This summer, Kenyon students Jackson Wald ’22, James Mazer ’23 and alumnus Tommy Johnson ’20 set out to create a publication like no other — Teamwork, a sports and arts magazine that explores the intersection between athletic performance and culture. Just a few short months after its conception, Teamwork was published and distributed across New York City and Raleigh, N.C.
The magazine aims to return authorship back to athletes, something that the Teamwork staff believes has been stripped away through the over-analysis of modern sports journalism. “Our one fundamental belief is that an athlete is more than who they are on the field,” Wald said.
Wald, who currently serves as sports editor for the Collegian and co-editor-in-chief of Teamwork, was inspired to produce such a magazine when he had an idea to send athletes disposable cameras and ask them to take snapshots of their daily lives. After a phone call with Johnson, a previous Collegian executive director, and creative brainstorming sessions with studio art major Mazer, the three set a goal to produce their own magazine over the summer.
The pages of Teamwork Magazine contain long-form journalism, photo essays provided by famous athletes and artist profiles, all of which examine the intersection between sports and arts. As Johnson noted, learning more about an athlete through their role as an artist allows for a deeper connection. “The cool thing about arts and sports is that you find an artist who’s really into sports, or you find an athlete who’s really into art, and you have something else to talk about that can introduce you to them as an authentic individual person,” Johnson said.
Although the members of the Teamwork staff do not consider themselves to be athletes, they present unique ideas on how to facilitate conversations about creative ownership. “You can have an athlete write an essay; that’s one thing and that’s a great sense of authorship. But [Teamwork] is in a creative sense. They’re now published photographers in a magazine and they can see their photos in print. It’s another level of storytelling,” Johnson said.
In addition to writing and photos, original artwork created by Mazer, who serves as the magazine’s artistic director, accompanies each artist interview. “There were conversations about how you portray teamwork in a painting or drawing or image without making it feel kitsch. Or how you show an iconic sports moment and still have it feel like fine art,” Mazer explained. His paintings portray intimate sports moments described by each artist in their interview, which serve to deepen the audience’s understanding of the artist and eliminate the barrier between the subject and the journalist.
Moving forward, the team hopes to publish more issues and is excited to feature more athletic and artistic talent. The publication continues to explore creativity for an audience interested in unconventional sports narratives, or, according to Johnson, “kids trying to connect with their dads who love baseball.”
Teamwork Magazine is currently sold in stores in Raleigh, N. C. and New York City, including Iconic Magazines and Casa Magazines — the biggest magazine shops in New York City, according to the Teamwork staff. You can find out more about Teamwork Magazine on their Instagram @teamworkmagazine or on their website makesthedreamwork.com.