5 Female Athletes Who Are Kicking As Much Butt On The Court As They Are Off It

5 Female Athletes Who Are Kicking As Much Butt On The Court As They Are Off It

Check out these amazing women who are doing more than just dominating sports.
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Being a professional female athlete is very empowering. As a young athlete myself, I often looked up to other professional athletes for inspiration. When I was still swimming, I looked up to great women such as Jessica Hardy, Amanda Beard and Missy Franklin. I looked to these women for inspiration to get me through my next workout, inspiration for working hard or just inspiration for when I was having a bad day and needed a little pick-me-up. But these days, I, and many other people, have been looking up to professional athletes for the charitable work they have done in addition to the hard work they show in their respective sport. As far as charitable athletes go, often times male athletes are mentioned more often than their female athletes counterparts. This by no means mean that female athletes are not as charitable. Charity is not defined by how much you give, but by how much you care. Here are my top five charitable female athletes:

Ronda Rousey

Everyone already knows she's an all around bad ass. She's held onto her undefeated title in the UFC (I still see her as undefeated despite her most recent knockout in Melbourne), cleans up the best when it comes to the red carpet, and makes charity a priority with her busy lifestyle. Rousey, like many other female athletes, addresses the issues of body image, something both men and women struggle with on a daily basis. Her "Don't Be a D.N.B" campaign contributes proceeds to the Didi Hirsch for their work in mental health services and for women with body image issues. Check out Rousey's website for more on what a D.N.B is and what the cause means to her, here.

Serena Williams

She's a major force to be reckoned with on the tennis court and is even more of force off the court in her charity work. Williams has received numerous awards for her charity work including the Celebrity Role Model Award from the Avon Foundation for her work fighting breast cancer and the Young Heroes Award for her support of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Williams' charity work focuses on two main areas: helping individuals or communities affected by senseless violence and ensuring equal access to education. Williams is an avid UNICEF ambassador, becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2011. She also funds a national scholarship with Beyond the Boroughs who sort through thousands of applications in search of finding worthy recipients. She also works with Build Africa Schools which works in rural Uganda and Kenya to help communities escape poverty through education and livelihood projects. Her Caliber Foundation supports victims, families and communities who have been devastated by illegal gun violence. This issue lies close to Williams' heart as she lost a sister to senseless violence. It's easy to see that Williams' is not only number one in WTA women's singles, but also when it comes to passion for helping others.

Misty Copeland

What many people don't know about Copeland is that she was constantly rejected by dance companies for "not having the right body for a ballerina" and "being too old" when she applied. But she triumphed over these outlandish accusations and recently become the first female African American principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre this year in June. You go girl. Now if you haven't seen Copeland's stunning grace and amazing body she shows when she's dancing, then you're missing out. So check that out here, and then head over to Copeland's website to learn more about her inspiring story here. Copeland first started dancing at the Dan Pedro Boys & Girls Club when she was 13 and to this day is an active member of the BGCA. She is extremely committed to opening doors for more girls, no matter their age or background, to discover ballet and achieve their dreams. You can often find her spending time with kids at local clubs in the New York area. And to top it all off, in 2014 President Barack Obama appointed her to the President's Council of Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Maria Sharapova

It's easy to assume that this gorgeous Russian tennis prodigy spends her million dollar earnings on only materialistic things. But you would be mistaken. Sharapova makes large donations to the Great Ormond Street Hospital that are made up of her hard earned money. She's known for her big heart, especially when it comes to kids. Not only does she donate her a part of her earnings, she also contributes her time and effort. She is heavily involved with the Variety-the-Charity's Charity whose core goal includes giving children access to modern technology. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United National Development Program which has various programs designed to improve and develop the lives of people in developing countries. The tennis star also shows her global involvement through her participation in the charity, Sole 4 Souls. Each year, the organization gathers around 10 million pairs of shoes and distributes them to those in need. Sharapova gave her time, money and effort to this project.

