If it had been a baseball or football championship the seats would have been full. Other students would’ve waited in line to cheer on the star players. A kid with an IQ lower than Ryan Lochte would be praised in the newspaper. Townies would argue over what professional football team the local boy would end up playing for. Years later that same boy will be throwing Hefty bags into a garbage truck.
There wasn’t a big game tonight. It was the drama club’s year end performance. So, besides family members scattered throughout the auditorium and a few boys who have a crush on the 7th grade lead actress, the seats were empty. It didn’t stop these middle school kids from putting on a hell of a performance.
It was the first time my 13-year-old graced the stage, but he is a natural. I am not just saying that! You can tell the difference between kids who got “it” and those who will grow up to star in straight to videotape movies after VCR’s are extinct.
For years I forced my son to play sports because that’s what boys are supposed to do. He hated baseball. He was indifferent about basketball. He played soccer to appease me and his father. I am ashamed that I caved to the pressures of society. Forgive me for sounding like a hippie chick, but we put so much worth on one’s ability to hit, kick or catch a ball. Our kids idolize grown men who wear spandex and become choreographers in the end zone. There is such little value placed on the arts. Well, this year I encouraged my son to join drama club. My son is a movie buff and is fascinated with how films are made. The playful teasing from his peers started soon after he signed up. My son seriously thought about quitting. A friend of his did. “It’s lame,” he said. I went bananas. (Or as Gwen Stefani would say, “B-A-N-A-N-A-S.”) It turned into an after school special on peer pressure, “You have to follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone put you down or make you feel like anything, but the amazing, creative, talented person you are.” He rolled his eyes and walked away, but he got the message. He didn’t quit. He rehearsed and nailed his lines. I saw something tonight that I have never seen before. He wasn’t the same kid who walked off a field with his head held down. He was confident and proud. That is all I have ever wanted.
I would have taken photographs, but school officials said it wasn’t allowed because of copyright laws. As if parents are going to sell the grainy Dvd’s of a middle school performance on the black market. The reality is we would never watch the video again: