by Maddie Mason, Eddie Bates, Jamie Gilbert-Fitzpatrick
Senior Josh Bristow is living a story of the ages, stuck in a war between two worlds; one on the fifty yard line, the other, center stage.
“Dance is the biggest change [to my high school life] without a doubt,” Josh said. “Before [dance], I got involved in all these science orientated things, and I lost a passion for it.”
He found himself asking, “What am I going to do?” It was at that moment that he discovered ‘The Wiz’–a theatrical version of Wizard of Oz–and history soon followed suit.
“I auditioned for the Wiz my [sophomore] year in high school, and I got the lead role as the cowardly lion,” Josh said. “During the first rehearsal for dance I was really struggling with [the dance] and I asked [dance instructor] Ms. Haynes, ‘Hey so what can I do to get better?’ and she said, ‘Take my class.’”
And that was the start what Josh now describes as “his passion.” But there was just one problem. Josh was still on the varsity football team.
That issue became a bigger and bigger problem the more Josh missed football practice to go to dance recitals. His absences caught notice of the varsity head coach, Tom Knotts.
“I had a meeting with Coach Knotts and he said, ‘Well if you don’t come to conditioning today then you are off the team,’ and I didn’t go.” Josh said.
After Josh’s resignation from the team, he decided that telling his parents would be catastrophic. His dad breathed football.
“[Before, my dad] would come to every single game, he would be there early, stay late,” Josh said. “He would stop at the drop of a hat and leave his job and do everything to make sure that I had what I needed to be successful in football.”
However his family’s passion for Josh’s new hobby was less than stellar.
“I didn’t see him at ‘The Wiz’ until the last night because I made him go. I didn’t see him at the dance concert until the last night because I made him go,” Josh said. “You could tell that because I was not doing what he wanted me to…the relationship was definitely different.”
There to guide him through those now strenuous times with his family was Ms. Haynes.
“[Haynes] is the best person I’ve ever known. She is the one that knew all of this information right as it happened to me. She was my confidant, she was the one that helped me through it. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know where I’d be.” Bristow said.
Two years later, Josh reflected back on that transition.
“[It was] really difficult because the thing that I didn’t like was taking me away from the thing that I loved,” Josh said. “I would say I’m very happy [now], interestingly enough, me and my dad are better than ever. I’m loving my dance experiences whether it is in school or out of it.”
Currently, Josh is the head of the newly founded Drama club and has been in two school musicals this year. Also he dances competitively for the Dance Dept. For him, nothing quite compares to acting.
“When I’m on the stage my goal is to touch someone through my performance.” Josh said. “If not, thats ok, but I know for a fact that I am going to do the best to my ability, to go out there and touch someone’s life with my performance. That’s much better than any touchdown.”