Usta News

Getting to know USTA Professional member Kimberly Lehmann( Sat, Jan 9 00:01:AM)

“Getting to know you……… getting to know all about you.”

Not too long ago, USTA Professional member Kimberly Lehmann took her lifelong twirling experience from the northeast to the southeast. She recently spoke with USTA's Inside Loop about her twirling past and present and her hopes for the future for herself and our sport. Here's what she had to say:

Inside Loop: Tell us about your background in twirling, and your plans to continue coaching and judging, now that you've moved to the Sunshine State.

Lehmann: I have been involved in twirling since I was about five years old. My mom put me in ballet to help me get away from her "apron strings" and develop some independence. But, I wanted to be like the girls in the parade wearing medals. I started lessons from a local teacher in my town and loved it from the minute a baton was in my hand. I progressed super-fast and entered a competition a short while later. That's when I realized I was competitive and liked to win trophies, but also that I LOVED performing. I performed for various events and venues, but I think my most memorable performance was performing at Giants Stadium for Cosmos soccer and meeting superstars Pele, Chinaglia and Beckenbauer. I twirled for the University of Arizona Wildcats, and although I would not want to relive college itself, I would twirl for U of A in a nano second any day!! I had wonderful solo coaches - Brooks Going, Dale White, and Lauren Deery - as well as a team coach in Sharon Rubin. Twirling in New Jersey was challenging and some times isolating - but being on a New York Team filled that void and gave me a twirling family. I started teaching locally when I was 12 years old, but when I came home from college I really got more involved in coaching, choreography and I fulfilled my dream of becoming a judge. My thought was I want to give back to the sport that gave me so much in so many ways - some unseen - even to this day.

This New Jersey girl moved to South Florida just over a year ago, so my concentration had been in finding a job and trying to find my way around - LOL - I am a severely direction challenged person! Fortunately, I found a job that I love with ChildNet. During this time the pandemic hit. I miss teaching and judging so much, so now I will try to network, reach out to the Florida Council and hopefully word will get out that I am available to be involved in the sport that gave me so much in my life and that I love like no other.

Inside Loop: As a competitor from an early age and now a USTA Professional, how have you witnessed the growth of baton twirling through the years?  Any pluses and minuses in your eyes?
Lehmann: Wow, our sport has changed so much over the many, many (many) years I have been involved. One of the pluses is that we all know how unique and special our sport is. I think the twirling community's love, respect and awe of the performing arts - whether we are going to Broadway plays, DCI and WGI, or watching the many dance, ice skating competitions, or listening to music outside of the norm, etc. - has helped educate and expand our creativity or maybe allowed us to take more chances. Creativity is limitless and I like the way our mastery of baton handling, contact material and multiple batons has grown and intensified. It has made twirling more interesting to watch, especially for the non-twirling person. We have a passion and love for our sport that allows us to continue moving forward.

Perhaps as a negative - I would like to see less emphasis on the amount of illusions and walkovers. We have it in us to keep adding the spice of variety.
Inside Loop: What are three things that the baton twirling world would not know about you?
Lehmann: Oh gosh!  There are so many things!  Besides my family and furbabies - who mean EVERYTHING to me:
1. I LOVE animals - they are definitely my deepest passion (except snakes - ewwwww!). 2.  Cooking and baking - Yummy!  3.  Volunteering - helping people or causes that mean something to me, volunteering makes me whole.
Thanks, Kimberly, for sharing your story with us and helping us “Get to Know You!”