These are the moments you’ll never want to forget, right? That’s why you’ll want to buy a photograph of your youngster, wearing a screen-printed T-shirt with other girls her age wearing their same colored T-shirts, smiling for the camera.
You’ll cherish this moment forever … or at least until your next team picture.
Saturday was picture day for my second-grader’s basketball team. The “Green Goblins,” as they decided they’d call themselves because they were assigned green shirts, were in three perfect rows by height. As their much-taller coach, I knelt down beside them, plastered a grin on my face and waited for the photographer’s click.
I do genuinely enjoy working with children. In my effort to get the most out of their rapidly changing athletic abilities, they get a lot of silliness out of me, like having to show each girl how much more room they take up when they have their hands straight up in the air to try to discourage a shot. Do I really need a picture to prove I was there?
I suppose I’m a bit cynical about picture days in general. They feel a bit like the Hallmark holidays, like an athletic memorabilia version of Sweetest Day. No one could ever remember that you hit the gym for 10 Saturdays one winter if you didn’t have a team picture to prove it, right?
Perhaps it’s because we’re going through our fourth daughter. We already have a healthy pile of pictures, of volleyball, basketball and softball teams, school classes and dance groups. They’re all in a folder in my office, in case we need to reference them someday. That day hasn’t arrived yet.
We have a corkboard full of buttons to cheer on our athletes, too. Nearly every photographer gives you the ability to show your love for one particular player by wearing her image on your shirt or jacket these days. It took us a few years, but we finally realized if the photographs are too late in the season, you won’t even get your button back until the final games. Still, there they are, visual proof of our kids’ growth from one season to the next and one year to the next.
I’m an unrepentant cheapskate too, more practical than makes sense sometimes. That feeds into my non-nostalgia. There is no utility to looking back through old pictures, especially when you could take one yourself for free with your phone these days. I don’t need an image on a statuette, a photo keychain or a photo bag tag.
And really, whoever takes the time to flip back through old pictures, unless you’re looking at your Facebook memories from five or 10 years ago? I don’t remember the last time I ever saw my team pictures from high school, but I suspect it was the last time I moved as I put them into a box.
So for all these reasons I don’t like buying team pictures, you might wonder why we buy them at all.
That’s the unapologetic happy face of a child when she sees the picture for the first time. I know my 8-year-old will examine that picture when we receive it for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, looking at each girl’s face and recalling fond memories of her. When you ask her what she’s doing, she’ll simply respond, “Looking at my team.”
It’s her team, and I should let her enjoy that for as long as she’d like.
David Trinko is editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.