5 Reasons Why You Should Play Soccer

5 Reasons Why You Should Play Soccer

Trust me, it's awesome.

When I was eleven, I was lost. I didn’t have a core group of friends who were willing to stay together no matter what. I was just barely out of elementary school when my friend’s dad offered me a spot on his soccer team. I soon found out that a few of the girls from my school were on the team and I subsequently said yes. We were the Rock Creek Valley Griffins, and we were terrible. But that isn’t the point. The point is that being on this team gave me the friends I never knew I needed and taught me a lot along the way. So here are five lessons I have learned from playing soccer!

1. Teamwork

You’re probably thinking that every sport requires teamwork, which isn’t wrong. But, teamwork in soccer is different. There are no plays to be executed like in football or basketball, nor is it a stop and go type of game that requires minimal interaction with others. Soccer is all about communication; it teaches kids skills they could not get anywhere else.

2. Patience

If you are not a patient person, then this is the sport that will teach you that. Yes, soccer is fast and requires thinking quickly on your feet. But half of the time you are waiting for the ball to come to you and you need to WAIT. Think before you act.

3. Leadership

Especially when you are young, you have no idea how to lead a group of people. Usually, you’re fine just being a follower and waiting for someone else to step up. In soccer, you can’t do that. This is a sport in which you become a leader every time you have the ball on the field. You have to decide whether to keep it and shoot or pass it because you don’t have a clear shot. It is your job to keep the other team from stealing the ball from you. In that moment, it is all on you. All of soccer is about making the right decision as a leader.

4. Work Ethic

When you are on the field, you are never allowed to give up. Whenever the ball crosses the middle of the field into your half, everyone needs to spring back to keep the other team from making a goal. You always need to be hypervigilant even when you are on the sidelines. The second you stop paying attention or you stop running, you are done. Soccer teaches you to never ever stop trying.

5. Physical Health

If you eat something unhealthy before a game, you will feel it when you play. The cramps and lethargy will be too real. If you don’t go to practice or work out every day, you will feel awful. Arguably the most important aspect of soccer is that it teaches you the importance of maintaining your physical health. If you do not take care of yourself, you are essentially screwed in this sport and in life. Working out and eating well boosts your self-esteem, helps you perform better in school, keeps you more alert, and makes sleeping more effective than if you do not play.

Cover Image Credit: Michael Goldberg

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An Open Letter To High School Athletes In Their Senior Season

For those athletes that have handed or will hand in their jersey. This one is for you.

As I’m sure you know senior year is an exciting time. You’re the “big dogs”, as my teachers would put it, of the whole school. This is the year you are able to do all the things you’ve waited for the past three years. You can sleep in every morning because you don’t have class until nine or leave school early because you don’t have a last hour class. It’s great, right? Right.

However, this year, although it’s arguably the best year of high school, could also be the hardest. No, not hard because of classes or homework or actually having to decide on a college. Hard because it’s full of lasts. Last Homecoming, last spirit week, last Sadie’s, last school pictures, last musical.

And for many, the last time you’ll wear that jersey.

Of all the lasts that will happen this year, that has to be toughest one. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that will continue playing your chosen sport into college. Congratulations if that’s the case for you and I hope you continue playing as long as you can.

For those athletes that have handed or will hand in their jersey. This one is for you.

When you started as a freshman four years ago, you might have had little clue what the coming years would bring. As all freshmen do, you dreamed of making varsity and playing in every game, or earning as many medals as you could. The possibilities were endless.

Now here you are, in your senior year. Maybe you’ve won a state title or two. Maybe you’ve set new school records. Maybe even state records. No matter the case you’ve played your heart out for the past four years on the field and court. You’ve woken up at five in the morning for workouts and practices. And you’ve stayed until ten at night trying to get every play in the book fixed into your brain. You’ve spent your Friday nights under those nights no matter what the weather was like, rain or snow. You’ve spent your Saturdays at volleyball tournaments and your Sundays resting knowing that Monday’s practice would be a rough one. You’ve missed nearly a whole day of school for track meets or games that were just that far away.

You have had tan lines like crazy from your tennis uniform. Softball and baseball players have one hand darker then the other and golfers have legs three shades lighter than their arms. If you were like me you'd complain about how bad your tan lines looked in homecoming pictures (thank you tennis).

It never seems like it's your last year until senior night comes along. At least that's when it hit me. Then the next thing you know the season is over and you're handing in the uniform you've had the past couple of years.

So when you go to hand in that jersey or uniform remember the last four years. I hope you remember all the bus rides to and from games laughing with your teammates. The team dinners before games and the banquets to celebrate the season. All those early morning practices you dreaded until your coach came walking in with a box of doughnuts. All the games, win or lose, rain or shine, windy or hot. All the bruises and cuts you got that seemed to take ages to go away. Every practice you had to run extra for having too many fouls or turnovers. The pep rally’s for the first game of the season. The way you felt when you made that three, scored on a serve, caught that pass, or won that medal.

Because that chapter is or is almost over. The past four years you have been an athlete, I hope you showed it in every way. One day you won’t be an athlete anymore, so take this time to enjoy it and play with every ounce of passion you can.

Cover Image Credit: Rebekkah Wamser

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Here's What I Learned Going To A Gun Range

First of all, remember to put on earmuffs.

Over Spring Break, my roommate and I decided to try out a couple of activities we've never done before. We decided to visit the gun range to experience something that is very present in our lives. Coming from a country where private ownership of guns is largely outlawed, I first encountered a drawn gun during the USC Fertitta shooter scare of 2017.

Even so, I can say that I am 'familiar' with guns, and by that, I mean it's everywhere-- in movies, video games, and other media. Branding a gun looks so effortless when the hero of the movie jumps in to save the day, but knowing that real life is never like the movies, I wanted to experience what shooting a gun is truly like.

I started to sweat profusely the moment I entered the gun club lobby. All sorts of guns were hanging on the walls, and the sounds coming from the range were LOUD. After getting our gun (AK-47), ammunition, and protective gear, we headed to the range-- WITHOUT OUR EARMUFFS ON.

It was such a common sense thing to do, but our nerves got the best of us. My heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach when that shot went off, and my ears were ringing for about a minute.

It took us a while to gather ourselves and make sure everything was on. The first thing that hit me when I first entered the room was the smell. I guess that's what they meant in novels when they describe the smell of gunpowder.

Then, it was time to shoot.

What I was most afraid of was the kickback, because I hear about people getting hurt from the force. But when I pulled the trigger, the thing that made me jump was the sound-- not the smell or the kickback. The sound wasn't only loud, but very distinct and punctuated-- it took me by surprise even though I was expecting it.

After a couple of rounds, and lots of pictures, we were done.

It was a learning experience; I had never held such a powerful weapon in my hand, and I went in knowing that it's not a toy that you hold and look cool in.

I would definitely do it again.

Cover Image Credit: freephotos.cc

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