Snapping pictures sure doesn’t make me anything other than a guy who does such, but I can see and feel the bond these programs have. I see the accountability, expectation and determination to build something special. They are molding young men, ones you’d want to have on your team in the game of life. Hats off to those coaches and others who invest so much time into our kids to not only make them better athletes, but more importantly, better individuals. 

Here are a few shots of coaches across the Middle and High School programs.