Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Decisions Decisions

My mom enrolled me in dance class when I was just 2 years old at Rat-a-Tat-Tat Dance Studio. What started as 2 hours a week of clapping my hands and running in circles in rehearsal turned into over 10 years of competitive dancing across the country. Most of my younger childhood memories were made in the studio or at competitions. As I grew older, I gradually took dance more seriously. I found myself practicing 10 hours a week in and out of the studio to improve every single day. After dancing at Rat-a-Tat for 8 years, the studio shut down, but I wasn’t ready to give up dancing. I enrolled at Style Dance Academy in Franklin to be on their competitive team. Everyone was so welcoming and took me in as their own. One of my favorite memories from being at Style has to be the Little Red Riding Hood gymnastics routine I did and I got to play the big bad wolf. Although I loved being at Style, one issue lied at hand: it was a 45 minute commute from my house. My best friend, Hannah, and I would get off the bus, quickly get dressed and hop in the car to dance class on time. We would do our homework during our breaks and arrive home around 9:00 in the evening. 
At the beginning of my third year at Style, I was introduced to basketball. I was able to play on my 5th grade team, but I couldn’t play anywhere else due to commuting to Style 3 times a week. The more I played basketball, the more I fell in love with the game. That next year, I knew I had to make a choice: dance or basketball? My mom always taught me to give my 100% best effort into everything I do, and I just couldn't give my absolute best to both. I took the dance stage one last time that year and made the choice to pursue basketball full time. 

My basketball career quickly skyrocketed. From 5th grade to my sophomore year, I played for my school team, a county team, 2 state teams and even a national team. I truly believed that basketball was what I was destined to play. I had goals of playing division 1 and being drafted into the WNBA one day. Just as I thought I had my whole life figured out, FFA came to my school. 

I quickly fell in love with FFA, but I also learned that I couldn’t give my 100% best effort to both this and basketball at the same time. Do I give up the sport I’ve invested years into and possibly have a future with for something brand new, or do I stay in my comfort zone? It was a tough choice, but by far the best choice I’ve ever made. 
I find it fascinating how even the smallest of choices we make can greatly impact our lives. We’re all going to find our niche at different points in our lives. I never thought I would be in FFA in my time as a dancer, but here we are. I challenge you to be open to new activities and experiences anytime you get a chance. Who knows, you just may fall in love with a new activity you never thought you would. 

~Julia Hamblen

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