Most students pick their path about where, why, and who they want to be during or even before they get to high school. People are labeled and put into categories and everyone knows them for the group they are in. You stay in that group for basically your whole high school career and nothing changes. You can either be a jock, math wizard, video game nerd, cheerleader or actor. There’s nothing against that, it’s just how it works. But I wasn’t like that. I couldn’t pick one path to take like most people do. I decided to do something different. I was an athlete who was also involved in the world of theatre. I was a tennis player who has been dancing, singing, and acting for as long as I can remember and one decision for my senior year could change all that.
It started my junior year of highschool on a spring morning. I was happy with myself and the choices I made up to this point in high school. I was blonde, average height, young, with blue eyes, and was content and bold. I am always open to trying new things, maybe it was time for just that. I was walking to my fourth period class, which was study. I thought about how close summer was and how I would be a senior soon. I couldn’t believe there was one year left here, just one year. Then as I walked down the glass hallway and made a right turn down another, I thought about change. Change is supposed to be good. Things aren’t always supposed to stay the same, I knew that. I would experience a big change next year, college. It seemed scary, but exhilarating and different at the same time.
I did mostly the same activities freshman, sophomore, and junior year. “What if I did something different my senior year?” I thought. I always thought about auditioning for the fall play, but knew I could never do it because I was on tennis during that season. But maybe this year could be different, and I could possibly be in the fall play. I mean this was my last shot for this chance. Later during that day the topic popped back into my head after seventh period. I was walking down that same narrow hallway and I got distracted by a girl calling my name from behind me. It was a sophomore who was on the tennis team with me last year. She asked, “Hey, are you planning on doing tennis next year? I miss you guys so much.” I thought about how ironic it was that that same day I was thinking about the team. I told her that “Ya, I think I am going to”, even though I was questioning my decision. That night I brought the topic up to my parents and they seemed open to whatever I wanted to do. I questioned my place and what I wanted for my senior year of high school. I asked my mom if I was doing the right thing. I told her, “I don’t know if I am doing what I truly want. What if it’s a mistake? Should my senior year be different?” I never want to live with regrets for not doing something I should’ve done. I was debating leaving tennis and devoting my senior year to theatre.
Being involved in theatre and sports opened up my opportunities to meet new people from all different aspects of high school. I was excited about doing theatre in highschool, but also nervous at the same time. My close friends aren’t involved with theatre at all. Going into freshman year I was wondering if I would be judged or left out? Would they think it was weird? All these thoughts entered my brain, but soon went away. I was never left out and one of my best friends even joined theatre with me my junior year. I can say acting has also been a big part of my life. I have been involved in plays, concerts, and dance since I was very young. I remember taking tap, jazz, hip-hop, and ballet lessons from a young age. I also took singing lessons and I’ve been in choir at church since the 6th grade. I’ve been in multiple musicals and my love for theatre has grown tremendously. My brother is also very musically talented so it has always been a big part of my life. My parents support is also extremely wonderful. I have never been a super athletic person. I took basketball lessons and was on a t-ball team when I was younger. My uncle is a basketball coach and my dad and my uncle were both on the basketball team, but I stopped playing basketball and moved onto tennis. Tennis is a sport that you can play your whole life. I get to play it with my family and friends. Freshman year I tried out for the tennis team and I made it! I was so excited and made lots of friends by being on the team.
I also made many friends in the PA Wing. I started taking drama class in high school. By taking drama and getting involved with crew and being in the cast during the winter plays and musicals I met amazingly kind people. But, I knew by doing tennis in the fall meant that I could not do the fall play. I thought that I could just do the winter play and musical and that that would satisfy me. The tennis court was somewhere I could be around people, but also be with myself. It was a team game, but it was also an individual game. Each point counted and I was always connected with what was going on. It was a place I could be when I was angry or happy and use that in my game play. It was a place with sunshine and relaxation, but it can get your heart pumping and energy high. The stage was similar to that. It was a place to clear my head. I felt alive and happy when the spotlight touched my face and hearing the crowd cheer brightens everyone's mood. It also gave me the butterflies in my stomach.
Something changed after that day in May. I was so involved with The Little Mermaid Musical this year that it took up a lot of my time and I no longer had time to take tennis lessons. It was during that show when I met a ton of new people and I had a different outlook on how I wanted to spend my senior year. I wanted to stay close with my theatre friends, but I also did not want to lose my friends I met in tennis. I knew I probably would not be doing tennis in college so this was my last chance to play. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at my options and thought about the positives and negatives of each activity. The play offered me to be with my friends and the joy of acting, but it was time consuming and if I get an ensemble role then I was questioning if it would be worth my time and effort. Tennis also offered me time to be with my friends on varsity with a new coach, but it was also time consuming and I knew I would not be ranked at the top of my team. I asked my parents and they don't want to tell me what to do, but it seems like they are leaning towards the play. I never had to deal with this decision until now. I always said to myself that I would do tennis in the fall and that was final. I never needed to think about it. I’ve been contemplating with this decision for a couple weeks now. I don’t want to lose an opportunity that I won’t be offered ever again.
I would lay in bed some nights after that day in May when the topic popped into my head out of nowhere. I would wonder and worry about my senior year. I tried to imagine where I would see myself in the year to come. I thought of myself on the courts every afternoon after school. Sweating, running, drilling, laughing. That made me think of the best day I had on the tennis team. It was near the end of last fall’s season during conference. It was a sunny, brisk October afternoon. My partner and I were playing New Trier, the best team in our conference, and we were crushing them! It was probably the best that I’ve ever played tennis. We played fiercely and confident. I was so proud of myself and my partner during that moment and my heart would not stop racing. I enjoyed playing with my friends, but it was hard sometimes. I did not take tennis as seriously as some girls did. I looked at it as a hobby to pass the time, but I was also a very competitive person. Then I thought of myself on the stage. Singing, drilling, rejoicing, working. One of my proudest moments was in 8th grade when I got the chance to play Annie in our school musical. I worked hard for that role, and getting the chance to sing in front of my family and friends was a moment i will never forget. Yes, it sounds cheesy, I know, but I honestly had so much fun and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am not a crazy Broadway ready actress like some may be, but the stage was a place where I was thrived with excitement.
To be completely honest I haven’t made a definite decision yet. I thought maybe if I do tennis then I could do makeup crew during the fall, but it wouldn’t be the same. I did makeup crew for the musical last year and even though my friends were with me getting ready for the shows, I did not feel the same as being in the show with them. So I am still torn on what to do. I have friends telling me one thing, and others the opposite. I don’t want to lose my other friends on tennis. This is a decision I will probably make last minute at the end of the summer when both tryouts/auditions are happening around the same time. I thought about auditioning for the play seeing if I make it, and if not doing tennis, but I don’t want to go in the wrong direction. I know I will make the right decision when it comes because I think the saying, “Everything happens for a reason” means something and I will always stick by that saying because we all have a place and purpose in the crazy world we live in.