george-lange-photographer-pittsburgh-dic

GIRL'S WRESTLING

DICK'S SPORTING GOODS

I had an amazing meeting with the brand director at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He had been thinking about a pet project for several years on the Emotional Side of Youth Sports and said he wanted to unleash me on the mission.  The idea was to photograph the Emotional Side of Youth Sports. He wanted me to capture what youth sports FELT like.

 

The assignment was to document the loud moments and the quiet ones; the emotions that accompany successes AND failures; the obsession with gear and the rituals that accompany it; the inside of packed cars and motel rooms when a team is on the road.  I was to explore the moments we often see but rarely document - packing up gear and unloading cars, the subculture on the bench and in the dugouts, all that happens before the first pitch or taking off your cleats. Often these are the small moments that reveal the greatest passion.

 

I went to Oklahoma to shoot a female wrestling competition. There, I photographed girls with brown paper towels stuffed up their noses to stop the bleeding. I photographed grit, strength, and guts. I photographed tears of pain and tears of joy.  Dieting like crazies to make weight. Collapsing in exhaustion and pain. There was also glory - both in defeat and in being the best.  It was all there in that room.

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