kitty valencia

Somewhere I Belong

By Kitty Valencia

For most of my life, I’ve struggled to fit in. I’ve always been a little quirky and misunderstood. I had a hard time relating to my peers when I was younger, in large part due to my inability to succeed at sports. I hated sports growing up because I was laughably bad at everything. I come from a very athletic family, and was required to try one sport each year. And I did try. I attempted to do soccer, dance, gymnastics, hockey, golf, volleyball, swimming, ice skating and more. I’m just not naturally good at these things. I am clumsy, uncoordinated, about as flexible as a lead pipe, and small. I was often overpowered by others simply because of my size. Eventually I gave up on sports, and found a love for performing arts instead. It took time, but I accepted the fact that I was meant to be a theater kid, not a star athlete.

Fast forward a few years, and I finished college in May of 2020, the worst possible time in history. It was a struggle to find work throughout 2020 and 2021. I moved to Denver hoping to find better opportunities, but I had no idea where my career was going. One night as I was walking out of a concert, I saw a sign for axe throwing. At the time, I didn’t think of it as a sport, but as a fun activity. They were closed that night, but it stayed on my mind and I knew I absolutely had to try it. About a month later, I saw that they had a job opening, and decided to apply. I was tired of getting rejected for office jobs, and felt like I had nothing to lose by applying for something fun. No axe experience necessary, but experience speaking in front of crowds was preferred. Sure enough, I got the job, and that’s where my axe throwing journey began.

And I was terrible at it.

This was once again, a sport that I wasn’t naturally good at. It took me a solid month to kinda get the hang of it. This time I was determined to do better, and over time, I slowly improved. I’m not the best, and I don’t think I ever will be. But I’m proud to say that I’m good at it.

I’ve taken all these experiences, and used it to be a better coach. I often have customers who are reluctant to try throwing an axe; their reasons vary from their size, age, disability, and some are just shy. I empathize with them, and encourage them to give it a go. With the right techniques, I usually have them sticking it within a few minutes. The look on a customer’s face when they prove to themselves that they CAN do it, is priceless.

As for myself, I finally found the place where I belong. This job is so much fun, and allows me to put my entertainment skills work. Everyone in this community has been nothing but kind and accepting. American Axes is by far the best place I’ve ever worked, I think our entire team and our members are incredible. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to do this every day. I’m truly living my dream here!