To The Girl Wearing My High School Jersey, It's Your Turn Now

To The Girl Wearing My High School Jersey, It's Your Turn Now

You play for the team on the front and the number on the back.

To the girl who wears my jersey,

It is your turn now. This jersey represents your school. This jersey represents your team. This jersey represents you.

Wear your jersey with pride. Play through every whistle, every buzzer and run through every finish line.

You get four years.

You get four years to make people remember you.

If they don't remember your name, they will remember your number.

If they don't remember your skill, they will remember your attitude.

Every player is remembered by something.

You are playing for the number on the back and the team on the front.

Be the girl who left it all out there.

Be the girl who will leave high school with no regrets or thoughts of "if I would've given a little bit more."

Be the girl who wears her jersey with confidence.

Be the girl who can look back at these four years and think "if I could, I would do it all over again."

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Hartley

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18 Lessons That 4 Years Of Marching Band And Color Guard Taught Me

That one time at band camp...

In high school, I dedicated four years of my summers and falls to marching band, specifically color guard. Of those four years, I was in a leadership position for three. Let me just say, marching band picked me up by my attitude and threw me to the ground. As I look back on my time in marching band, I realized just how many things it taught me.

1. Keep your chin up, shoulders back, and chest forward... always

It is something that all band nerds know by heart, what all of our directors have yelled at us while our bodies are covered in sweat and all we really want to do is sit down and take a drink of water. My director told us to always carry ourselves with pride, even in the worst weather, even when you feel like you are despicable and worthless, you pick your chin up, put your shoulders back, and put your chest forward.

You got this. I cannot tell you how many times before an exam or interview that I stand at attention and hear her voice in my head, and my confidence is instantly boosted.

2. Always listen to and respect your peers

Marching bands are set up in sections, each with a section leader, who happens to be one of your peers. From the very start, you are forced to listen to one of your peers. The level of respect that I learned to have for others the first year in band shaped the rest of my high school life.

3. Never be afraid to book it to reach your endgame

When running drill, there have been multiple times when I have had to "book it" to get to my dot. I have learned that when I need to get somewhere, I should not be afraid to push myself to get to that point. So what that I might be tired or I do not want to do it, I still have to get to my dot. If you have to book it, you have to book it. Don't let anyone stop you from getting to your dot.

4. You're never as cold as you were that one game you forgot to wear your Under Armour

You might think that you're cold, but remember that one game at the end of the season that you thought that it wasn't cold enough to wear your Under Armour and that you would be fine, and then it was halftime and you couldn't feel anything and wow, it's cold... and then you realize that you will never be that cold again, so hey, it's actually pretty warm.

5. No matter how bad you want to move, hold your ground, maintain your attention

Four years of spending long amounts of time standing completely still, even when there is sweat running into your eye and bugs crawling up your legs, have taught me that I need to hold my ground. I was not allowed to move in those moments, so why should I let someone else's opinion sway me off my beliefs? Bad and terrible things can happen to you, but as long as you hold your attention, you can get through it and come out victorious.

6. Smile through it all

In my nightmares, I swear I hear both my director and my coach yelling at us to smile. Every run-through, every review of a selected piece of the music, smile, smile, smile. Smack yourself in the face? Smile. Boyfriend just broke up with you? Smile. Your entire life is falling apart? Smile.

No matter what is happening, put on a brave face and smile through it.

7. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen

You can never, ever, ever use enough sunscreen. I forgot sunscreen the first day of band camp my senior year... boy did I learn my lesson.

8. Roll-steps are super useful in everyday life

I spent four years working on my roll-step, and I have found many uses for it in everyday life. Have a cup full of water, a large pile of books or other items, or need to be silent to sneak past your RA? Roll-step will get you through.

9. There's nothing that a water break can't fix

No matter how angry I was, how tired, or how fed up, a water break could fix it all, almost all of the time. I have found that when I am pissed off or anxious or depressed in my life, sitting myself down, getting a glass of water, and just sipping it slowly while I let my mind clear seems to be the best technique for me.

10. The best tan you will ever get is the tan from band camp

Point. Proven.

11. If you've suffered through band camp together, you can suffer through anything together

Once you have gotten through five days of absolute Hell and frustration, you can get through literally everything.

