Monday, October 30, 2006

Nikon D2H Shoot: Living Together, Separately


Chris (wearing glasses) said he couldn't speak English. Several coaches acknowledged his initial trepidation to talk with others as the pre-teen Korean boy took part in the BeMore basketball exercise at Park School.

The coordinators reached out to a number of churches and organizations to gather multi-ethnic representation together, compelling the adolescents to interact with each other. Asian-, African-, and Latin- heritage children formed a number of groups, like the Green Machine and Blue Lightning, playing a sport that finally brought them together, for a common goal.

They may have thought that the goal was scoring the most baskets. The true goal was bridging the separation of class and culture and belief.

Interestingly, the nation is a melting pot of diversity and customs. Yet many are taught to avoid anyone different than themselves. People are like fluid, able to travel and reshape. Yet one person acts like oil, avoiding another like they're water. The two will coexist if need be, but will never mingle.

Recall where people sit when there is open seating in a cafeteria, if you beg to disagree.

The only thing that children need is a fun game, and they tend to be in on the fun, allowing their hearts to soar with joy, no matter who plays with them. This was the case in the gymnasium, where total strangers were dropped onto a wooden floor, and unknowingly told to make fun out of playing with someone they never considered playing with before.

The first game had each team stand in line, facing a backboard. The first in line shot the ball until they scored a point. All they had to do was recover the ball and take it to the rear of their line and hand the ball to each person in front of them, so the next on in front could shoot. Christian handed the ball to Muslim. White handed the ball to Black. Boy handed the ball to girl. All the while, the smiles grew on all the faces.

Gathering the names of each of the Blue Lightning team, I gathered each name, until I asked Chris if I could take his picture. "No, no!" he resisted, extending his hand towards the lens while turning away, as if he were trying to avoid an auto accident. I became fond of his shyness, quietly rooting for him, every time he shot the basketball.

The next round of shooting was over, and the children gathered in a mass as they walked to the door of the main gym floor, waiting for the other group to finish their exercise. While I held my Nikon with the wide lens, Chris became curious about the camera, inching beside me and leaning in to take a peek into the front of the lens. *click-click-click* I fired off a couple of frames, startling the bespectacled child, startling him.

A smile crept on my face as I continued staring ahead, to signal that we could play a game. Chris grinned, knowing he was caught on camera, bouncing back a couple steps. I moved my hand to the trigger on the base and slowly turned the camera back towards him and Chris ducked. After a couple moments, I aimed and fired another few frames. At first, he seemed angry, but we both laughed, and I patted him on the shoulder as a gesture to say that he's cool, without saying a word.

I recalled befriending a classmate named Daniel, while riding to middle school on the bus. Being the last rider on the route, he found a seat hard to get with those who felt he wasn't cool enough to sit with them each morning. Noticing his plight, I started sitting on the aisle, refusing to let others sit with me until Daniel boarded, when I would move over to offer him a seat. We rarely spoke, but I didn't feel a need to press him to fight his shyness.

Who knows if the effort by BeMore will grow on any of the children, or even their parents. Watching them sit in the stands, it was difficult to see whether any of them reached out to each other. Wouldn't it be nice if one child's mind was enlightened to such vastly amazing ethnicities and cultures?

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