We Are Going To Miss You, Dale

We Are Going To Miss You, Dale

Even those of us not in Jr. Nation. You have been a huge part of this sport.
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I am not a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan of any sort. Only a slight few times have I ever cheered for him to win a race, mainly because my other favorites had wrecked out. At the beginning of this season, Dale announced that he would be retiring from NASCAR’s top series, the Monster Energy Cup Series. He has been in NASCAR’s top series for the last 19 years.

I have been watching NASCAR since I was about 7 or 8 years old -- now I am 20. I have not seen a NASCAR season without Jr. The closest I have come was when he was hurt in the 2016 season and was out three-quarters of the season. Even then, seeing another driver in his car, it was just plain odd to me.

If I'm being honest, I don't think I want to see a season without him.

NASCAR’s season runs from mid-February to mid-November. It is a very long season when it first started this year I knew that it would be a year all about Dale, and I have been right. Every track has used, ‘See Dale’s last ride’ or something of that nature. I was at his last race at Kansas Motor Speedway, and they said it what felt like every 10 laps. But now that Championship Weekend has rolled around, it has started to hit me. Dale is not coming back. I know it has and still is hitting Jr. Nation Hard, but now it is me too.

Dale has been the most popular driver for as long as I can remember, and I sit here now and wonder, who is going to take it next year? Part of me thinks that somehow, he will earn the title next year. He has an announcing job lined up for NBC, he should be better than Jeff Gordan. But how can Jr not be on the track? Its really something that has started to just creep up on me, but I can’t stop thinking of it, how can Jr not be in NASCAR. There is even a Twitter hashtag, #Appreci88tion, it has been used all year, but just about everyone. Most of the tracks have even given Dale a going away type gift.

I remember when Dale went from the 8 to the 88. Even then, that was a huge change. You can go to any given Walmart, especially during the summer, and you have a huge chance of seeing an 8 or now an 88 tattoo. It is just how life works. But what driver are people going to tattoo on themselves now who is the most popular? When Dale changed sponsors over the years, that has been a huge change. But is him not being in the car a change that NASCAR as a sport will ever get over?

Dale Jr., in a way, is a face of NASCAR.

You can go out into any town, anywhere in the United States and start going around to the people you see and asking them what they know about Dale Earnhardt Jr. You are going to get so many correct answers out of so many people. People that have never watched a single race, seem to know exactly who he is, or at least his number. I’m sorry, but that is a feat to how big he actually is.

This is a loss I’m not sure that NASCAR will ever get over. For anyone that watched NASCAR and watched his father, they basically saw Jr. grow up. Sure, he has never won a championship like his Dad, and it seems like forever since he got his last win, but it is Jr. If I am going to be honest, a large part of me doesn’t want him to go. Some people like to say that Dale has shaped NASCAR, I would agree with these people.

My best wishes are with Dale, his wife Amy and their child they will be having next year. Dale has been successful thus far in his life, so he will still be. But I hope that maybe one day he will come back as a driver. I mean, even if it is for one race. Dale, we are going to miss you on track.

Cover Image Credit: Zach Catanzareti

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20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."
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Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.

1. You always had bobby pins with you.

2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.

3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...

4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.

5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.

6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.

7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.

8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.

9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).

10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

SEE ALSO: How The Term 'Cheerlebrity' Destroyed Our Sport

11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.

12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.

13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.

14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.

15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.

16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.

17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.

SEE ALSO: Signs You Suffer From Post-Cheerleading Depression

18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.

19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.

20. There's always a part of you that will miss cheering and it will always have a place in your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Doug Pool / Facebook

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For Those Of You Boycotting Nike, Here Are 10 Times You Need To Just Stop It

There's no need to burn your gear.

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As everyone knows, Nike created an ad that included Colin Kaepernick and the white supremacists went wild. They began burning their Nike gear, and no longer want to support the brand.

1. Why? 

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There are two reasons why I think you are boycotting Nike and that is because either you are assuming the race of Colin Kaepernick or you are mad because he kneeled during the National Anthem. Either way, you have the right to boycott whatever you want. Boycotting is a great way to protest. However, you're going about it all wrong

2. Why are you mad? 

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If you're assuming this man's ethnicity, you are assuming. Check your facts, Kaepernick is American. If you are mad because he kneeled during the National Anthem, I do not understand why that is even an issue. Just like you are protesting Nike, the NFL players were protesting police brutality. So, really, your thinking is on the same level. People who protest want something to be corrected. What exactly do you want to be corrected?

3. Nike knew what they were doing

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Of course Nike knows what they're doing! Nike has been successful for years and they aren't going to stop because they aren't going to conform to whatever the majority wants, especially if they don't stand for it. Nike is a business, they have marketing strategies, and believe it or not, they are most likely going to blow up. If not, they'll do just fine. Nike employees many athletes and owns multiple other companies. The reality of it is, if you don't like what Nike stands for, they don't want your business and they don't care if you're gone.

4. Let’s be honest

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The majority of people burning or mutilating their Nike gear are people who splurge on such items when they've saved up enough money to buy something nice. You tore up one pair of socks? You burned one pair of shoes? Honestly, it's your own money wasted.

5. You look like a buffoon

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Seriously, the internet is making fun of you. You are burning your own clothes. Sure, be mad at the brand, boycott it if you must. But, really, Nike already has your money. It is a business, not a person, they don't care whether you burn their clothing articles because you already bought it. What are you going to do? Buy more socks to cut or keep buying the same socks you normally wear? I think the joke is on you. You have fewer clothes and less money.

6. It’s an article of clothing

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You're not bothering Nike but Nike is bothering you. Some people would be thrilled just to have a cool shirt or nice pair of shoes and would gladly take that swoosh off your hands. But you're too busy caught up in your own fury to even think of the people less fortunate than you, right? Clothes that are in good shape are taken so much for granted. Typically when people are done with their clothes they donate them to Goodwill…

7. Or the army

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Which seems to be one of the topics that some are so angry about. You talk about respecting the troops but don't think to donate an article of clothing that someone would not only be excited to have, but possibly need. Instead, you destroy it and hope someone's feelings get hurt. Keep in mind, businesses don't have feelings, people do.

8. If someone who cannot afford clothing saw you destroying it

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They would be distraught. Some people rely on thrift shops or donations just to live in habitable conditions. No one cares who you boycott or for what, but destroying a good pair of shoes, socks or even clothes for the sake of protesting is kind of dumb. Just donate whatever it is and don't buy from the company.

9. It’s not hard to be a good person and protest

Seriously, just donate your clothes. Figure out exactly what it is that you're mad about and decide whether it's worth the trouble. Making it public that you're angry about a small thing results in more people making fun of you and supporting where you lack; it doesn't matter whether you're buying from the company or not.

10. There’s a reason why people are making fun of you for burning your clothes

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It's because everyone else sees that this issue should not be an issue. People have their clothes and wear them, whether the brand is getting a bad rap or not. You're mad at Nike for creating a commercial with someone they have been sponsoring for years who kneeled during the national Anthem to protest the victims of police brutality. It was a one time thing, and like you, they were protesting.

11. If you can be mad at that, you can be mad at things that matter

If you can spend all this energy on one small thing, you can protest things that actually matter, police brutality, for example. It's okay not to like something, but this isn't an issue. Michigan still doesn't have clean water, many people need affordable healthcare, there are people who live on the streets and need food, and global warming is a serious problem. There are way bigger issues than someone kneeling during the National Anthem. So, how will you help the world?

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