The secret life of Dennis
I never thought in a million year that I would be the one to say I have a “secret identity”, but that is exactly what I did. Art is some form has been apart of my life since I was little. As I progressed through school, I thought I would be a history teacher. It wasn’t until I got to college I discovered Athletic Training/ Sport Medicine. I grew up play Soccer, then switched to Volleyball in high school. We never had an Athletic Trainer, so, thanks to a friend, I randomly took a class in college that sent me rocketing toward a career in Medicine. Since then (20 years ago), I reached some of the highest heights in Athletic Training. It includes Professional Sports, Olympic Level, as well as major college level.
Now, I can hear you asking yourself “So what? How does this relate?”…
Well, quite simply, the two go hand in hand.
First off, creativity is a core skill to what I do in the day job. I have to be creative in rehabs to get athletes back to a level that will allow then to compete at their very best. This creativity keeps them motivated and engaged while creating a sport specific experience that will directly relate to the required skillset on the field. It also stimulates your thinking.
Secondly, it fights “burn out”. Medicine is stressful. I have the lives of 450 athletes in my hands on any given day. We can work up to 60+ hours a week….especially during football season. This kind of stress wears on you both physically and mentally, so it is important to have some kind of release. I happen to delve into art and photography to stimulate the creativity and relieve that stress.
Spending time with National Teams, I have been afforded opportunities to travel all over the world. My camera goes everywhere I go. Even though we don’t get a ton of time off to sightsee, I take advantage of the precious little time and try to explore and shoot whatever I can.
Often times a little pocket sketchbook and a small stash of pens and pencils travel with me. Sometimes its nice to find a little Cafe or Coffee Shop and just sketch.
More often than not, I tend to keep the two separate in terms telling people about the other. Me having been published is not important to an athlete any more than working with Team USA at the World University Games is to a gallery owner. But, like I said, that intrinsic creativity will cross over and be beneficial to both.
I have always tried to be as good as I can in anything I do. this has taken me to some pretty awesome highs in both paths. When the two cross, it does make for some pretty fun conversations.
I encourage everyone to find that path… discover your skill(s) and create your secret identity!