Friday, 2 March 2012
 Swan Princess at her last feis, in which she took 3 first place, 2 second place, and 2 third place medals

Contrary to many stereotypes about women, Latina women, and writers I LOVE sports and movies about sports. Yes, even American football. Remember the Titans is a favorite of mine. I’m not an athlete, but in my family we ate, breathed, talked and dreamed futbol. My husband was athlete of the year his senior year of high-school, so it was only natural that when our kids came along, they’d be in sports.

Swan Princess, my first daughter, tried T-ball and futbol. She didn’t like it. She preferred ballet which has been a passion of hers since she was three years old. She’s now the youngest in her class and has such a grace and pose that seeing her dance takes my breath away.

A few years ago, we went to our city’s Summer festival, the Highland Fling, in which one of the performing groups was an Irish Dance group. Swan Princess was mesmerized, looking at the dancers with such admiration and longing that I still get chills when I remember that day she found her true love.

She’s been an Irish dancer ever since. She attends The Shelley School of Irish Dance (we’re so blessed to live just a few miles from one of Utah’s best Irish dance instructors!). Unlike my boys, whom I have to bribe and beg to practice, Swan practices several hours a day. All on her own. She never walks. She leaps and hops and dances instead. When she can’t dance, like at church or school, she goes over the steps with her fingers on her lap or the desk.

There are three major feiseana (competitions) here in Utah every year, and she’s always preparing for them. Since she’s now a preliminary champion, we’ll have to start traveling for her to have more opportunities to compete. Last night, I saw JIG, a documentary about the greatest Irish Dance competition of all: The World Championships.

The documentary follows several children, both boys and girls, in their journey to the tournament. Some of these kids are only ten years old! They have such passion and determination, that at the end of the show I was in tears. I had a greater desire to pursue my dreams with more dedication, to write with more passion, to do my time at the computer every single day.

Jig is available on Netflix and on Amazon video. In fact, I rented it for $2.99 for a whole week! I bought the DVD too because now it’s one of my favorite shows too.

What things inspire you? I hope this little trailer inspires you too 🙂

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Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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