Things You'll Miss About High School Sports

You Never Know How Much You'll Miss Your Team Until You Stop Spending Every Second With Them

"For the love of the game," hits harder when you realize it was more than just a game.

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The 6 a.m. practices, the "you're gonna run until you puke" drills after a lack of communication, the tears after a loss, the frustration with yourself and your teammates, and the moments that make you question why you even play — these are the worst parts of high school sports.

Believe it or not, you miss even these moments once you walk off the field, dripping in sweat and covered in bruises, for the last time.

The blisters from the cleats you refuse to replace (because they're good luck), the extremely outdated jersey with the iron-on numbers barely holding on (hoping each year that it will be your team's turn for new uniforms), and the winner's mindset that refuses to become overwhelmed with negativity — these are the humbling aspects about high school sports that stick with you after you graduate.

After taking time away from a sport that once took over my entire life, I realize how much it shaped me into the person I am today. Even in the worst moments that I previously mentioned, I grew, humbly, and not only as a player. Because I was a captain of my team, I had to overcome adversity and set a good example by doing and not just saying.

Scotty McCreery hit the hammer to the nail when he said, "Next time to get in here, I'll have to buy a ticket" in his song "Five More Minutes." This was for me, as Michael Scott from "The Office" would describe, as feeling like:

"Somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears. And, at the same time, somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch with a frozen sledgehammer. And then, a third guy walks in and starts punching me in the grief bone. And I'm crying, and nobody can hear me. Because I am terribly, terribly, terribly alone."

After playing for the same team for eight years, in the rain and shine, in front of a huge crowd or just a handful of parents, and in the peak or slump of the season, you inhabit a sense of family with your teammates and a sense of peace with the sport. You realize that you miss the bus rides home, even when your goalie is throwing her smelly gloves in your face. You begin to miss the pregame routine, shouting the school's fight song at the top of your lungs. You miss hearing the anything-but-accurate cheers from your mom — and the maybe not-so-loving instructions yelled to you by your coach. You miss feeling like you got hit by a truck when you wake up the next morning and realizing that the only thing that will fit your cramped body is the sweatpants you've already worn twice that week.

Most of all, you miss the times that call for celebration with your teammates: when your goalie gets to shoot a PK, when your defender steps in and saves the whole team's butt (because no one else had their man), when your midfielder sends a perfect cross, when your forward gets her first hat trick, and when your team finally gets the championship title back.

All good things come to an end, so they tell me. My biggest regret is feeling like I was burnt out on the game that I truly loved. Now that my cleats are tucked away in my same, disgusting soccer bag, all I have are the memories that I will forever cherish. Although we were not the most talented or the most recognized, I am thankful that I had the ability to play for a team that grew together and established character throughout the years.

Most of all, I value the friendships that I made along the way because these were the people that fell in love with the game with me at such a young age, the people I carpooled with to and from practices, games, and tournaments, the people who cheered me on the most and critiqued me the most, and the people who experienced the celebrations and heartaches with me.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Moving Into My First Apartment

Learning many things the hard way.

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Chewie
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This summer, I decided to head home for a few weeks before moving into my apartment. Here are a few things that I should have done during that blissful time of home cooking and sleeping in that I absolutely did not do. And I paid for it with blood, sweat, and tears (lots of them); but it's ok. We've all been there.

1. Measure Up

You've most likely seen the layout of your new apartment when you toured the place or when you signed the lease agreement, and you know about the general layout of the rooms. Have a tape measurer handy to take all the measurements of the space so that it's easier to purchase furniture prior to moving in. I made the mistake of starting to buy furniture after I came back, which meant I didn't have a bed (or anything to sleep on except the cold, hard floor) for a couple of days.

So yes, for those out there who are used to furnished dorm rooms, make sure to have everything you need to start purchasing furniture (or at least think about it) before moving in.

2. Furniture

When searching for furniture, I found it easiest to order things online. Sites I frequent are Amazon, Wayfair, Target, Walmart, and Home Depot. I did look on Ikea's site, but definitely did not order online because they take way longer to ship than if you go in the store and check your stuff into home delivery. I checked what I needed online, made sure they were available in store, and spent a couple of hours going through the process of finding the items and moving them through to home delivery. They arrived the next day.

When building furniture, tools that will make your life so much easier are:

Cordless power drill/screwdriver

Scissors

Hammer

Patience (so your chair won't end up being wobbly)

3. Utilities

Campus housing was great. They had water, electricity, gas, and internet ready when I moved in. I forgot about that when I moved into my new apartment.

Remember to call these local utilities companies to set up accounts and have them turn on each service before you move in. I requested electricity for the day of move-in, and I didn't have electricity for most of the day because they have until 6 PM to turn it on. I also didn't have in-home wireless internet for a few days because I didn't set it up beforehand.

4. Clean

On move-in day, cleaning supplies are crucial to start off on the right foot. Maybe it's just me, but I can only truly feel at ease after I've disinfected/cleaned common areas and appliances. Here are a few things (or something similar) to have on hand:

Clorox wipes

paper towels

disinfecting sprays (I used one with more natural ingredients for the kitchen area and a harsher one for the bathroom)

scrub sponges

microfiber cloths

baking soda/vinegar (great for getting out stains/grime)

vacuum

Swiffer

Tips:

-Don't be alone. Many of my friends were either busy or out of the country, so I did everything myself. The only thing that kept me sane, especially when building a 6-drawer dresser, is brief retreats away from the mess of the apartment with friends who help your mind and soul reset.

-Try not to get overwhelmed by all the things you want to buy. I got swept up by all the excitement of moving, and was wasting time on non-essentials when I still didn't have the big pieces of furniture that I needed. Get those first, then move on to the smaller things.

-Keep a regular routine. It's easy to work late into the night when you want to get something over with, but don't. It creates a vicious cycle of no sleep, then no energy to move in, then no energy to do anything else like eat food and shower. It's not pretty. Rest is there so that you can work more efficiently.

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Chewie

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