An Open Letter To The Struggling Athlete

An Open Letter To The Struggling Athlete

Sports can consume your life, and sometimes all you need to do is step away and breathe.
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As many of you know, I play Division I golf at Arkansas State University. Almost everyone from my hometown knows me as "the girl who golfs". Growing up I absolutely loved this because it was the main thing I was known for, and quite frankly, it was for good reason. However, my first semester of college athletics was not exactly what I had hoped for. Although I've just gone through the hardest three months of my life, I would like to reflect upon it and hopefully help someone else who is feeling the same way.

Let me start out by saying that by writing this article, I'm also helping myself understand my own feelings, and how I can make them more positive. If you're an athlete or have been competitive with anything in the past, you know there are times where nothing goes right and it begins to consume your entire life. It's what we do. No matter how much someone says to us "it's just a sport" we will continue to make it the center of our thoughts and everyday life. Although this may seem unhealthy, it's simply what successful people do. If you want something bad enough, it's all you think about. However, sometimes this can become detrimental to not only your athletic performance, confidence, and love for the game, it can also affect other areas of your life as well.

Now let me give you some background on why I was moved to write this article. Growing up I played many sports but focused just on golf in high school. I made a lot of sacrifices as a teenager. I missed football games, trips, and other social events, in order to go a step farther than my competition. I wanted to be the best and eventually become a Division I golfer. Thankfully, my hard work and dedication ended up paying off for me. However, I didn't realize at the time that signing my national letter of intent wasn't an end to my story, it was the beginning. Throughout my entire athletic career, I've had many ups and downs. Golf is especially one of those sports that includes a lot of inconsistency due to the weather, style of course, etc. When I came to college, everyone I knew, and I myself had very high expectations for my college athletic performance. I was made to golf and I was right where I needed to be.

The only way I can describe my first semester of college athletics is a blur. I simply was not myself. The confident and successful athlete I was in high school was not showing through at the college level. I struggled with understanding why I was performing the way I was, and why this was happening to me. I did not qualify for a single tournament this fall. If you know me, you know that's not something I would be ok with, at all. For three months I simply did the bare minimum with golf for the first time in my life. I did what I was told, but didn't do more like I usually do. It began to show. The sadness and hatred I associated with golf was disheartening. I had never felt so negatively about my passion in my entire life. It wasn't until I had a meeting with my coaches after the season that I personally realized what had occurred.

The hardest part about coping with a below average season is being able to clearly understand how to handle it. At first, I didn't even know what to think. I questioned my athletic ability and my love for the game. However, after taking a week or so off of golf completely, I realized some separation was all I needed. Whether you're a high school athlete, college athlete, or play any competitive sport, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to step away for a while. Although a week might not seem like a long enough amount of time for a "break", it is. College athletes have extremely busy schedules and it is very easy to get caught up in the stress and quick pace of everyday life. Realizing you need a break is the most important part. In the past, I would neglect my stress and continue to push myself because I thought if I wasn't always giving 110%, I wasn't trying my best.

Sports are a way of unifying people from all over the world, which is why they are such a large part of our culture. Athletes everywhere push themselves every single day to get better and become the best. Some become successful, some don't, some lose their passion, and some stop because of injuries. No matter what your story is, just remember that it really is just a sport. At the end of the day, the people who truly care about you won't judge you for how poorly or well you did. The sun will still shine tomorrow, and life will go on. It sucks, it really does, but giving up would even worse. If you truly love the sport you play, never stop trying to improve yourself. The earlier you realize that you can't control everything in your life, the sooner you will reach a more positive and successful point. Like my dad always says, "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey."


Cover Image Credit: tumblr

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The Heart Of A Champion: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods inspires millions with fifth Masters title and the comeback of a lifetime.

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Tiger Woods. What do you think of when you hear that name?

For me, it is golf, champion, goat. Tiger Woods rose to success and won his first masters in 1997. The hunt was on, and the mission, be the best golfer the of all time. But Tiger's story started long before the 1997 masters it began as a toddler learning the basics of golf from his father at the ripe young age of 3 years old.

At that age, Tiger had one dream. Become a better golfer than Jack Nicklaus. With this win in 1997 Tiger began his quest to be the greatest of all time. He picked up back to back masters wins in 2001 and 2002 and a fourth in 2005 tying that of famed golfer Arnold Palmer. Along the way, he picked up 14 major championships as captivated audiences everywhere. Tiger put golf on the map in the 2000s and brought new energy and a new attitude towards the game.

Suddenly at the pinnacle of Tiger's success and as many thought, he would soon surpass Jack Nicklaus tragedy struck. On Thanksgiving of 2009, Tiger was in a car accident that was caused in part by his wife discovering that he had been cheating on her. This was only the beginning for Tiger's downward spiral. As more and more mistresses came out claiming to have slept with the golfer and being caught driving under the influence, his reputation and image continued to be tarnished.

When Tiger finally returned to golfing he just was not the same.

He lacked passion, excitement enthusiasm. He was just plain bad. He missed putts, drove balls into the woods and was facing competition tougher than ever. He was among a host of new faces in the PGA. Professionals that had grown up inspired by Tiger and not afraid to challenge him. Tiger would go on an eleven-year drought without winning a single major competition and had many believing Tiger would never return to the dominance he once held. With numerous nagging injuries, it seemed that all hope for Tiger's return and his lifelong goal of beating Jack Nicklaus and becoming the best golfer in history seemed utterly unattainable.

However, after five years winless in PGA tours, in September of 2018, Tiger wings a tour and had many speculators wondering if Tiger was on his return. Tiger went into Augusta this past weekend at 12th in the world and from the beginning of the tour on Thursday all eyes were on Tiger. He seemed laser focused and played with a determination we had not seen from Tiger in over a decade.

As the final round on Sunday approached Tiger had placed himself in the running tied for second place. Sunday it was Tiger's day. He came dressed in the classic red shirt that he wears on every Sunday at the Masters and there was a feeling that it was Tiger's show. Sunday he came in poised and determined to win and played with a passion that only Tiger has. He was gaining roars from the crowd with each stroke. Finally, after 11 years Tiger had done it. He won his fifth masters only one behind Jack Nicklaus and first major in 11 years.

On Sunday Tiger taught us to never give up on a dream and that through adversity and hard times you that through hard work and dedication you can still be the best.

Battling through the injuries, the scrutiny and the tarnished reputation Tiger was able to once again inspire millions and show that we are all humans we all make mistakes and he taught us to apologize for our mistakes, learn from them, make you better and that everyone deserves a second chance because nobody is perfect but through hard work, determination, the drive to never give up and having passion for what you do and understanding that you do make mistakes and how you learn from them showed millions of fans young and old that you can do anything you set your mind to.

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