To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

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Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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A Definitive Ranking Of Purdue University's Dining Courts

Which dining court's burger variations will come up on top?

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Purdue University was recently named #19 on Best Value School's "50 Best College With The Best Food 2017-2018" article, but how do their dining courts rate against each other? After finding myself in each dining court for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at least three times, I have decided to rank them to find the champion amongst champions. Please note that this list is purely my own personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of my school as a whole nor the students attending it.

5. Ford Dining Court

Although it is the closest dining court to my dorm, I purposely go out of my way to avoid eating here. Of the numerous times I have eaten here, I find myself searching high and low for food that is not a burger, not pizza, not chicken tenders, and not Chinese food. Listen, I love all of these things (excluding Chinese food) as much as the next guy, but when it's being served almost every day, it not only gets boring but it starts to lose its good taste.

My advice to Ford is to change it up more often because I really want to make more use of you!

4. Earhart Dining Court

Of the times I have been to Earhart, I have always managed to eat the most random and dissimilar foods possible. It could be 10:30 am and I would be forced to eat scrambled eggs along with a breaded chicken breast or a risotto of some sort. No, I don't dislike any of those foods, but I do like my meals to be somewhat cohesive and only consist of one type of "meal food". However, I will note that Earhart does offer what I believe to be the BEST mashed potatoes on campus so a few bonus points for that!

My advice to Earhart is if you're going to serve food that overlaps two generally separate meals offer more food of each so students can pick and choose from more of one or the other rather than having to settle for a weird combo.

3. Wiley Dining Court

While I attend Wiley regularly, it still lacks the strength needed to push into my top two dining courts. When I go eat at Wiley I will 9 times out of 10 opt for their professional pasta bar or use the small self-making pasta right next to it. I love this pasta bar because it allows me to indulge in my favorite food of all time and the ingredients they offer to allow me to have the same culinary creativity I would if I had access to my own kitchen. However, this is where my rave for Wiley stops as much of the other food I've tried was too salty for my taste.

My advice to Wiley is to keep serving 10/10 pasta with impeccable ingredients and I know Salt Bae was a thing for a while, but maybe be a little less heavy-handed with the sodium?

2. Hillenbrand Dining Court

This is where it got hard. Between Hillenbrand and my number one choice, I struggled with determining where to place them but I finally concluded that Hillenbrand came just shy of number one. Hillenbrand is what I believe to be the best in terms of food diversity but the worst in terms of lines. I guess with great food comes even greater and longer waiting. The number of times I have waited in a ridiculously long line for the make your own Burger Bar, Wings Your Way Bar, or Quesadilla bar is too many to count. However, I continue to do so because the food is so good. Maybe it's unfair to rank a dining court based on its lines rather than it's food but someone has to be number one.

My advice to Hillenbrand is to keep the food diversity up, but work on getting it out faster because I'm hungry!

1. Windsor Dining Court

All of the many things that set Windsor above the rest are fresh baked cookies, halal options, gourmet salad bar, and make your own burrito bar. I constantly find myself eating at Windsor munching on a kale salad with quinoa, hot chicken, and Italian salad dressing or a burrito bowl that comes without the extra fee of getting double guac. I mean come on people gourmet salads and burrito bowls are all anyone needs! But let's not forget the fresh baked desserts that the amazing kitchen staff whip up, they taste homemade and are too addictive to not pass up. Bonus of Windsor? It's architecture resembles Hogwarts, which makes for an even better dining experience.

My advice to Windsor is to never change!

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