I Will Forever And Always Be A Pittsburgh Penguin Fan

I Will Forever And Always Be A Pittsburgh Penguin Fan

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
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Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I bleed black and gold. I remember the Steelers winning Superbowls, cheering on the Pirates during the summer, and most importantly, the Penguins winning Stanley Cups. I am not on the bandwagon. Watching Pittsburgh sports teams is simply the way of life.

Even though I am no longer living in the area, I still watch the sports religiously. Whether it is on my laptop or in the lounge in my dorm, I always find a way to watch the game. I love all the sports teams, but hockey will always be my favorite.

I've always admired the teamwork of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. I remember watching Marc Andre Fleury as goalie, and now cheering on for Matt Murray. Watching Guentzel, Letang, Hörnqvist, Määttä, Rust, Sheary, and all the whole gang score goal after goal. On game days, I proudly wear my Phil Kessel shirt, even if those here in Philadelphia might glare at me for it.

With that being said, being a Penguins fan means knowing the PA rivalry between the Flyers and Penguins, hating Ovechkin, and hating Nashville during last year's playoffs and their catfish. You also praise Mario Lemieux as if he is god himself.

Hockey season is hands down the best season too. As a kid, especially in high school, my parents and I would get pizza and wings before the game. It was like a little ritual. Homework didn't exist when the puck dropped as whole focus was on the game at hand. I can even hear my dad screaming at the TV as if he was head coach if the other team scored. Hockey has been one of the many things that has made my dad and I bond too. We both get excited like children on Christmas when it's game day.

I also remember WDVE's skits and segments about Pens hockey like "Evgeni Malkin's diary" or the spinoff of The Ting Ting's "That's Not My Name" as if it were Malkin singing it.

If we were in the car, we didn't listen to music when the game was on. We always found a radio station that broadcasted the game and that would be our entertainment. My heart always raced hearing the excitement of the announcer calling the plays of each player. Our car would shake as if we were in the arena ourselves each time the goal horn would go off.

There is also this weird rush of happiness whenever a fight breaks on the ice. Maybe that is something we all acquire by loving hockey, or maybe it's just because I know the strength of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now, the Penguins, the best team around, are in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third year in a row. They crushed the Philadelphia Flyers and are moving on to round two to defeat the Washington Capitals. And you know I'm screaming "#3elieve" from the top of my lungs.

Cover Image Credit: The Hockey Writers

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Always Be The Overdressed Person In The Room

You'll make a better impression than being underdressed.

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I recently had jury duty (super exciting, I know) and I was stressing about what to wear. The notice said to wear something "appropriate for an appearance in court" but it also said that comfortable clothing was strongly suggested. I was confused and conflicted by these two sets of instructions, so I asked my family for help.

I had never served jury duty before, so I didn't know what to expect in any sense. I was on spring break from school so I brought home two different pairs of dress pants, two different nice shirts, my blazer, and a pair of black wedges to choose from. I also knew I had one more shirt at home to try out.

I tried on a few different combinations until I ended up with the wedges, fitted dress pants, a tank top, and the blazer. I felt great, I looked great, and I was ready to go.

Sitting in that room for six hours, just looking at everyone made me realize only about ten people were in business professional clothing. A decent amount of people were in business casual, but others were in completely casual clothes. I even saw a guy in Giants sweatpants and hoodie, and I realized that I was overdressed (but still comfortable).

I semi-recently realized that I tend to overdress for occasions. Could be something as simple as going to school or something as big as a celebration or an interview.

As I mentioned in my past article about having thick calves, I wore heels to school a lot in high school and I still do now in college. I love to wear dresses and skirts when it's nice enough to. For Christmas and Easter mass, my family and I wear suits and dresses while other families are in pajamas, sweats, jeans, and t-shirts.

I would always much rather be too dressy than not dressy enough. Heck, I wanted to wear a ballgown to prom (but I didn't). I love dressing up. I'm a very feminine person and I like to reflect that in my clothing style. I know that not everyone is like that and I don't expect you to read this and suddenly dress up every day. And when I say overdressed, I just mean dressier than you need to be.

If you're going somewhere and you're unsure of the dress code, take my advice and always overdress. It beats being underdressed and though you might end up getting looks either way, at least if you are overdressed, you'll have a confidence about you that won't go unnoticed.

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