Kristi Yamaguchi

We are all very familiar with her tremendous Olympic success and on-ice grace and beauty, but what many people don't know about Yamaguchi is that she's been helping children since 1996 when she founded the Always Dream Foundation. The organization assists young children by funding after school programs that aid them with improving reading and literary skills as they grow. The organization also provides supplies and help to underprivileged children and summer camps for kids with disabilities. Yamaguchi's passion or children's learning and encouraging them to achieve their dreams has paid for everything from clothing to computers. Always Dream also partners with Raising a Reader to use technology to help students learn at a dozen schools in the California Bay Area. Check out what Always Dream is up to these days here.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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5 Tasks The Detroit Pistons Must Do To Change The 8th-Seed Stigma

After speaking with my lawyer, blackmailing Tom Gores into selling the team is off the table.

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The Detroit Pistons returned to the NBA playoffs following a three-year hiatus. Unfortunately, the newest acquisitions to the coaching staff and roster weren't enough to change the narrative of Detroit Pistons basketball and first-round playoff sweeps. Milwaukee dominated the Pistons into a third-consecutive first-round playoff exit since 2009. What can the new titleholders of the NBA consecutive playoff game loss record do to revitalize their early 2000s reign as tenacious contenders within NBA's Eastern Conference?

1. Don't trade Andre Drummond

With the 9th pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Andre Drummond from the University of Connecticut. Throughout Drummond's six years in the NBA, he continues to adapt, learn, and overcome the adversity surrounding his athleticism and play-style.

The 2018-2019 NBA season was arguably best offensive and defensive season for the 25-year-old center. Trading the three-time NBA total rebound champion that led the league in defensive win shares the past two years is not the answer to our problems.

2. DEFINITELY (and I can't stress that enough) trade Jon Leuer

Jon Leuer received a four year, 24 million dollar contract in 2016 under the management of Stan Van Gundy. As Pistons fans suffering slowly comes to an end, we still have an opportunity to trade Leuer to acquire a player or draft picks that are basically guaranteed to prove more beneficial than Leuer's inconsistent run as a backup power forward.

The Detroit Pistons trading for Thon Maker mid-season was the nail in the coffin for Leuer's run as a Piston, finishing the season averaging 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds throughout 41 games. We're already paying Josh Smith $5.3 million to sit at home and watch us get swept in the playoffs, we don't Jon Leuer sitting on the bench doing the same thing.

3. Acquire size, strength and defense on the wings

Whether it's in the NBA Draft, a trade (hopefully involving Jon Leuer) or even a free agency signing this off-season, the Pistons desperately need to establish depth of wing players. Currently, the Pistons don't have a single small forward on the team.

The Pistons current depth chart (considering we do not re-sign any expiring contracts) is made up of a single point guard, five shooting guards, three power forwards and one center. A wise man once advised the Pistons to use their size and strength to "form a fuckin' wall." Without small forwards, forming a wall isn't an option and mismatches will be an easy exploit for larger teams.

4. Weigh every option with the 15th draft pick

Due to our past drafting history, it's crucial for the front office and coaching staff to weigh every option before we use our 15th overall draft pick. It's common knowledge Detroit has struggled when it's come to the NBA Draft. The narrative began after skipping over talents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2003 and most recently with Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent drafts.

Trading the pick away, trading down in the draft, even trading up in the draft must all be considered. Shopping the draft pick should rank above using it specifically based on our shameful lack of cap space. The Pistons' picks in the 2019 NBA Draft are the only elusive assets Detroit has left until 2020.

5. Find a legal way to force Tom Gores to sell

Since blackmail is illegal, how about brainwash? Tom Gores bought the struggling team in 2011 for $325 million since then not much has changed. He's proved he isn't capable of responsibly owning the team after allowing Stan Van Gundy to take over as head coach and president of basketball operations on top of approving ridiculously priced contracts for players. I'm grateful he gave the Pistons a shot to prove themselves when rumors of relocation circled like vultures but it's time to move on.

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