To The Little Ones With A Baton And Big Dreams

To The Little Ones With A Baton And Big Dreams

When the going gets tough, push through and shine on!
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When I decided to start twirling, I never thought I'd be where I am today.

Four-year-old me that watched the big girls practice for team and corp didn't know that they had been going for 5 hours, had done that same routine 50 times that day, hadn't eaten dinner yet, and had had a full day of school beforehand.

She didn't know that sometimes you wouldn't want to go to practice because you were already exhausted from a full day of other things.

She didn't know that sometimes coaches yell to get you to kick it in gear.

She didn't know that she'd have bruises all over her for the rest of her years as a twirler.

She didn't know she would sacrifice birthdays and holidays and school dances for this sport called baton twirling.

But most importantly, she didn't know about all the friends she would make, the coaches that would not only help to perfect her twirling but also her character, the strength of the bond she'd have with her mom because of this sport, or the many unbelievable memories she would make twirling on a college football field next to people that would become her second family.

She didn't know any of these things, all she knew was she wanted to be like every one of those big girls out there, twirling their hearts out, all for the sake of this crazy sport we call baton.

To all of you little girls and boys out there that want to start twirling, DO IT. Find a coach that works for you, work hard, and never look back. If you do, the sky is the limit on your twirling dreams.

There will be times when you don't want to go to the gym, there will be times that you cry because you're frustrated, there will be times when something happens that makes you want to give up, but I'm here to tell you PUSH ON.

Whenever you forget why you do this to yourself, remember what made you start. Remember the twirlers who inspired you, and know that the entire twirling community is cheering you on!

If I had quit all the times I thought I wanted to when I was in a racquetball court at 8 p.m. at night after school running struts and solos, I would have missed out on many of the best moments of my life. Being a Twirling Ambassador to Peru, Traveling to Switzerland to compete with Team U.S.A. (and making it onto the podium with a Silver Medal!), and twirling in the Top 6 finals at A.Y.O.P., just to name a few.

And to all of the "big girls" now like me, whenever you're at practice and you feel frustrated, or when that little one picks the most stressful time of your life to ask for a picture, or you feel like giving up on that combination you've been working on, remember that all those younger girls and boys are looking up to you for the answers and the secrets to being an amazing baton twirler.

Be their role model, their inspiration, and the thing that makes them keep going, and let them be those things for you, too.

From watching the older girls, to advanced baton twirler, to WVU Feature Twirler, to coach, and hopefully judge someday, I encourage you to remember why you started and keep going.

You're going to do such wonderful things on this journey, and I know this because I, too, was the little one who picked up a baton and never let go.


Cover Image Credit: Emmy Rinehart

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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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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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