I consider myself fortunate to live in a state that supplies many opportunities to attend and participate in both the sports and arts arenas. I used experiences from both to create Ace Edwards, the protagonist in my book, ImagiNation Unveiled: The Hidden Realm.
At age 3, my mother enrolled me in a dance studio competition open to the public. I won a year of free lessons and an introduction to the arts.
At five, I auditioned along with hundreds of other children for a dancing roll in the Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker Suite. The creative world that I was immersed in for the next several years on stage and in two studios laid a foundation for my love of the arts that endures today. Additional experiences in marching and concert band expanded my connection with creativity. My connection with sports was playing the clarinet in the band section of the stands during high school and college.
That sports connection was broadened further when I married into a family with a profound and passionate interest in sports. Contemplating my daughters’ futures, I determined that they would be well-rounded individuals if they were familiar with, and had an appreciation for both worlds. Never could I have imagined what an exciting path we would all embark upon.
After several years of dance lessons, my oldest daughter refused to put on her tights one more time and requested piano lessons instead. During the week, our house was filled with her practice sessions. On the weekends, we gathered around the television to watch football or basketball with the family.
A few years later, when my five-year-old daughter ditched her tutu for a bat, I was immersed into the sports scene on a more personal level. Daring and undaunted, she nagged me everyday to let her join a boy’s YMCA T-ball team (there wasn’t one for girls). Being the mother of the only girl on an all boys team was an eye-opening experience. She was teased by some boys and ignored by others, but when she didn’t miss a practice and continued to play despite a broken arm, she earned everyone’s respect. I was never prouder. She was a natural and loved the game, so I supported her over the years though high school as she took center field and served as leadoff hitter for several teams. In an endeavor to strike a balance between sports and the arts, she also played the flute.
Both girls enjoyed being members of an award-winning show choir and a color guard unit in high school. To support their efforts, I worked behind the scenes making costumes, designing scenery for the show choir (6 out-of-state road trips) and choreographed several color guard routines.
Through the years, my family gathered at performances and games with equal respect and enthusiasm for both sports and the arts. Today, I enjoy watching sporting events and arts performances in Louisville’s new KFC Yum! Center, a basketball and multipurpose arena that seats 22,000 people. In addition, Louisville’s Kentucky Center for the Arts offers amazing performances.
As for the future, I am happy that my grandson lives in a city that offers him the opportunity to participate in both sports and the arts. He doesn’t have to choose one over the other. It is important that we remember how important it is to learn the life lessons and inspiration each arena has to offer.