12. Go with the flow

Things change so fast in marching band. Last week your drill had you at the bottom hash of the fifty, but now you're dead center on the thirty, but are you going to question it? No. Just go with the flow of things, it will all be okay.

13. When it rains... it pours

And when it rains, your silk will no doubt stick to you with every pass of your body, and all of the woodwinds will be sprinting to grab their cases. All brass practice?

14. How to make the most out of nothing

It is no secret that marching bands are often one of the least funded clubs/sports (depending on how your school categorizes it) in a school setting. But still, with what little we have to work with, we still find a way to put on amazing shows and fundraise until we can't fundraise anymore.

The new uniforms and flag silks are worth it, even if it will be going towards next year's class and you're a senior.

15. If you put yourself out there, you can make friends anywhere

Every Friday night, you would be meeting a new band, making friends during the third quarter. Every week we would get practice with making friends. Trust me when I say that the friendships you make in marching band are ones that will never fade.

16. Perfect practice makes perfect results

Half-assed practices were a no-go. Anytime the band started deflating, our director would be sure to yell at us until we all perked back up. My most vivid memory of senior year was during band camp when my director has us all scream at the top of our lungs because we were all frustrated. It helped.

You cannot get something done unless you have to right attitude for it. If you are moping around and not giving 110%, then why are you even trying to do it at all?

17. If you think that you've reviewed enough, you haven't. Go again

You can have a perfect run through, but there is always something you can improve on. Keep pushing yourself and keep going over the same stuff over and over because you only have one chance to prove yourself.

18. Whatever you're going through, just remember that you have survived 4 years of band camp

Life likes to kick us on our asses and push our faces into the dirt. When I'm feeling down, I remind myself that I survived four band camps. I have survived four weeks of Hell. If I can do that, then I can do anything.

Cover Image Credit: Kelly Prososki

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My Experience In Leaving My Passion Behind

Life after basketball.

I have played basketball for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I was holding basketballs before I could walk.

I grew up with the game and I grew to absolutely love the game. It was my passion and I thought I would play forever.

That being said, one of the hardest decisions I ever made was deciding not to continue playing basketball in college. I made the decision for a variety of reasons and I do not regret it.

However, the decision did impact my life greatly in the following ways.

1. The loss of a team

One of the things I miss most about basketball is the team atmosphere. It brought a group of girls together that would normally not hang out and made them into best friends.

There’s nothing like the friendship that results from suffering through many suicides, getting yelled at, practicing day after day, and winning rival games together. It brings people together in a way that the normal friendship does not.

Since high school, I’ve had to learn how to make friends in different ways. I’ve learned it takes being intentional with your time and making sacrifices to make true friendships. As opposed to being with my teammates at practice all the time, I have had to constantly make an effort to be with my friends.

2. Exercise

The freshman fifteen is real. I believe one of the main reasons for the freshman fifteen is that new college students are not used to not having workouts incorporated into their schedules like they did while playing their sport.

It was really difficult for me to realize that I was the only one that could motivate me to eat healthily or exercise. It was even more difficult to build this into my schedule, as opposed to my basketball coach doing it for me.

Like with friendship, I have had to get in the habit of making a conscious effort to keep a healthy mentality.

3. Identity crisis

The hardest part about leaving basketball behind was that I no longer had the identity of “the basketball girl”, an identity I had taken comfort in for most of my life.

It was hard to realize that when people asked what I did for fun, I couldn’t answer basketball anymore. It was hard to not be busy with practice all the time. It was hard to go from loving my height because I outrebounded others, to disliking my height because it made me stand out.

Over time, however, I have gained a new identity, an identity as me. I am not “the basketball girl” anymore and I didn’t take on a new identity as “the sorority girl” or “the weird friend” (although my friends may beg to differ on the last one).

I took on the identity as me- a woman, a Christian, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a sorority girl, possibly the weird friend, the former basketball girl, and so many more. Although these labels make me up, I am not these labels. I am just me.

4. Ultimately, I miss it

I decided not to play basketball in college for many reasons, but my love of the game did not affect that decision. I loved the game. I still love the game. I miss everything about it.

I miss scoring, blocking shots, rebounding, just everything. I miss my coaches, my teammates, and even some specific opponents. I miss the rush of winning a big game or the proud sadness of losing a game that you played your hardest in.

Yet I don’t regret my decision, I will forever miss the game that was once my passion and, even more, everything it gave me.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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