Over the years, I’ve created many sports albums and other team keepsakes, such as calendars. Sports have always been a big part of our family’s life. My husband and I are lifelong runners, and our kids have all played soccer from a young age. I enjoy sports photography so I’ve been shooting my children and their teammates in action since preschool. I love watching my kids look back through old sports albums with friends and seeing how they’ve grown through the years! One of my daughter’s friends mentioned to me today that she still looks at her book that I made years ago for their team! If your photos sit on a computer, you simply don’t enjoy them the same way.
Our children have many good memories from playing with their teams, not to mention the many life lessons that they’ve learned along the way. I find that team albums (as well as other keepsakes) are a great way to capture those memories. Here are some tips on what to include.
Be inclusive It goes without saying but photos of everyone on the team should be included, whether they want a copy of the album or not. There is no I in Team. And don’t forget about the coach! Even if they don’t have a child on the team, consider giving the coach a copy of the book as part of their end-of-the-season gift. They have generously volunteered their time and spent many hours working with the team. It’s a nice gesture to acknowledge that. You may want to consider asking the coach if they’d like to write a letter to the team. My oldest son played soccer on the same team for many years, with the same coach. Because there was very little turnover, the team almost became like a soccer family. I know this coach was thrilled to have a remembrance of the seasons and wrote many letters to the boys that I included in their books.
Expand beyond action shots Action shots are obviously the mainstay of a sports album, but don’t forget to include the emotions and the camaraderie. Capture the little celebrations on the field, cheering from the bench, and the high fives on the field…they’re a big part of team spirit. When the coach is giving a pep talk on the sidelines or the team is huddled up in a circle, those are great shots to take too. You might even want to consider including practice or the end of the season party. Do you have memorabilia that you’d like to include like a sports program or newspaper article? You can scan things like this and include them as well. And of course, don’t forget to get a team shot!
Consider using quotes Team sports are all about life lessons and teachable moments. Quotes in general are thought-provoking, and evoke emotions, especially when paired with a story or picture. I’ve always tried to include quotes with appropriate groupings of pictures. Just don’t overdo it…you don’t need a quote on every page.
Include the season highlights It’s not necessary to include the season record, although you certainly can if you want to. The most important thing about youth sports is not the win-loss record, but rather the life lessons: sportsmanship, responsibility, and of course friendships! What were the highlights of your season? Maybe it’s that you won the state championship, or maybe it’s that the team really learned how to work together. Maybe they overcame some adversity. Maybe they simply had a lot of fun learning a new sport. Whatever it is, bring attention to those highlights. That is the real story of your season…and what will make it most memorable!