There are not many better segues than going from shooting the world's largest sporting event, the Indianapolis 500, to a tiny soap box derby race held for underprivileged youth. In a city known as "The Capital of Racing," I'm not even sure why I'm surprised.
The 15th Annual Mayor's Cup is a small event, featuring *maybe* 25 youth racers. The race is begun with celebrity rounds, where the Mayor of Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett, and others including firemen, policemen, and former soapbox racers themselves, slide into tiny soapbox derby cars and roll down the hill. The kids, stationed at the finish line, cheer loudly for their elders.
But after a few celebrity races, it's the kids' turn. They wipe down their cars, replace the wheels, and trek up the hill for the start. They roll their cars into the starting blocks, tuck themselves into tiny derby cars, and wait to hear a start. Then, off they go.
For some kids, this gets them out of a bad neighborhood for a few hours. For some kids, it becomes their life - going on to win world soapbox derby championships and the like.
I love big events, the energy is high and the crowds are always exciting. But there is something so innocent and raw about photographing sports at the youth level. Photographing sports at the youth level - the looks on all of their faces, the tears and frustration, and the sportsmanship that some youngsters show - helps me better understand where to look to find those raw, innocent moments at the college and professional levels.