Will McDonough Writing Contest Honorable Mention: Emma Shay-Tannas

Mazal tov to our Middle Division students on their accomplishments in the Will McDonough Sports Writing Contest:
The Will McDonough Writing Contest, named in honor of the legendary Boston Globe sportswriter, takes place every year. This year, over 900 students from across New England participated in the contest. The winners are chosen by Globe Sports Editor, Joe Sullivan.

Emma Shay-Tannas, Grade 6
Solomon Schechter Day School, Newton

                                         Behind the Goal

                    (creating a life changing experience from poor sportsmanship)

“The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to untruth.” –Harold Evans

The photographer who takes the photo chooses what side of the story he portrays. Photos can often be misleading. The photographer will not be able to portray all angles of the story in one photo because one photo cannot be shot from all angles. An honest person will try to take the photo from the most truthful angle.

I have never accomplished this. I’ve never even tried. I don’t exactly want to show the truth because I’d rather convince myself of lies than face the facts. The fact is I’ve always dreamt of being a professional soccer goalie, but I knew this was an impossible dream. I was never fast, I have never had good reflexes, and I have bad coordination. No matter how little talent I had in soccer, I always tried out for the school team. Every time I tried out, I would get glares from my classmates who would laugh at the way I kicked the ball and when we ran to warm up,  would make me run alone. The more they isolated me, the more they treated me like I was nothing, the more I wanted to play, and the more I wanted to prove them wrong.

Every game I would ask to be the goalie, but the coach always said no. I went to every game in the season, always ready to play, but sadly I was never in a game for more than a few minutes.  Then, one day I got sick of waiting on the bench, so I brought my Nikon camera to the game. After I played my few minutes, I got up, picked up my camera and started walking along the sidelines of the field. I didn’t stop walking when I saw the players staring at me, some starting to whisper to one another; I didn’t care. They had already drained the joy of playing soccer out of me. I would not let them take the joy of taking pictures from me. I just pretended they weren’t there.  I saw no one but me, my camera, the ball, and the goal. When I got right behind the goal, I had a realization. When placed behind the net, and while facing the camera to the game, the pictures look as if I were the goalie myself. I had finally found a way to pursue soccer without even playing.

The day after, I asked the coach if rather than playing in the game, I could take photos instead,  and he happily agreed. After that, I became the official photographer for the team. I would take pictures of every person on the team during practices and games. Instead of  the team berating me for taking photos, they were amazed at how I captured them. I had turned years of bad sportsmanship from my teammates into mutual friendships. Several of my photos won awards including the first one I took behind the goal.

                  “When God closes a door he opens a window”  Malachi 3:10

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