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Oh Say Can You Ask?

Sometimes life reminds me of the power of asking. This week has been a joyful reminder of a lesson I’ve lived through many times. I love performing the national anthem. I was hooked the first time I did it as a 6th grader at our high school football game 12 years ago. It’s wild to think about my National Anthem journey throughout the years. If there was an opportunity to sing it, I was hustling my way into making it happen. High school football and basketball games were my jumping off point until I craved more. It grew into rodeos, parades, and any public event I could find.

My first real lesson in asking happened when I was a junior in high school. My family were regulars at the HutchCC basketball games. I grew up on center court and loved the pace of the game. One particular game I told my mom that I really wanted to sing the national anthem, and she said “let’s ask”. She happened to know the assistant athletic director, and we struck up a conversation. He had me audition right then and there, and just like that my goal was coming to fruition. I sang at HutchCC athletic games for around 4 years, but none of that would have happened if I hadn’t just asked.

Photo by: Dwan Miller Photography, LLC

Fast forward to my junior year of college, and my first semester at Kansas State. I wanted to sing at a Kansas State sporting event. Emails are easier to hunt down than you might think, so after a quick directory search I sent a few emails expressing my interest. That’s how I landed a D1 women’s basketball game and the Big 12 outdoor track championship. This same persistence is how I forced my way into singing at graduation this May. As I look back I laugh because I applied for graduation and sent the email expressing my interest in the same 30 minutes. The goal of singing at graduation was different than others I’d had in the past. I had wanted to do it after attending my brother’s graduation 4 years prior, seeing a student was the singer. This goal however, was met with resistance. At the time of my first email the college of Ag did not want a live singer, but I was quite persistent. I didn’t know for sure that I was singing until the week before the event, when one of my professors congratulated me because he saw a published article that I was performing. Patience and persistence can get you a long way.

Here I am now, 14 hours from home where my national anthem reputation was built, wanting to sing again. This time at minor league games, starting with baseball. Like all the times before, I scrounged around for emails and asked. There is something special about shooting your shot, regardless of if it works out. I’m always surprised when it does. This time it did! I’m excited to say I’ve booked a minor league baseball game. (Go TinCaps!) All through the power of asking.

This idea that putting yourself out there, and it working out blows my mind every time. Asking is an act of courage. I think what keeps people from asking for what they want is the fear of uncertainty and rejection. This applies to a lot, a job promotion, a dance, getting our needs met in a relationship, etc. Sometimes it feels easier to dream and live in the “what if” than to be rejected. I can’t help but think, what areas of my life am I putting off the ask? And how can I show up more courageous in those areas? To me, I’d rather get rejected by going all in and asking the question, than wondering “what if”. (Again easier said than done) Today I’m basking in the joy of booking a cool gig and knowing that I can build a national anthem reputation here in Indiana, all I have to do is ask.

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