You might say I was late to social media. In fact, in 2013 when I finally broke down and logged on to Facebook for the first time, there were already an estimated 700 million daily users. I guess that would classify as late.
During most of the year, I don’t spend a lot of time of social media. With a busy work and family schedule, it just isn’t a priority. Funny enough, I do get a lot of great soccer articles fed to me on facebook…yeah, I’m on facebook for the articles.
With that in mind, I often cringe when I see some of my posts, especially the countless selfies I have taken over the years. And that is where Austin Meyer comes into this story. Blame him…Austin taught me how to take a selfie.
I looked for the photo but couldn’t find it and I can’t even remember the exact date. My best guess is June 2013 when the San Jose Earthquakes hosted LA Galaxy in the California Clásico at Stanford University. At the time, Austin was a student at Stanford University and playing for the men’s soccer team. Austin grew up in Santa Rosa and played for my brothers Benjamin and Marcus for Santa Rosa United Soccer Club. Although I didn’t ever coach him, I was the director of the the SRU club in his early years so I followed his career and reached out to him when we were on campus.
I was at the game with my daughter Sally and one of her teammates and we connected with Austin before the game. I suggested we get a photo to send to my brothers. Keep in mind, this was before the iphone had the selfie button, so my thought was to take a photo of the three of them, when Austin suggested we take a “selfie” and turned the camera around and snapped a photo of all of us. It didn’t seem like much at the time, but a few thousand selfies later and it was a game changer to the point where all phones have a built in selfie view.
Austin would go on to finish a stellar soccer career at Stanford University including scoring the game-winning goal to clinch the Pac -12 championship. He would also earn his B.A.(creative writing) and M.A. (journalism) before becoming a documentary filmmaker, photographer, and podcaster, with his works published by National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, POLITICO, and Slate among others. Austin is also the host of The Austin Meyer Podcast, a show in which he interviews the world’s best storytellers in all genres about how they craft the stories they tell. I’m blown away by his work and would encourage you to visit his webpage at http://austinmeyerfilms.com/
While Austin is doing great work, I just continue to take selfies like they are going out of style. Full disclosure, I often cringe when I see the photos (especially selfies), but I also get a good chuckle as I don’t take myself too seriously. I don’t try to take the perfect selfie and I have never used a selfie stick. Having said that, in context, the selfie has been a great way to chronicle some of my adventures and experiences, whether with my family, friends or alone. Especially when I’m alone. I often travel with teams or groups and love to insert myself into the photo for a good laugh. When I’m alone, it is often the only way to quickly get a photo without asking someone to take it.
Some may say damn you Austin Meyer, but I say thank you!
With that in mind, here are a few of my favorites from the 2019 Women’s World Cup…I took a lot! For many of them, inserting myself into the photo changes it (for better or for worse). For example, if I wanted a picture of legendary US Women’s National team player April Heinrichs, I could have pulled one from the internet.
Instead, I wanted a a picture WITH legendary US Women’s National team player April Heinrichs.
The same applies to the cathedral in Reims as there are beautiful photos available.