Are you doing a sport? What sport do you play? What team are you on?
I grew up in a community where almost all my friends played sports, and I was the only kid who played classical piano. Every day during lunch in elementary school, my friends played soccer on the field. I tried to be “cool” like them, but it showed that I wasn’t an athlete. I didn’t understand the rules and couldn’t run fast like they could. My friends ended up putting me on defense, where I sat on the grass and watched them play at the opposite end of the field.
As I grew older and the thought of high school slowly began creeping into my middle school brain’s thoughts, I didn’t know what sport to do. Everyone always asked me what sport I was planning on doing in high school, and I never had an answer. My mom told me I didn’t need to do a sport, and I cried. I thought I would be viewed as a nerd or a loser.
I ended up moving to an arts school. Even when I told people about it, they still asked if my arts school had sports and which one I was planning to do (the answer is no, my school does not have sports).
The basic graduation requirement for California high schoolers is one year of an art class and two years of physical education.
My question is: why are sports viewed as more valuable than the arts? Why was I raised with the mentality that doing a sport was a necessity?
With confidence, I can now say that I am proud to be an artist. I am proud to express my emotions through music. I am proud of each piece that I have polished and perfected. I am proud of my wild imagination that allows me to create whole other worlds and live in different feelings.
Because the arts aren’t simple hobbies that take little effort. Just like sports, they take practice.
I could spend my whole day at the piano trying to work on a single measure of music. Every time I perform, I’m forced to face stage fright and the terrifying feeling of watching eyes. I am sweating after each piece I play. My wrists and arms grow tired. My mind swerves with the intense concentration that comes from memorizing more than forty pages of sheet music.
Sports make you fit. Sure, but take dance for example. Ballerinas are often more athletic than football players, but dancers are still looked down upon. Some people don’t even view dance as a sport. Also, you don’t need to do a sport to be perfectly healthy.
Sports give you social skills that art simply can’t mimic. Wrong. There are plenty of group art projects that all help to increase social skills and make incredible friendships: musicals, theatre plays, ensemble music performances, the list goes on.
Sports teach kids about winning and give them a competitive edge. Do I even need to explain this? I’ve met some of the craziest, most competitive people in music competitions. The arts are very, very competitive.
I am an artist that is tired of being overlooked.
Give the arts your attention, because they are just as demanding as sports are.