Never in a million years would I have thought that I would spend almost every evening of my week coming back to West to take photos of various sporting events.
One day sophomore year, I decided to try something new and cover a sporting event for newspaper, so I did just that, and it ended up changing my life. I finally found my passion.
The thing I’ll miss most about West and all of its glory are the shenanigans Westflix and the Golden Standard caused. I’ll remember freezing my hands off at nearly every football game past Sept. 1, getting sunburned (even after I put on sunblock) at every track and field meet and having a gnarly sock tanline. Going out to eat after games and slowly falling asleep into my burrito because I had the ACT the next morning and of course and of course driving across Iowa to attend all kinds of sporting events.
Now for some more personal memories I’ll never forget: waking up at the crack of dawn to head up to Fort Dodge for state cross country. Driving to Des Moines for the Drake Relays and experiencing all of the seasons within a three day span. Missing school for all of the state basketball games and the state track and field meet. Coming home after the state swimming meet with an allergic reaction on my legs from the chlorine. The countless officials I’ve asked, “Do you know if I can stand here?” The officials I’ve seen at almost all of the track meets I’ve covered and that go out of their way to come over and say hi to me. Getting lost at Drake Stadium… every year. Grabbing a sword to spread peanut butter on my sandwich… Tracking momming it at all of the meets with my fellow track moms. And most importantly, meeting all of the amazing professional photographers I’ve spent hours next to.
My best memories from high school have been from sporting events. So, I would like to thank the hooligans I have spent my time with on the sidelines. It was something I truly looked forward to every week. Thank you for making me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe, always asking me what is going on during the game, bugging me with a constant stream of chatter and for always being there for a good rant time. I will never forget the hours we’ve spent on the sidelines together. I cannot thank y’all enough.
Jeff Yoder, I am so lucky to have met you. You have pushed me to become a better photographer with the beautiful images you create and I am grateful for that. Thank you for always saying hi to me at sporting events and for always answering my questions.
JR Ogden, thank you for also supporting me. I will remember the week last summer we spent together in the blazing Iowa heat as we hiked around Iowa’s campus. Thank you for posting my work and making me feel more confident as a journalist.
And to my family for always being there for me. Specifically my parents for supporting all of my endeavors and helping me financially substance my passion. Thank you.
I would also like to thank Craig Huegel and Brianna Dusterhoft for putting up with us for the past three years. I’m grateful that you guys have supported student journalism and us with all of our crazy ideas, printing us passes to state games, unlocking doors/gates for us and answering all of our questions. I’ll miss my hikes down to your offices.
My last thank you goes to the athletes; thank you all for being so dedicated to your sport. I have enjoyed watching everyone grow throughout the years. I have enjoyed every second of photographing your games and meets.
So thank you, West High athletics, for never failing to bring a smile to my face. You will be missed, and my weekdays will be a bit barren without any events next year.
With love, Kara Wagenknecht