Maria Saldivar is a sports photographer from Phoenix, Arizona, who discovered the love for sports photography her senior year of high school. Sports have always been part of her life at a very young age. She would watch sporting events with her family, every weekend, so there was no surprise when she wanted to get into sports photography. Through her time here at Northern Arizona University, Maria has had the opportunity to work for both The Lumberjack and NAU Athletics, in which she learned a lot about sports photography.
This project focuses on the changes that 2020 brought to the sports world from COVID-19 to fighting for justice. In the past couple of months we have seen and heard people lose their lives to COVID-19. However, we are also fighting a virus that has been going on for more than 400 years. It’s no surprise that even to this day people are still fighting for justice. Sports teams from all around the world have stood up and fought again COVID-19 and injustice. Here at Northern Arizona University, students-athletes have stood up and fought for the rights of others and the safety of those around them.
During games and practices, athletes, coaches, and staff members have to be wearing a mask at all times. Only athletes are allowed to remove their masks during a game or practice. However, it has been seen that during games, athletes would still wear their mask. For the women's volleyball team, every player and coach would have their mask on at all times; even if a player was in the game. With the cause of COVID-19, many things had to be changed from not having fans, to getting your temperature changed every time you walked into the court or field. As a program, we know that by taking that extra step we are going to save lives.
While teams made sure that everyone was safe, athletes made sure that their voices were heard. Teams would use their voice to fight for justice, during the national anthem the women’s volleyball would kneel and players would write #SAYTHEIRNAME and BLM (Black Lives Matter) on their shoes, showing that even without fans, they are going to fight and show justice for all the innocent lives that have been lost. During football practice players, like number 29, would write “BREANNA TAYLOR #BLM'' on their equipment to show their support for the lives that were lost. As an athletics program, teams would wear a “united as one” sticker on their jersey or equipment. If a team wasn’t kneading, they would be wearing t-shirts that said “BLACK LIVES MATTER” or “NAUNITED”. Many of the players are more than just teammates, they spend hours together that it comes to the point that their family.
2020 has been a year that has changed many lives. However, if we come together as a community and fight for what's right not only would we be saving life but we would be making the world a better and safer place for everyone. No one should live in fear of not being able to pay their hospital bill or because of the color of their skin. Everyone has the right to live their life in peace and in freedom.