Columbus Shocks NHL World By Sweeping Lightning

Columbus Shocks NHL World By Sweeping Lightning

No one saw this coming, not even Jackets fans

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Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off one of the more historic upsets in the history of sports. Columbus swept the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in incredible fashion, dominating Tampa in every aspect. But this wasn't just a regular #1 seed, this was a 62 regular-season win, Presidents' Trophy-winning, NHL record-breaking team that Columbus absolutely dismantled. Nobody was giving Columbus a chance to win the series, much less sweep, including me.

I knew we wouldn't get swept, but to win in such an incredible fashion was beyond my wildest dreams. I went to game three with my boyfriend here in Columbus, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The atmosphere was electric, with 18,000 screaming Jackets fans on their feet cheering for their team. This series win is even more special for Columbus because it is the first time the Blue Jackets have won a playoff series in franchise history, and to do it in such spectacular fashion just adds to the excitement of sweeping one of the best teams in NHL history.

The stats in the series for Columbus really speak for themselves. Matt Duchene lead Columbus with 3 goals, and five other players are tied at 2 goals apiece in the series, including Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had a 2.01 GAA in the series, and only allowed eight goals over four games. Columbus outscored Tampa 19-5 after the first period of game one, and the Lightning had not lost three consecutive games all season until the Jackets came along. With players on all lines playing at high levels, if Columbus can keep up this level of play with this level of confidence, there's nobody Columbus can't compete with in their quest for the cup.

In other NHL news, almost all my first round predictions were very wrong, especially the fact that I had Tampa Bay winning the series in six games, but hey, that's why I don't predict playoff winners for a living. The Islanders swept the Pens, which made Tuesday even better, but the sweep also surprised the NHL. Nashville is up 2-1 over Dallas, Toronto is 2-1 over Boston, Winnipeg and St. Louis are tied at 2-2, Washington is up 2-1 over Carolina, Vegas is looking to win the series in game five over San Jose and is currently up 3-1, and Colorado is up 2-1 over Calgary. Columbus will play the winner of the Toronto-Boston series, which is looking to be a possible game seven dog fight. But regardless, we're very proud of Columbus and the team has a very good shot at winning the cup after their play in the Lightning series.

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Trust Me, You're Going To Miss It

Yeah, cheerleading is its own kind of Hell, but don't take it for granted.
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Last week, I spent close to three hours watching videos from the recent Cheersport Nationals, a huge cheerleading competition held in Atlanta, GA.

As an ex-cheerleader, one that cheered for close to 11 years, I felt the familiar ache in my stomach watching all the teams I had grown up watching and idolizing take the stage I had taken so many times in Atlanta. As I watched the excitement of the crowd and felt the adrenaline through the computer screen, I realized something that I hadn't thought about in years: I would never have that feeling again.

And while I gave up cheerleading willingly, and pretty happily, I hardly ever thought about all the old memories and feelings I associated with the big bows, tight uniforms and copious amounts of glitter. But now, for the first time in years, I felt sad to not be up on the stage with all of the other athletes, doing something that had driven me absolutely insane at times but that had also been such a huge part in my life.

Take it from me, an old washed up cheerleader, that would probably break half the bones in my body if I even attempted a front walkover, you will miss cheerleading. It doesn't matter if you're an all-star that grew up in a gym, or a high-schooler that fell in love with the sport while on the sidelines, a part of you will always wish you could walk back onto that stage and compete just one more time.

I and every other retired cheerleader will attest to it: You're going to miss it.

You're going to miss the love/hate relationship you have with your coaches after they've been screaming at you for the better part of two hours.

You're going to miss the bond you have with your teammates, some that you won't see again after that last competition.

You're going to miss the ache in your feet associated with convention centers, and all the naps you took on their hard, concrete floors.

You're going to miss the headache from your ponytail, and having everything you own be covered in glitter for months at a time.

You're going to miss that feeling you get in the split second between "It's on," and when the music and that first 8-count starts. The feeling that makes you feel as though you're going to throw up, not be able to move, and forget your entire routine all at once.

But most of all, you're going to miss the feeling after you hit the routine you and your team have been practicing for months and the adrenaline high that comes with it. The feeling of being on top of the world, that's a drug in itself.

SEE ALSO: 20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

So, while you have it, enjoy it. Because there are hundreds of ex-athletes that would absolutely kill to experience just one of those feelings again, and you get to have all of them.

Cover Image Credit: swishaaasweets.tumblr

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It's Been A Year And I Still Miss It

The memories with my teammates and coaches are remembered everyday.

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Never thought I'd say it but here I am. I am happy to say I am proud to be where I am today but the thoughts of never playing a sport again linger in my mind. Those emotions of anticipation and excitement when it comes to playing a sport are long gone. Sad to say I will never have butterflies before running a race, floor burns all over my knees and sweat mixed with softball dirt all over me.

The little aspects that I took for granted are what I remember the most. I am who I am today because of my coaches and teammates. Each and every sport came with a support system to fall back on and friendships that would last a lifetime. My coaches and teammates taught me life long skills that I will carry with me forever. They taught me the true meaning of dedication, teamwork, perseverance and respect. Yes, I love the game but the connections and memories I have built have impacted me. Especially, the times I have created with my teammates and coaches on the bus rides, practices and game days.

Those are the moments I will never get back. I will never forget the times my volleyball teammates and I would run over to Perkins after a win. We would eat junkie, greasy food till our tummies were full but during those moments we were all owning the moment while being young and careless. Even during track season my teammates and I found time to have fun while running rigorous workouts. I will never forget the mid-dance parties during track meets to keep our mind off of the stress of performing to our best ability. Softball season always seemed to be on the road, which meant plenty of bus rides with my teammates. Those hours of traveling were the best from the never have I ever games to singing along to great hits.

I will never get the chance again to compete in front of a crowd. The cheers and the roars of the fans is such a surreal feeling. Running on the blue oval was something I will never forget. As much as I hated the queasy, uneasy feelings before running, I would go back for it one more time. Stepping foot on the blue oval meant a great athlete once took those same steps I did. The moment my teammates, coaches and I clinched the win to go to State for the first time in school history was unbelievable. It was an accomplishment for us seniors, for our coaches, for our families and fans, for our school and for the past softball players. We did something that was never done before in school history and all I can say is I'm proud to have done it with the group of girls that I did.

Getting to state and playing with the best of the best is remarkable but what seemed to be even better was getting a victory against a city rival. Everyone came out for those games from grandparents to students to alumni. Our best performances were amongst us when competing against city rivals. Particularly, through volleyball, my teammates and I seemed to be hungrier for a win whenever it was a city rival. I guess, the best moments happened when we beat a cross-town rival. You could say we got bragging rights for the year.

To all the athletes out there competing in their last game, last match or last race, relish in those last seconds because before you know it you will never pick up a ball again, race in a relay or dance after a victory.

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