Standing For Something At The Wrong Time

Standing For Something At The Wrong Time

Protests against kneeling NFL players reveals a social hypocrisy.
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It is no surprise that today’s political and social climate is filled with high tension and polarized sides. It’s cliche and repetitive, but the root of many of these issues revolves around misplaced judgment and hypocrisy. One of the highlighted issues right now is players kneeling during the national anthem.

Quick background

During the 2016 NFL season, quarterback Colin Kaepernick (now unemployed) began kneeling during the national anthem as a symbol to remind the nation of the oppression and prejudice minorities face in this country every day. While he has been criticized, players from most teams joined him in kneeling for the anthem. Across the country, from the NFL to JV High School football sidelines, players were kneeling for the anthem.

Those who disapprove letting the players kneel during the anthem have started grand motions to boycott the NFL. The Facebook page, “1,000,000 Americans Boycotting the NFL” has built up a cult following with 101 thousand followers (ironic, but that is beside the point). Publications such as Breitbart push for similar movements boycotting the NFL. The highest liked comment on a Breitbart Facebook post regarding players kneeling during the anthem went as far as calling the NFL the “N***** Football League.”

People are up in arms in the protest against the kneeling of the anthem. A majority of these so-called “boycotters” are predominantly older white men and women. The fierceness and passion they have exhibited against the anthem kneelers is almost to the point at which it is admirable. But my question is- why fight for this?

These NFL boycotters and protesters claim to fight for a better and more proud America. However, where were these people when multiple videos of unarmed minorities were slaughtered at the hands of poorly trained police officers? Where were they when white supremacists were marching down the streets of Charlottesville? Where were they when our President called several predominantly black countries, “s***hole countries?” Where was their uproar and vocality when clear injustices were happening on a seemingly regular basis?

The fact that so many people are willing to get so much more fired up about NFL players protesting the anthem as a reminder for the oppression against minorities in this country is outright disturbing. If one thinks that white privilege is not a thing and that minorities are not treated fairly here then they need to get outside of their bubble of ignorance.

Luckily, our President of seemingly unprecedented moral character had the opportunity to unify this increasingly polarized nation with one thing we can all agree on: Nazis and white supremacists are bad. But wait, Mr. Trump tossed the American people a curveball with his comment that there were “some very fine people on both sides,” when talking about the marches in Charlottesville. In such a time where political parties are so polarized and tensions are flaring regularly, one would hope that the leader of the nation could at least unify the nation with the disapproval of Nazis.

The President was at least able to use some strong words against one controversial group: Anthem protesters, calling them “son of a b****[es].” Some of these players have overcome unbelievable hardships and upbringings to succeed at the highest level of the sport they love. But it is nice to know that our President has stronger words for those protesting for equal treatment in this nation than literal Nazis.

Political activism, especially from both sides, builds our democracy and often leads to change for the better. I think it is fair to argue that there are more effective and compelling ways to be a catalyst for social change than kneeling at a football game. But when people are so focused on attacking the moral character of those who feel oppressed in the very same nation they call home, then problems arise.

Everyone is not going to agree on everything. But when it is on the matter of social justice and fair treatment of all, then there should be no argument.

Cover Image Credit: Adrian Curiel

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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7 Things You May Not Know About College Dance Teams

Commonly mistaken for cheerleaders at sporting events, we live a life pretty much unknown to most others!

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Although most of the Student Body only sees us as the girls that dance at football and basketball games, there is so much more that we do. From all of the preparations for our game day routines, workouts, working on team uniformity, a lot goes into our few minutes on the court. And for us, that's just a side hobby. Many Dance Teams nationwide compete at a National competition once a year. Most teams' goals are the same: winning a national championship. But what it takes to accomplish that is so much more than anyone sees!

We workout... a lot.

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From timed mile tests to morning workouts, we NEVER stop working out. Running, lifting, core-strengthening are just some of the things we do on the side to make sure we are always at our peak physically. And it helps us look good, too.

We practice a lot, too!

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From learning and perfecting game day routines to learning and perfecting our national's routine, practices never stop. We typically practice 3-5 times a week!

Game-day appearance is no joke!

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From the fake eyelashes to the full face of makeup, our final look must be approved by a coach before ANY performance.

Uniformity is a NECESSITY!

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From matching uniforms, to the same brand and color of lipstick, to the same exact style of eyelashes, probably the most important part of any collegiate dance team is the uniformity!

Nationals is our Super Bowl

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Game days can be fun and exciting, too, but the attention is on the players, as it should be. At nationals, however, we are the ones directly representing our school and competing for the National Title! Nothing compares to the feeling!

Fundraising, fundraising, and MORE fundraising!

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Collegiate Dance Team Nationals isn't cheap! Most Dance Teams have to fund at least the majority of their national's expenses, which is A LOT of money! From working kids' clinics, selling clothing, having GoFundMe pages, having Bingo events, the list can go on for days!! So much work is put in outside of practice just to raise enough money to compete at a national competition.

The audition process is ... brutal.

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From learning a dance off of Youtube a few days prior to the audition and performing it in front of judges, to executing all of the necessary technical skills (no matter if its YOUR cup of tea or not), to personal interviews, to a conditioning evaluation, auditions for collegiate dance teams might be some of the toughest days of the year.

Overall, being on a college Dance Team can be very overwhelming, but being surrounded by girls with similar interests as you 24/7 who are like family to you, make it all worth it!

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