This article appears in the July edition of 400 Life Magazine.
Blaylen Lomax first began playing football as a falcon, sporting a black jersey on the field for the first time after joining the Sharon Springs Youth Football team when he was only in first grade.
Of course, the linebacker has since moved on from the team, joining his middle school’s football team in seventh grade before heading to South Forsyth High School where he plays now as rising senior.
But he said he will never forget his team at Sharon Springs where he first found his passion and what will hopefully become his future career, especially as his family has been so involved in the team. Both of his little brothers have played as falcons, his dad coached all of them and his mom even served as the team coordinator.
Lomax said he always finds himself back on the field at Sharon Springs, spending time with those he has known his whole life and practicing for his next game.
It was no surprise then that when the organization was looking to get new jerseys for the team, Lomax offered up his help. Using his experience in art and design classes, he designed two new jerseys for the K-6 Sharon Springs recreational football teams.
“We feel like this has been an awesome opportunity for Blayen to give back to the park that has poured into him as well as the park being able to use Blayen's gifts,” said Jenny Meaden, the director of football uniforms and team coordinators.
Alongside his talent and desire to play football, Lomax has also always had a passion for art. He began taking design classes during his freshman year at South Forsyth, and he has continued down the art and design pathway since.
Although he had been creating and designing logos within the studios at South Forsyth, he had never thought of venturing out and designing products such as a jersey. His mom, Tonika, originally slipped the idea into his mind when she found out the team at Sharon Springs needed new jerseys.
“I’ve always had a passion for drawing and designing, and my pathway is art. So she said, ‘Hey, why don’t you check this out?’” Lomax said.
Meaden took him up on his offer to design the jerseys, and he ended with two unique designs for both older and younger players. The designs were both mostly blue, gray and white — a step away from previous jerseys that have traditionally been black.
Sharon Springs Youth Football and Cheerleading unveiled prototypes of Lomax’s jerseys at a team get-together in May, letting parents and players see the designs for the first time.
“It feels good to [see the design in person],” Lomax said.
Focusing on the combination of his two passions, Lomax enjoyed working on the jerseys and seeing them finally be put to use. Although his first focus is football going into the future, he said he could also see himself continue with projects like this one in the future.
Overall, Lomax said he was mostly happy to give back to the team where it all started for him.