For The Athlete That Chose To Walk Away, But Walked Away With So Much

From The High School Athlete Who Walked Away, But Walked Away With So Much

From pep rallies to clutch game situations, we miss every second of it. But we walked away with a lot more than we could've ever asked for.

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High school was our prime time. Walking through the hall wearing your jersey or warm-ups on game day. Teachers telling you "good luck tonight, bring home the win." Getting to leave class early for away games. Going to pep rallies and being the center of attention. Practicing day in and day out. Eating, sleeping, and breathing your sport.

The endless hours of practices, the early mornings and late nights, the study groups and trying to keep up with your academics on top of prioritizing your physical shape and talent. It's what we lived for.

Two minutes left in the rivalry game at home court. Your team is up by two and it's crunch time. Coach puts you and the four kids you've grown insanely close with over the last 10 years into the game. You're told to run a man to man defense and not let number three get the ball, because if they do they're going to run the play you've studied at practice for the last week and try to score from the paint; tying the game. The ball gets passed to number three and you're guarding them harder than you've ever played defense before, a screen gets set so you have to switch with your trusty best friend, who you know has the best defense on the team. Your heart is pounding as number three goes up to take the buzzer-beating shot... but they get an offensive foul called on them, and that's the game. The crowd goes wild as the buzzer goes off and you and your teammates rush the center of the gym yelling, screaming, and rejoicing. The feeling you have in your heart is fuller than you've ever felt it before.

It's what we lived for.

It's the bottom of the 7th inning, and you're down by two runs. You've got a man on first and a man on third, with two outs. You're on deck waiting to go up to bat as your power hitter is fighting tooth and nail to get the ball on the ground. They've got two strikes and three balls. Your heart is beating out of your chest, and part of you is hoping they hit it over the fence so the pressure isn't so tough on you. The coach signals to lay a bunt down and all you can think is "why would he do that? Kiana never bunts." But you have no other choice but to trust in your coaches decisions, so when Kiana shockingly lays the bunt down you're in awe as the catcher can't get her face mask off quick enough to throw it to first base.

No runs were scored, and you know that it's up to you to win this game. You walk up to the plate and strike one flies by your face before you even have time to process it. You step out of the batter's box to try to calm your nerves, and your dad looks at you and tells you "You got this, just breathe." So you take one more practice swing and a deep breath, then you step back into the batter's box. You couldn't slow your heart rate down so now you're just running off of pride and focus. The next pitch comes and it's a ball. You knock your cleats off with your bat as the rain starts to pour down, and you're in a position to eye the next pitch.

At that moment, everything turns into slow motion.

You see coach standing at third base, giving no sign. You look back and see your dad in the bleachers, hoping and praying you can hit the base runners in. You've reminded yourself that this is one of your last high school ball games; it's your time to shine. As tingles trickle down your spine, the chaotic screams from the crowd and your teammates turn into distant sound. You smack the ball and before you realize it, you're hitting the inner corner of third base with your right foot yelling at the person in front of you to run faster because you have no idea where the ball went, and coach was just telling you to run. Everyone is waiting for you at home plate because you had just won the game. They're slapping the top of your helmet and screaming your name, while the crowd is banging on the fence.

It's what we lived for.

We lived for the three-hour long Saturday practices. We lived for two-hour bus rides. We lived for team breakfast and dinner. It fueled us to get through high school, and we loved every second of it.

Often, we reminisce. We think back to those buzzer beaters, home runs, and football games. We miss it more than you could ever imagine.

But we walked away. Not because we didn't want to continue playing, but because it was time. It was time to start our lives, but we will never forget the moments, the memories, and some of the best times we have ever had.

Being an athlete is so much more than being strong, athletic, and quick on your feet. To us, being an athlete shaped our personalities. It helped us build characteristics that we still use to this day... and sometime in the future, we will build families and use the traits we learned as athletes to build a strong, successful career, and someday raise a little ballplayer of our own.

A big thanks go out to all my coaches and mentors that I was blessed with over the years. You shaped me, my future, and the rest of the generations that will come after me.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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5 Tasks The Detroit Pistons Must Do To Change The 8th-Seed Stigma

After speaking with my lawyer, blackmailing Tom Gores into selling the team is off the table.

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The Detroit Pistons returned to the NBA playoffs following a three-year hiatus. Unfortunately, the newest acquisitions to the coaching staff and roster weren't enough to change the narrative of Detroit Pistons basketball and first-round playoff sweeps. Milwaukee dominated the Pistons into a third-consecutive first-round playoff exit since 2009. What can the new titleholders of the NBA consecutive playoff game loss record do to revitalize their early 2000s reign as tenacious contenders within NBA's Eastern Conference?

1. Don't trade Andre Drummond

With the 9th pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Andre Drummond from the University of Connecticut. Throughout Drummond's six years in the NBA, he continues to adapt, learn, and overcome the adversity surrounding his athleticism and play-style.

The 2018-2019 NBA season was arguably best offensive and defensive season for the 25-year-old center. Trading the three-time NBA total rebound champion that led the league in defensive win shares the past two years is not the answer to our problems.

2. DEFINITELY (and I can't stress that enough) trade Jon Leuer

Jon Leuer received a four year, 24 million dollar contract in 2016 under the management of Stan Van Gundy. As Pistons fans suffering slowly comes to an end, we still have an opportunity to trade Leuer to acquire a player or draft picks that are basically guaranteed to prove more beneficial than Leuer's inconsistent run as a backup power forward.

The Detroit Pistons trading for Thon Maker mid-season was the nail in the coffin for Leuer's run as a Piston, finishing the season averaging 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds throughout 41 games. We're already paying Josh Smith $5.3 million to sit at home and watch us get swept in the playoffs, we don't Jon Leuer sitting on the bench doing the same thing.

3. Acquire size, strength and defense on the wings

Whether it's in the NBA Draft, a trade (hopefully involving Jon Leuer) or even a free agency signing this off-season, the Pistons desperately need to establish depth of wing players. Currently, the Pistons don't have a single small forward on the team.

The Pistons current depth chart (considering we do not re-sign any expiring contracts) is made up of a single point guard, five shooting guards, three power forwards and one center. A wise man once advised the Pistons to use their size and strength to "form a fuckin' wall." Without small forwards, forming a wall isn't an option and mismatches will be an easy exploit for larger teams.

4. Weigh every option with the 15th draft pick

Due to our past drafting history, it's crucial for the front office and coaching staff to weigh every option before we use our 15th overall draft pick. It's common knowledge Detroit has struggled when it's come to the NBA Draft. The narrative began after skipping over talents like Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2003 and most recently with Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent drafts.

Trading the pick away, trading down in the draft, even trading up in the draft must all be considered. Shopping the draft pick should rank above using it specifically based on our shameful lack of cap space. The Pistons' picks in the 2019 NBA Draft are the only elusive assets Detroit has left until 2020.

5. Find a legal way to force Tom Gores to sell

Since blackmail is illegal, how about brainwash? Tom Gores bought the struggling team in 2011 for $325 million since then not much has changed. He's proved he isn't capable of responsibly owning the team after allowing Stan Van Gundy to take over as head coach and president of basketball operations on top of approving ridiculously priced contracts for players. I'm grateful he gave the Pistons a shot to prove themselves when rumors of relocation circled like vultures but it's time to move on.

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