What I Learned From The Coach Who Forgot Me

What I Learned From The Coach Who Forgot Me

What broke me, made me.
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Despite your best efforts, my love for the sport lives on. I do not want to sound disrespectful, but after all, that’s how you treated me. I’ve chosen my words carefully because I still respect you. Everyone saw you as a loveable person and a family man, and I used to, as well. So why was I ousted? What did I do to you?

I don’t know if it was revenge at the previous coach or an already burning hate for me, but sophomore year, you threw me on JV after playing varsity the year before. I am a humble person, but even that was a very humbling experience. I did as I was told and fell into line. Eventually, I clawed my way back to varsity after refusing to be brought down, and even then, you stuck me in defense when I had been training for attack. I was the first to jump up whenever you needed a sub, and if it was any position except defense, you acted like I wasn’t there. It was not until the captain finally said, “We need an attack sub, just let her play!” that you even considered the idea.

Junior year, you shut me down emotionally, and it felt like I wasn’t a part of the team. I finally got to play my position, but if anything went wrong, that was on me, and I was sure to get yelled at for it. Once, you yelled so loud my parents heard your hateful words in the stands. Then, when I got a concussion in the first 15 minutes of a game, you never even saw me get hit, so I played the rest of the varsity game. Finally, when I was able to pull myself from play, you told me to sit down, never to go see a trainer or a doctor. Still, I showed up to the practices and the games while anxiously waiting to play after being released from a minor concussion. At practice, you threatened to kick me off the team, in front of my teammates, for wanting to run a lap. When my parents and I went to talk to you, you said “We (the team) just don’t have the talent to be good.” Gee, thanks for saying that to someone who had been playing for five years and had worked their a** off to better the team and to impress you. After the meeting, you continued to say to the other coaches present how much of a pain I am.

Senior year, I organized the fall conditioning only for you to pull that away from me and bestow it on another girl who you named as captain. I was shocked, not because I didn’t get captain, but because you said that the seniors, as a group, would be the captains. Regular season finally showed up, and you came to me and said, “I want you to teach all the new players to pass, shoot and catch like you do.” This was the first thing you said to me all year. It was like I didn’t exist, and you never said so much as a hello before that day. You finally decided you needed me, and I’m sure it hurt for you to realize that. I shared my tips and tricks with the team, not because you asked but for their own benefit. I came back with a new motto senior year: to play for myself because I love the game. When you realized you couldn’t break me, that I had only gotten better and better, only then did you start remembering me, you started saying “give Megan the ball, let her score.”

I had the best season ever, and I owe it all to me. I didn’t let you tear me down, I didn’t let you destroy our team and I didn’t stop being myself. I found another “coach,” the father of one of my good friends on the team, and he kept me from getting comfortable, he made me shoot left-handed and try new plays. So thank you for forgetting about me. The fire of your hate for me only drove me to be better than you or I could’ve imagined. Like metal, I got stronger as I was tempered with fire. I don’t forgive you, but that’s OK because I have grown from it, and I am so much more than all the flaws you saw in me.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/highschool/article/Staples-girls-lacrosse-fends-off-Stamford-7548290.php

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Season Takeaways For All 32 NFL Teams: NFC South Edition

How did your favorite team perform in the 2018-19 season and what are the biggest questions that need to be addressed this offseason and beyond? This week, I'll be reviewing the four teams in the NFC South.

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It's been another exciting season in the NFL. At the beginning of each year, each team/fanbase has a slue of expectations for their team whether you're in the middle of a rebuild, seeing how rookie talent pans out or plotting for contention in the playoffs. Regardless of the team, expectations always change. Injuries, free agency and coaching changes all play a role in how a team re-evaluates their priorities, and there's never a shortage of any of those three in this league. Here's how the NFC East faired this season.

1. New Orleans Saints - The window to win a Super Bowl may be closing

The missed pass interference/helmet-to-helmet call in the NFC Championship has put a sour taste in what was a great season for the Saints all things considered. The last time the Saints made the division championship game they went on to win the Super Bowl and many believe that they had a great chance to compete against whatever team emerged out of the AFC. However, losing a 13-point lead at home and then failing to get a touchdown with the first possession in overtime makes it harder to justify the position they find themselves in.

Drew Brees just turned 40 and I think it's only because Tom Brady is still playing that the "washed up/declining performance" narrative has escaped him. Granted, the Patriots have dominated both the headlines and the NFL for the greater part of two decades whereas the Saints have somewhat flown under the radar. With Drew Brees increasing in age, a limited receiving core and star running back Mark Ingram approaching unrestricted free agency this offseason, it'll be interesting to see if the Saints can continue their upward momentum.

2. Atlanta Falcons - Too many injuries to overcome

28-3 jokes aside, the Atlanta Falcons had everything they needed for another playoff run when the season opened. 2016 MVP Matt Ryan was looking to bounce back off a below-average year for his standards alongside other star players Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. The Falcons were another one of those teams that just found themselves plagued by injuries. Their defense took major hit after major hit which eventually placed them in the bottom half of the league by the end of the season.

Offense remained complicated for the Falcons as well. Running back Devonta Freeman missed four of the first six games of the season due to complications with his foot and knee before being placed on the Injured Reserve in Week 6. There's also been much to say about the Falcon's former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and the correlation between him and the Falcons' lower offensive outputs. The Falcons will now look to Drik Koetter, former head coach at Tampa Bay and Falcons offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014, to revitalize their offense to its full potential.

3. Carolina Panthers - Get Cam healthy

The Panthers suffered from what was probably the biggest season-ending implosion in recent memory this season. By Week 9, the Panthers were 6-2, favorites to win their division with many media personalities taking them to win the conference and get a shot at the Super Bowl. From there, the Panthers lost 7 in a row to end their season 7-9 with a second-place finish in the division and missing the playoffs. The most concerning part is the teams they lost to. The Panthers fell to Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Atlanta during that stretch.

At some point, the psychology of losing that many games in a row probably had a lot to do with the Panthers crumbling. But as with most underperforming teams this season, injury definitely played a role as well. Star Tight End Greg Olsen ended his season during the team's Week 13 loss to Tampa Bay and Cam Newton suffered a phantom injury throughout most of the season.

Newton admitted that his injury played a large part in the team's outcome, and the Panthers were so convinced he was unable to play they let him rest for the last two games of the season. In a recent video posted to his YouTube channel, Newton reveals that he suffered some cartilage damage that limited his range of motion. In doing so, Newton was limited in both his accuracy and the distance he could throw downfield. Now that he knows the root of his issue, hopefully the Panthers will take the right steps moving forward to get him back on the field and get the team back to winning.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Too many individual parts

At the beginning of the season, the Tamba Bay Buccaneers surprised everyone in the football world the first handful of weeks into the season. After some absolutely outstanding play from veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was filling in for a suspended Jameis Winston, it really looked like Tampa Bay was going somewhere. Turns out that "somewhere" was to the bottom of the division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended their season 5-11.

A lot of the Buccaneers' woes have come from the quarterback position. After drafting Winston in 2015, he's been prone to play very inconsistently. This year alone, he threw as many interceptions (14) as he did touchdowns (19). Despite this, he has his highest QBR in his career at 71.8. It's hard to determine whether or not he's improved or not as many of his stats appear to move inversely. His yards, touchdowns and total interceptions have trended downward. On the other hand, his yards per attempt and completion percentages have trended upwards.

But fans and the team as a whole remain optimistic with the hiring of head coach Bruce Arians potentially being the key to figuring out Winston. Next season will tell, however, whether or not it's time to finally move on.

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