An Immigrants’ Game

Here’s one from the vault. I took these photos and audio in the late summer and early fall of 2007, in what turned out to be my last days at my first newspaper gig. They are my first attempt both at a more long term project and at working with audio. When I left the paper, I felt that the work was incomplete, the audio terrible, and generally that it was not worth putting together. But time has a way of changing your feelings.
In all, I spent 11 afternoons with these mostly laborers in the rural New Jersey town where the paper was located. They would gather at the field each day after work and play for as long as the light would allow. The level of competition was really high, and occasionally a player or two from the local high school or middle school soccer team would join the fray, knowing it was the best game in town. As they played, they sometimes would yell the home country of a player, in place of his name, so that cries of “Ecuador” or “Argentino” would periodically be heard. I remember thinking what a contrast it was to the football or softball practices taking place in the nearby fields in this rural farmland of northwest New Jersey. Despite how they had arrived in America, or what their immigration status was, they were here, they were living. They were playing their game, and adding it to those other ones.

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