A Life Of Athletics

A Life Of Athletics

It's really it's own world.
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I always loved cross country races.

There was something about putting on my spikes, doing the warm-ups, and having those pre-race jitters right before the gun went off. I didn't even run on varsity, but it's a feeling that I honestly missed when I started running just to workout in college because I didn't have anything, in particular, to train for. I miss the rush of competition. Whether it was a cheerleading competition or cross country or track race, it was something I always had to prepare for.

I've been in an athletics-centered world since I was in preschool.

I couldn't really help it. Some of my earliest memories are of me and my older brother at pee-wee cheer and football. I ended up switching to cross country, and my older brother started to focus more on wrestling. Our careers both ended when we graduated high school. My youngest brother followed my older one in playing football then transitioning to wrestling.

My parents (bless them) spent years taking us to and from practices, coming to games and meets, and in my dad's case, coaching my brothers' football teams for twelve years. I can't thank them enough for everything they did over the years and for fostering that love of sports for both me and my brothers.

When I started college I was accepted into the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars. One of our nicknames was basically "ex-high school athletes," and it definitely showed. While we were all different majors, we all had a passion for athletics. We channeled that passion into intramurals, going to local hockey and soccer games, and just trying to be sporty and well in college.

I love sports, and I love supporting whatever team I'm a part of. I am constantly in awe watching these people follow their passions whether it's high school cross country, college wrestling, or the Olympics. If I can get excited about anything, it's a good game. Or better yet, a great wrestling match.

So thank you. To my coaches, my teammates, my friends, and most of all my parents, for getting me into this community and making me fall in love with this exhilarating and unpredictable world of sports.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Tremblay

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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A Letter To the Lady Who "took" my dog

Everyone knows how it feels to lose a pet in one way or another.

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The most I remember feeling is angry. I was confused, upset, but most of all just furious. I was hurt by my parents, frustrated with my friend's lack of help—though there was considerable attempt--, and saddened by the fact that I was likely to lose my year-old Australian Shepherd, Terra Blu.

My family had gotten Terra almost a year after our previous Aussie, Kaiya, died at the age of four from an infectious disease the veterinarians were unable to catch swiftly enough. Kaiya's sudden death shook me terribly. I'd begged for a dog since I had been little, and it seemed cruel to have her removed from my world so painfully and randomly. I did what most typically do after a family member dies; cry, mope, and swear to never want another like her. My resolve to never own another dog faded after two weeks in the house without her.

As most long-term pet owners know, the house takes on a different mood when a fuzzy companion leaves the world. The windows look plain without wet nose splotches staining them, the dog bed next to the door is only a painful reminder, and the red-rimmed eyes and despondency of others don't improve relations. After so much raw emotion followed by lack of feeling at all by the entire household, I was convinced that another dog would be the cure to our predicament—only I wanted Kaiya, but I figured another would have to do.

Flash forward to slightly less than a year later; it would be early spring. I hear the door open and look to see my father walking in with a dog bed. Kaiya's bed I'd assumed; I would realize later it was a new dog bed. I immediately stood and said in an accusing tone, "What do you think you are doing with that?"

He only held out one hand and said, "Don't scream." That cued my mother to walk in behind him holding an eight-week-old Aussie she called KyLor Blu. I didn't scream. Instead I covered my eyes, beginning to cry, and stumbled into the living room, hiding from a baby ball of fur. I didn't want to see her, touch her, or be near her for about two minutes. Then I was all over her. I knew instantly that she would never be like Kaiya, but she could become a part of our family.

The year spent with the new puppy had a lot of changes. The first being my insistence on changing the name to Terra Blu, because, no we cannot call KyLor Ky like we called Kaiya Kai. Having a puppy was fun but she did all the things puppies do, from eating my favorite pair of heels to peeing on my lap. Regardless, even after destroying yet another bra of mine, she managed to work her way into my and my family's hearts and continued to do so even after she ate the last aglet off of our shoes.

She was smart. She didn't have as strong as a willingness to please as Kaiya did—I could never stop creating comparisons--, but she wanted to learn when it suited her. I'd built her an obstacle course from farm parts lying around, she could catch the frisbee in air, and also managed to miraculously catch a few birds from on the ground. But a year goes fast when it's senior year of high school and soon I was off to college, leaving my dog behind.

At college, changes were occurring at home that I was left out of. From my cat dying, the rabbit being put down, and the chickens being sold all at the looming prospect of the divorce of my parents. Spoiler alert, they didn't divorce. But in that time, they did give away my dog.

I was the one who suggested that we find another home for Terra. She was obviously stressed when I'd been home for Christmas break. I could see her discomfort as she felt the dissatisfaction between my parent's relationship. Of course, I suggested it planning to give her to one of my friends. I had multiple who had shown interest in such a sweet dog (one that was finally out of the worst of the puppy stage). In the end, none of the homes worked out. But it was alright, because apparently my family had found a good home and I would get to spend one last week with her over spring break, right?

What actually happened was, due to an untimely death and a series of unfortunate events, Terra was rehomed early and I was given the choice to asked for her back for a week or let her stay in her new home, as she was already well adjusted. It's difficult to do what's best when it hurts, but I asked for her to stay with her new home, a kind couple in their 50's. I did end up being a little selfish and asked to visit her.

This brings me to the real point of this letter. Thank you.

To the kind couple who let me come see their property and my, now your, dog. Terra has been blessed with owners who have more time for her and who gladly walk her once, sometimes twice, a day. She's been blessed with a less stressful household and owners that have time, and make time, for her. I know there has been a hole in your heart left by a previous pawprint and I'm happy she can do for you what she did for me.

Thank you for sending me a picture when I ask, for letting me join you on your walks when I am able, and for sharing her time with me. It's not easy. I'm sorry I cry when I see her bounding towards me, wagging her whole butt to make up for her lack of tail and I'm sorry she lingers at my car door, waiting to be let in when I leave.

But I also see how she's not sad or scared from the fighting. I see how she only cares about figuring out how to be friends with the geese sitting at your pond. And I see how she doesn't say goodbye after our walks, instead running to find your husband to say hello. So, one last time, thank you for doing what my family could not.

Cover Image Credit:

Dawn Lunde Pearson

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