Express and Experiment

Me with a painting I created using spray paint for the first time. Summer 2018.

I am not good at sports. While I can recite the basic rules and follow the plays in football, baseball, soccer, basketball and ultimate frisbee, my skills playing the games are rudimentary. People usually laugh when they see me run.

“Oh! Look how cute you look when you run!” is the phrase I heard often in grade school, so at least it was good natured and not mean. Running during a gym game, or after work ultimate frisbee games with friends as an adult was fun, but running around a track for the “mile run” was pure torture. I am still amazed that people choose to run miles for fun. I can throw a frisbee well and had a strong kick in soccer and kickball, but no one would ever say I was destined for the NBA or even any varsity high school team.

Despite this lack of talent, I enjoyed gym! I was one of those intellectual, gifted-program, artsy, choir AND orchestra nerds who loved science, math, and history too. I also loved to learn new sports games and play wholeheartedly during gym with my classmates. I chose to take a weightlifting class in high school, and in college, continued my interest in dance, camping and canoeing, frisbee, tennis, and now tai chi. People still laugh when I run, or when I danced hip-hop during a church worship dance performance, to which my brother stated with a chuckle, “I’ve never seen you move that fast.”

I will never pursue a career in sports, and the world will thank me for that, but it does not mean I can’t benefit emotionally and physically from dabbling in that world. As for the Arts, there is a strange disconnect that I notice in customers to the art store where I work and in people I have met around the country. It is the mindset that “I am not good at art, therefore I will never do it.” Even if the natural inclination or talent is not there, if a person enjoys the process of making something, learning an instrument, or trying new materials, the Arts are rewarding. Not everyone will create a career of the Arts, but that should not freeze out any inclination to try paint pouring, sketching a flower, creating a song, woodwork a new bench, or dancing awkwardly to a favorite song. Using art as a vehicle for expression is beneficial and can manifest itself in many ways. Experimenting with a new artistic skill or trying a new medium can help people release creativity and problem solve in other areas of life. My sister is a lawyer (and amazing in sports!), but does not claim to be artistic. However, she not only supports and enjoys the arts, but manifests her creative side in her amazing fashion sense and the tasteful way she decorates her home.

The Arts are a great way to relax and exercise creativity even if you are not the next Pavarotti, Puccini, or Picasso. I will use an oft quoted sports phrase by Babe Ruth to hit home my point:

Don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.

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