I’ve always been active. Growing up in such a sports-worshiping, nature-loving, outdoor-obsessed family, there was no way I could escape it. Throughout my schooling years, I was “lucky” enough to take part in over ten different sports, whether dedicated club teams, summer-long clinics, or weekly classes. Even then, I was always the odd one in my family. My brother is a swimmer in college. My dad runs marathons. My mom was a college water polo player and is now a masters swimmer and a self-proclaimed hiking enthusiast. Then there’s me: cheerleader; dancer (hip hop and Irish); swimmer; cross country and 5k runner; lacrosse, water polo, soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball player; and even synchronized swimmer. That was the difference—I never had a single, constant identity that defined the rest of the members in my family.
And then there was that other weird thing about me—an aspect called creativity. The concept of creativity was understood by my biochemist mother, computer engineer father, and my brother, who now majors in business and finance, but often my ideas were a little too innovative. I was the weird child who wanted to dress up and run around, pretending to be an undiscovered animal in an uncharted land. For example, one day at the ripe age of three, I had an imagination breakthrough while sifting through my dress-up bureau. I quickly donned the clothing I needed for my big announcement and galloped downstairs. “Mom? Dad? Kyle?” I called. I waited till I got their complete attention before continuing. This was a crucial announcement. “I am the separator.” I shook the stacks of bracelets on my arm for dramatic effect. My parents, kind as they were, held back their laughter and simply smiled, while my brother just kind of looked at me strangely. I didn’t know why they didn’t understand. I would have to explain. “I give candy to the bad people to make them good.” And that was that. Following my rather concise explanation, I proceeded to flounce back upstairs to my bedroom, which I decided would be a magical land for the day.
That was the epitome of my childhood. I was imaginative beyond comprehension, and I was a dabbler in numerous sports. Perhaps I was just searching for myself. Perhaps that was (and is) my identity. Not a single word can describe me, but more of a concept—variety.