Toss 33 college students into a room together and you’ll get chaos.

Now make it 33 students who are athletes, gathered in an echoey gym, gearing up for their team’s annual “sportrait” session. If you’re thinking loud, energetic, and silly, you’ve scored a hat trick.

For the Bates men’s soccer team gathered in the Gray Athletic Building on Aug. 31, chaos was the mode du jour, and there was no end to good ideas for great photos. Multimedia producer Theophil Syslo was there to capture these behind-the-scenes moments.

Video by Theophil Syslo/Bates College

From squad pics to photobombing to levitating soccer balls, the creativity was flowing — just like water out of a shoe (watch the video to see what that means).

It’s a time-honored tradition for a sports team to have head-and-shoulders photos done for rosters and programs. At Bates, the fun begins after the head shots when Bobcats get to celebrate self and team by striking a pose — a “sportrait” — of their own.

Over the last few years, pre-season sportrait sessions at Bates have become a favorite team-building tradition

With enough imagination, anything can be a basketball, especially during a long wait. While waiting for their turn in front of the camera, the team took to the court, passing, shooting hoops, and doing a different kind of dribbling with all the soccer balls lying around.

Is it harder to make a three-point shot with a soccer ball than with a basketball? Maybe the Olympics needs to add a day of sports crossovers.

Of course, that inspired a pose by three goalkeepers, Erik Janzon ’25 of Ridgefield, Conn., Nico Hessel ’26 of Brattleboro, Vt., and Bruce David ’25 of Pittsburgh. One taking a shot, one guarding, one pretending to be a hoop.

Having a ball are soccer goalkeepers Bruce David ’25 of Pittsburgh, Erik Janzon ’25 of Ridgefield, Conn., and Nico Hessel ’26 of Brattleboro, Vt. (Brewster Burns for Bates College)

Squishy-ish squeaks filled the air as the Bobcats ditched casual footwear (everything from tennis shoes, to sneakers, to Crocs) for their cleats, completing their picture-perfect game-day look.

Of course, the props at a sportrait session aren’t limited to equipment. Four seniors looked around the Gray Cage and figured that a couple of trash barrels might work just fine.

Jacob Iwowo ’23 of London and Max McKersie ’23 of Arlington, Mass., take out the “trash” — fellow seniors Justin Phillips ’23 of Old Saybrook, Conn., and Bobby Dall ’23 of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. (Brewster Burns for Bates College)

The final touch, of course, is deciding what kind of face to make for the pose. A serious game face? Playful cheesing? Or Thoughtful?

Three teammates preparing for their group pose make a decision: all three. Another hat trick!

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