Columnist: Going for their dream in front of the world

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I used to take pride in being one of the few people in the country who wasn’t hooked on American Idol.
Maybe it was my Catholic upbringing and the use of the word idol in the title.
With the lack of any good television shows on presently, or just ones I have already seen, I have have found myself watching “America’s Got Talent” a few times.
I am sure that the terrible acts the three judges are subject to see and hear, causing them to rapidly push their red no buttons causing a large red X to appear above the performer, are staged.
They want to mix in the poor ones to give some variety to the show and also give the audience in the different cities throughout the country a chance to boo instead of giving standing ovations and cheering.
In just a few moments, the others, the ones who really do have talent, have to charm the judges and show how good they really are.
They are going for a dream and they believe this is their one chance.
Last night, one girl admitted she quit singing after appearing and losing on the first season of American idol. Now she is “going to Vegas” to compete for a million dollars.
I wonder what happens to all those who went and stood for hours trying to get an audition to appear on the show. Do they keep on singing, or dancing or doing whatever they believe to be their special talent?
One lady in her 70s surprised the audience, the judges and myself when she revealed herself to be a stand-up comic – a clean one at that.
She will be in Vegas too. How can she compete with the magician who makes girls disappear and reappear across the stage, or the stay-at-home mom who sang opera like she had been studying all of her life?
The 70-year-old in his gold lame jacket, who slid around the stage, I thought could have stayed home, instead of being sent to the next level of competition. But he will be there too, moving to the music.
Then there are also the kids. The eight-year-old little girl with curls who charmed her way into a trip to Las Vegas with her impish smile, more than her talent singing and playing the piano.
Then there was the boy who at nine plays guitar better than some adults who make their living at it.
A different talent, if it could be called that, seemed to be jumping around with a group of others all dressed in the same outfits. These Blue Man Group wannabes may have been good for the few moments they were on stage, but that would get very tiring any longer for both those watching and the ones performing.
I think the act I enjoyed the most were the postal workers, some of which who have been singing together for 10 years, while they sorted mail.
Though they didn’t jazz up their act with matching clothes, they were delightful. When the judges asked the lead singer where she has sung, he shyly answered “church.”
Though the years I have covered more than a few talent contests. It really is unfortunate so much talent goes unseen or heard.
We are encouraged as children to develop our talents and pursue our passions, but what comes after that.
There are only a few who are good enough to actually make a living doing something they love.
There were three brothers who did a routine in their matching jumpsuits. They showed a photo of the three when they were children, hanging out together. Now they are trying to survive by taking their routine to Vegas. I really don’t think they have a chance, but maybe just going so far is enough for some people.
What I do admire is that these people are trying to follow their dreams.
I have attempted more than a few times to follow mine and even when I have failed, I felt good that at least I tried. I won’t look back at the end of life and say, what if I had ….
What is important is to realize your talents and then use them for good.
I have gotten away from some of the things I used to do to share my own talents, such as I volunteered years ago to wash and sew all the torn and worn puppets at the school and public library.
That may not seem like much, but to the children and library staff, I am sure it was appreciated.
Those people who can play instruments and sing, who offer to make their church services better, also share their talents.
Not everyone might make it to appear on America’s Got Talent, but by entertaining others, whether at church or at the nursing home, we are making America better.
So come out of the shower and sing, if that’s what you do best. Don’t hide what God gave you, even if it won’t get you to Vegas.

Marcia Steffens is the associate editor of the Niles Daily Star and editor of the Cassopolis Vigilant and the Edwardsburg Argus. She can be reached at: