The 2018 LSU Football Season Changed My Life

The 2018 LSU Football Season Changed My Life

I've loved LSU football my whole life, but my first year as an LSU Tiger watching the games live has changed my life. There is nothing like singing Callin' Baton Rouge with 102,320 of your closest friends as kick-off time grows closer. My first season in Tiger Stadium has changed my life and I couldn't be happier.

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Louisiana sports fans are a whole different breed of people. For LSU fans the saying "Live Purple Love Gold" goes way beyond sports. It is who we are and it is a major part of our lives. From infants to the elderly, the devotion to the Tigers is deeply rooted across the Sportsman's Paradise and across the nation. We are used to losing some and winning some — and we are definitely used to losing games we should have won and used to winning games we should have lost. That's something that makes our fans true blue. We love the team when they're down- and we love them when they're up.

This 2018 season has drug us through a whole range of emotions. We defeated the odds and beat Miami in the first week of the season. Two weeks later I sat and watched as we defeated Auburn by 1 point in a last-second field goal by none other than Cole Tracy. The 21-22 miracle was an answer to our prayers, as my friends and I literally knelt on the floor holding hands and prayed for the kick to be good. At that moment our season changed for the better.

Our happiness was further elevated two weeks later by defeating Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium — where the chance of rain is NEVER (even though we were soaked to the core by the end of the game). At the end of the night I had to throw away my favorite pair of white pants from the dirt and rain - but watching LSU beat another SEC team in Tiger Stadium for the first time live was worth every second.

Hoping our luck would stick and we would win, my friends and I trekked halfway across the country from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Gainesville, Florida to watch LSU take on their next opponent. Smuggling six (yes six) people across state lines in a four-person car is something I will never forget as long as I live. The drive there was only supposed to be eight hours, we made it in 14. The Tigers lost in the Swamp, but making a pit stop to play in the waves on the way home made up for it for sure. Our spirits were a little crushed, but as always we knew our Tigers would come back from it.

Our sadness quickly changed to elation again the next week as the Tigers beat the #2 team in the country at the time- the Georgia Bulldogs. I had never seen Tiger Stadium so full of life or heard it so loud. Storming the field after the victory was a moment that students and fans alike will never forget. If you could see us all carrying "souvenirs" out of the stadium for us to remember the game forever you'd understand how happy we were. I have scars on the back of my ankles from where I cut myself on the fence as I jumped over in my heels. As a girl who grew up in metro Atlanta and seeing all of her UGA fan friends so confused and upset - it was one of the best moments of my life.

The next week provided us a win over Mississippi State (once again in the pouring rain) and then a bye week to prepare for what every LSU fan dreads — Alabama. With #FreeDevinWhite all over campus and College GameDay setting up in the Quad, the anxious and ominous feeling surrounding Baton Rouge is a feeling I will never forget. Watching the purple and gold busloads of fans pour in town amazed me. Dedication to our team, knowing the outcome is uncertain, to say the least, is something LSU fans do best.

Our staggering loss against Alabama hurt our souls, but we never let it keep us down. After our weekend of mourning it was time to get back on with life. A win on the road against Arkansas and an absolute shutout against Rice all led us to the last game of the year- Texas A&M.;

Students at home for Thanksgiving, like me, all huddled around our TVs as we watched the 7 overtime game. 72-74. A game we should have won three times over. My heart hurt for all of the football players and fans in College Station that day. Our team deserved every point they got — and the ones they were cheated of. Those who were able to go to the game said they wouldn't change their decision, as this is a new LSU classic game.

Coming to LSU from out of state and being 500 miles from home I was terrified and scared for what was to come. I loved LSU and I loved football so I knew when the season started I'd be okay. Throughout this season I have made so many memories that I will carry for a lifetime. I will tell my children and grandchildren about the stories and adventures LSU football gave me this year. I have made friends that I would not trade for the world, who through thick and thin sat beside me on game day and every other day I needed them.

There isn't a second I would change or do over. I'd do it again and again if I could.

So win or lose on January 1 against UCF, it's still forever LSU.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo And Christian Yelich Have Put Milwaukee Back On The Map

Two small market teams making sure the world knows who they are

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"MVP" is currently being chanted around the city of Milwaukee and the people of Milwaukee aren't just talking about one person. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and Christian Yelich, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. Giannis is on the path to winning this year's NBA MVP and Yelich, who happened to win the NL MVP last year, is showing no doubts on potentially becoming this year's MVP as well.

Both the Bucks and the Brewers have struggled in the past few years. The Bucks finished their 2013-2014 season with a record of 15-67. On top of that, they have been playing in the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the past couple of decades. The Bradley Center was intentionally built for hockey and not basketball so attending games for the Bucks sometimes had you in the nosebleeds barely seeing what was going on on the court. The Bucks struggled after their 2013-2014 season with records of 41-41 (2014-2015) and 33-49 (2015-2016). Now, the Bucks have recently finished their regular season and moved to the playoffs. From 15-67 just five years ago, to now 60-22 which gave them the best record in the NBA, the number one seed in the East and home-court advantage, Giannis has proved himself as potentially one of the greatest players the NBA and the Bucks franchise will ever see.

The Bucks now have a new arena that opened this season, Fiserv Forum, which is built specifically for the Bucks (and Marquette) instead of hockey. Looking back on the Bucks in their previous years compared to now, the Bucks have sold out every single game this season. Something Milwaukee never thought they would see from being a small market team. From my experience, while working for the Bucks, you can see the difference in the crowd and feel their enthusiasm and excitement radiating off of the fans. And this is all thanks to Mr. Antetokounmpo who is making his mark here in Milwaukee. Giannis has won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November, December, February and March/April and even earned his spot as Eastern Conference captain for the All-Star game this year. Giannis may be considered in his prime right now, but he is only 24-years-old which means he has plenty of time to only make himself better.

The Brewers had won the NL Central Divison back in 2011 but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. After that, they struggled a bit and haven't won the title since until last year in 2018. He brought the Brewers to the NLCS last season, but unfortunately, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yelich had 36 home runs last season and already has eight (as of 4/16/19) this season. He happens to be a great right fielder as well. In last night's (4/15/19) game against the Cardinals, Yelich alone scored three home runs.

Miller Park has been filling up more and more each game of Brewers fans. Being a small market team like their cross-city friends, the Bucks, bringing home an MVP title as well as a division title, it makes everyone aware of their greatness and dedication. The season may have just started back up again, but there is no doubt, if Yelich and his teammates keep playing like they are right now, they will have another shot of making it to the World Series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich have brought and will continue to bring excitement and greatness to Milwaukee which is something the city hasn't seen in a while. This era of sports will surely be remembered for a long time by the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

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