Let me start this by saying, I could sing before I could talk.
Okay, that's probably not true, but I have always been a performing arts girl. My senior quote was even from Rachel Berry in Glee.
From dance classes to vocal performances, music has been the center of my personal solar system my whole life. I never attached to sports like I did performing arts.
I tested the waters in various sports growing up and they never clicked with me. I tried soccer, cheer, tennis, but nothing gave me the same feeling as the arts. I never resented sports. In fact, the rivalry between sports and performing arts programs weren't apparent to me until high school.
It's the same story told in every movie. My high school performing arts programs were underfunded and dramatically underappreciated.
We never got pushed up against lockers or bullied for taking Theater 101, but there was a stigma out to get us. Football tailgates were planned the same time as show performances and teachers used extra credit for show attendance in order to convince more students to show up.
I'm not going to lie, it sucked to put your whole heart into something that never received the credit it deserved.
I was involved in various programs from bass guitar in our one-year-lived jazz band, musical theater troupes, performing choirs and even a few shows. Each group or class I was involved in taught me something different. The arts can help people grow into new molds they never thought they could fit into. If you ever watch performers, look into their eyes, there is always magic to be seen.
We worked equally as hard as sports players. Our rehearsals matched their practice times, as I often had small talk with basketball players in the parking lot late at night when we both were finally able to get out of the high school walls. We both traveled us for performances, them for games. The only difference was that they got the charter bus and we got the vans. The main difference between our programs was... they were always taken more seriously then we were.
Everyone planned their lives around games, no matter what season. It was almost strange if you didn't show up. Sure, it was easy to get frustrated. But I never discredited the sports programs.
In fact, I still showed up to most games. Football, baseball, basketball, volleyball... you name it, I attended every game I could. There was nothing about sports I didn't like, even if I wasn't the one on the field.
Where is the productivity in stomping my feet and pouting alone because a couple of athletes don't take me seriously? Our school didn't take us seriously, so why would they? A few teachers showed up to our plays, but most of the teachers never missed a game. Even if you looked someone in the eye and asked them if they would go to your show, they would always lie and they wouldn't show up.
I could point fingers at players, coaches, or teachers for not acknowledging the arts, but that would never solve the problem. What is the point of fueling a rivalry between performing arts and sports that have been pre-destined for us?
This rivalry doesn't need to exist. I encourage parents, students and teachers of all levels of academia to support both programs. Even at the college level, it baffles me that students still roll their eyes at performing arts programs.
Making an effort to support shows, concerts, and recitals can mean a world of difference for those who are putting their whole heart on the stage. Bringing attention to programs can help schools see the values in them as well.
At the end of the day, we are from the same school and we deserve the same respect. Each student holds a unique skill that they bring to their school and that should be celebrated.