Becki Szczepanek: the photographer, board member, and team mom


Becki Szczepanek poses for a picture with her trusty Canon 80D.

Up until two weeks ago, Becki Szczepanek and her Canon 80D hadn’t missed a varsity football game in seven years. 

“It’s for the boys; I make sure I’m there for the team every game—home or away because it’s just a passion for the game and taking pictures,” Szczepanek said. “I hadn’t missed a varsity game in seven years since the Northview game this season.”

Throughout those seven years, Szczepanek, a self-admitted “team mom” of “103 sons,” watched head coach Tim Rogers and his staff transform a 2-7 team from 2015 into a 9-3 team in 2016. According to Szczepanek, though, the program’s advancements span farther than just the win column. 

“I’ve been on the football board for seven years, and with coach Rodgers, have built quite a foundation for the program and for the legacy and heritage of the program itself,” Szczepanek said. “Since I’ve started, I’ve seen multiple ways that [the program] has grown, not only in the number of players but as far as building men too. It’s more than what you do on the field—it’s what you do in the community.”

Acumen Performance Group (APG), a team-building organization founded by Navy Seals, is one of the unique tools that Szczepanek and coach Rogers have used over the years to develop FHC football players into respectable community leaders.

“We were one of the first high school football teams in Michigan to provide actual leadership training for our players,” Szczepanek said. “That two-day course that our guys went through set a foundation of leadership and toughness that you can’t find anywhere else around here.”

By running laps on end, carrying 200-pound logs, and pumping out hundreds of pushups, seniors such as Jack McNamara believe that Szczepanek’s efforts to bring in APG scattered mental toughness to every corner of the locker room.

“APG helped us a lot with mental toughness,” Jack said. “Because Mrs. Szczepanek brought in APG, mental toughness is now a core value on our football team and makes us who we are. All in all, it’s difficult to replicate a program like APG.”

No matter how much she enjoys serving on the football board as president, Szczepanek will always trade a seat for a camera. Her passion for sports photography ranges all the way back to 15 years ago when her son, Joe, started playing sports at a young age. Early on, Szczepanek would rely on her phone to take action shots. However, as Joe got older and began to compete at a higher level, she invested more time and energy into capturing every moment on the field.

“15 years ago, when my kid started playing sports, I would take photos with my simple phone camera,” Szczepanek admitted. “I then got introduced to photography, so I started taking more professional photos and got addicted.”

Although football is her bread and butter, she also finds time to shoot other sports galleries. She was there when Ken George cut down the nets for the last time in the jungle, she was there when the 2017 varsity women and men lightweight 8 boats won state championships, and she was there when the 2019 varsity softball team scored a record-breaking 39 runs against Ottawa Hills.

“Not many people have the privilege of being able to be a part of those cool moments and victories, so I would never have thought that I would have been able to pump out so many photo galleries for so long,” Szczepanek said. “I am just grateful that I have been able to see all of those cool moments up close.”

Some might say that those titles or record-breaking games are easily the most memorable moments that she has captured as a sports photographer. Yet, deep down, Szczepanek loves to put the unknown faces in the spotlight.

“To be very honest, in all sports, there are players that don’t get in often,” Szczepanek said. “I might take 1000 pictures over the span of the first three quarters, but when those players get their shot in the fourth quarter, I’ll take more photos in that quarter than any other. Some of my favorite moments happen in those quarters.”

Last year, Szczepanek slowly started to relinquish her powers on the football board. She backed away and decided to let others step up in her place. Now that she has removed herself from her board duties, she intends to continue feeding her passion for photography.

“I’m trying to back off from the board; they did a phenomenal job this year with transitioning and taking over. The photography portion of my job is something attached to me.”