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March 1, 2022

Athletes, Artists and the Bin in the Back

Jennifer McGuire
Written By:
Jennifer McGuire

My husband and I are replacing our garage doors – something the HOA will no doubt be ecstatic about. As we cleaned out the garage last weekend to make way for the workers, I heard my husband muttering complaints about all the unused sports equipment in the bin toward the back. He was a high school and college athlete and formerly a gym teacher, so we have quite the assortment of balls, bats and racquets that have sat unused, collecting dust since we moved into the house in 2013.

“Couldn’t we have had just one kid who wanted to play a sport and watch football with me?”

I smiled to myself, seeing the obvious that he somehow missed. Despite my husband’s former athletic prowess, tales of scoring the big touchdown (so Al Bundy) and desperate hope that the Jets will someday win the Super Bowl (this could be the year…), he is, in fact, a musician at heart. He gave up teaching five years ago to pursue music full time, and now performs at music festivals and tiki bars throughout the Southeast.

I looked up at him, surrounded by hefty black speakers, guitar cases, mic stands, drums and more percussive instruments than I realized we owned.

“Because you raised artists, not athletes.”

Each of our three kids dabbled in sports in elementary school – soccer, baseball, gymnastics, basketball – but none of it stuck. My daughter also tried cheerleading in the 4th grade and loved it until their first game. She stormed over to me in the stands during their first break, hands on her little hips, and said, “Do you mean to tell me that all we do is stand here and cheer for the boys?” That was the end of that for my budding women’s libber.

The only thing that really stuck was music. They grew up surrounded by it and had a wide range of instruments at their disposal. While my husband may have been watching football on TV, he usually had a guitar in his hands and was strumming chords during commercials.

Today, all three are talented musicians – my daughter is a music major who sings in choirs, bands and musicals. My older son performs in musical theater and my younger son produces his own music, which you can find on Spotify and Apple Music. I’m the only one in the family with absolutely zero musical talent. So, I drive them to rehearsals and performances, host band practice, pay for lessons and do everything I can to support and encourage them. I think that’s pretty important, too.

Instead, my creative outlet has been writing. And painting, although don’t expect a gallery showing anytime soon. I kind of suck, but it’s a lot of fun and my husband humors me and tells me how talented I am.

I believe everyone needs a creative outlet, whatever that might be. For my kids and husband, it’s music. For me, it’s writing. For others it might be knitting, sculpting, drawing, Tai Chi, ball room dancing, gardening, interior design… or sports. We all need a way to express who we are, and in the process, make the world a more beautiful place.

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