6 Ways To Prevent Tragedies Like the Oakland Fire

6 Ways To Prevent Tragedies Like the Oakland Fire

Being aware of what's going on around you could save your life.
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Sometimes, tragedy strikes and we are powerless to stop it. The Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, California is one such tragedy. As the family, friends, and onlookers of such tragedy, we spend a lot of time attempting to identify what may have gone wrong. Was it anyone's fault? Was it intentional? Could it have been prevented? We may never know. Especially in a case like this, Oakland officials say they have not yet found the source of the blaze, and the answer may never actually be clear. This lack of an answer is upsetting and frustrating - to not know to the cause of 36 deaths is a nightmare. As we mourn the victims of this awful fire, let us think about what we can do for ourselves to avoid such tragedy.

1. Whenever you're in a new place, identify the exits. It takes ten extra seconds to find a potential exit, and it could save your life. Whether in a fire, an uncomfortable situation, or any other type of tragedy, knowing how to get out is something you should immediately identify.

2. Do NOT smoke inside. This is one obvious thing that can help avoid a fire. Smoking inside is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but in preventing a disaster, it's important.

3. Be wary of plugged in electronics that are hot. Things like irons, cooking materials such as hot plates, and even phone chargers can be deadly. Be careful not to leave things plugged in too long and make sure that they're not near anything flammable.

4. Be careful of open flames like candles. This is another pretty obvious one, but almost anything can catch on fire when put too close to a candle. Hair, clothing, etc., are all things that can potentially be way more deadly than one would think.

5. Trust your instincts. This one is a little more abstract, but if you think something feels wrong, trust that feeling. Leave.

6. Look up from your phone. Being aware of what's going on around you might save your life. Look up from the screen and figure out what's going on. You might be the one to stop a tragedy before it happens.

Remember that being alert and aware are not behavioral traits gone wasted. Save your life and the lives of others by knowing what's going on around you.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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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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New York Dancer ‘Sai’ Rodboon Opens Up On The Struggles of Being A Fulltime Artist

Dancing as a career is no joke, and she knows best.

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Napat 'Sai' Rodboon is a professional dancer from Thailand and she's about to make dance her bi(o)tch (excuse my French). She has the face of an angel and a body of an Instagram fitness model, what's not to like? She is also incredibly talented.

As she and her sister were both trained in all disciplines of dance, Sai started to dance at the Aree School of Dance Arts, Thailand's leading dance school and continued her education in college at Chulalongkorn University; she graduated from the Department of Dramatic Arts with honors. Sai, as well, was trained and worked alongside Thailand's respected theater director and playwright, Pawit Mahasarinand, the director of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Assoc. Prof. Pornrat Dumrung and Dangkamon Na-pombejra. She then decided, she wanted to continue her education in the arts, so she flew half-way across the world and found herself in New York.

In 2016 she joined the Broadway Dance Center, New York and joined The Ailey School. Sai is now a professional dancer for a Modern dance company; Elisa Monte Dance, New York. She is the full effin package. Did I also mention she is a fabulous photographer? The list goes on and onnnn.



Sai opened up about the struggles of being a dancer and a daughter away from home (and home to her is approximately 8,651 miles away).

Q: How many hours do you practice in a day?

Sai: I rehearse with the company 5 hours a day but it's only 3 days a week. But then when I have days off I go take classes of different dance styles. I try to go learn from different teachers because you can't stop learning.




Q: Ever since moving to America, what do you find different in the dancing world in America compared to your home country, Thailand?

The first thing is that there isn't a conservatory dance school in Thailand. There is no full-time dance school. There's a dance faculty but the intensity is not the same. Most of the time you just go out to dance studios and take more classes wherever you can, whenever you can.

Another thing is that in Thailand, there aren't that many dance companies. Therefore, there aren't that many opportunities. There are some opportunities for commercial dancing but contemporary, modern, ballet, there's no scene yet.

In New York, every [category] dance has its own whole world. If I were to categorize myself as a modern dancer, then there would be no opportunities at all [in Thailand] and that why I had to come across the world to find opportunities here.

Q: Have you dance anywhere besides the US and Thailand?

In college, I went to Singapore and Taiwan that [Chulalongkorn University] did with different universities in Southeast Asia. But I haven't toured, and I would love the opportunity. On top of traveling, I think it's important to share your art with different groups and different cultures. So I think that's on my bucket list, touring as a dancer.

Q: Are there any disadvantages in being an international dancer in America?

Yes and no. I feel like there was a disadvantage but I'm trying to get over that because being from Thailand, we have a different culture. We're not as aggressive, it's frowned upon. So when I got here I didn't want to be in the first row, I didn't really speak up but then I discover that in performing you can't be in the back. You have to show what you have, you have to be hungry and I changed my whole mindset in getting what I really want

My friend told me once, "You're in America and you need to act American" as an international dancer I have to adapt to whatever works here.

Q: What's the hardest part of being a professional dancer?

I think the hardest part is missing home and believing that you're good enough. Sometimes you can get discouraged because it's not a 9-5 job, it's unpredictable and you don't know when your body is going to give out.

But the missing home sucks. I'm half-way around the world and living in New York is exhausting. I'm here alone. I can call my family and tell my mother how my day went but it's different from having your family physically here.

Just remember why you're here, remember that your family is proud of you for being here.



Q: What is something that you think people should know before going into dance as a career?

I feel like you need patience and work hard. A lot a lot of patience and you just have to believe that you can do it because when you start to believe in your abilities then it will just show in whatever form of dance you're doing.

Dance is hard but you find joy in what you're doing. You might hear dancers say stuff like "I'm dying. My body is breaking" but when you see them on stage you see them living their best lives.

We would be on stage and we'd be like "OMG I WAS LIVING"

If you're going to be a dancer, push through your handwork and [have discipline] because there is no other experience that will give you this feeling. Once you're on stage all the tiredness and pain will be worth it.

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