Living a Double Life: Creativity Behind the Athlete 

Photo of Mikhail Whyte (’22)

By: Sara Rose

Mikhail Whyte: popular on the basketball court for his swift moves and lightning strikes at the hoop. His fame on the Shorecrest court certainly indicates that Mikhail has a bright future ahead of him. Teammates have described him as a great teammate and an inspiring leader. Among his many talents is his ability to maintain a calm and collected demeanor. But does Mikhail have more planned than just aiming for the hoop and earning golden scores?

There is another world for Mikhail Whyte, one more individualistic, artistic, and untamed. One that works with needles and threads, embroidering rich colors and intricate patterns. A world that no one can take away from Mikhail. He is as much of a star in this world as he is on the basketball court.

Photo of Mikhail’s art pieces

What has inspired this star to begin his dual passions for art and basketball? Mikhail answered, “I’ve always played basketball. I love the sport, and after only playing two games last year, I really looked forward to getting on the court.” In discussing his growing passion for the sport, he added that he learns from the healthy challenges posed by working on a team and has developed lifelong strategies that he continues to apply to many other aspects of his life. This can be seen in his love for art, which he says grew from curiosity and a longing for creativity. “I think that my love for fashion and art made me realize that I want to learn more about it.” 

Mikhail received the support that fostered this creativity from Charla Gaglio of the Studio Art Department. “I love Ms. G! She’s taught me lots of things, and I knew she would help me find a way to connect both art and fashion,” he said. Gaglio’s tips regarding needlework, canvas sizes, and color choices have allowed him to take huge risks in creating his art pieces. Furthermore, her classes have offered him a diverse and challenging combination of both media and criteria that continue to challenge and engage him. Mikhail is the first art student at Shorecrest to use cloth and needles on painting canvases, which has proven a huge inspiration to his peers. Mikhail balances his passion for art, which is independent in its purest form, with basketball, which demands teamwork.  

It can be difficult to balance these constantly transforming and growing existences, so how does Mikhail manage to harmonize both art and basketball? Mikhail responded, “I always prioritize my school work, so being organized is a huge thing. My practices end pretty late some nights, so if I need to get work done and/or brainstorm for a new project, I make sure I write down what I need to do or set a reminder in my phone.” With Mikhail getting ready to transition into college, his focus on organization is key. However, he not only manages but even thrives significantly despite these challenges.

It is often said that one becomes a better person through embracing and engaging with their passions, but is this the case for Mikhail? Mikhail replied, “By doing both basketball and art, I get to meet great people and experience new things. I don’t know if that makes me a better person per se, but I try my best to connect with the people I work with.” 

Mikhail’s friends, peers, teachers, and coaches often openly ask about whether he prefers one passion over the other. To this, he usually replies, “I wouldn’t say I have a favorite. Both decrease the amount of stress in my life and both make me extremely happy!” From Mikhail’s journey to find contentment and joy by engaging in his dual passions, we can see that it is important for us to not only discover but also foster and dive into our own passions as they are what allow each and every one of us to be simply happy. 

Mikhail Whyte is popular on the court and in the art room as well. Challenging and conducting himself well with his teammates during this year’s great basketball season, alongside fellow artists too. As a result, Mikhail is able to rise above negativity and embrace the supportiveness of his community, creating a world of characterization, determination, and freedom.

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