having a parent as a coach

I Am So Grateful For Having A Parent Who Doubled As My Coach

Even though it wasn't easy at times, having my dad as my coach is something that I will cherish forever.

2012
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There is a sign in my house that reads, "We interrupt this marriage to bring you basketball season," and that is a statement that could not be truer in my family. After all, anyone who knows my dad knows that his first and one true love is basketball.

My dad made absolutely certain that a basketball was in my hand as soon as physically possible. He had me playing in a little church league as soon as I was old enough and always made sure to never miss a game, even though the part I enjoyed the most about that league were the snacks that we got after the games.

At my elementary school, sports started in fourth-grade, and my dad decided to step up to coach my grade's team. If you know anything about watching or coaching fourth-grade girls basketball, well, let's just say you don't want to, it's pretty painful.

He stuck with it though, all the way through 8th grade.

During this time, I also began to play off-season AAU basketball and my dad always got a team together and made sure that both myself and the girls in my area, that would become my future high school teammates, had a ball in our hands all year round because he knew how important that was.

When I got to high school, my dad finally took the parent role for my first two years, but he didn't last long on the bleachers.

My junior and senior years of high school, he was able to take an assistant coaching role and just like that we were back in the gym together, player and coach.

Over the years, there were many, MANY times that my dad and I got into it over basketball. He could be too hard on me and I could be stubborn and un-coachable. There were even times where I expressed that I wished he wasn't my coach, but now, it is something that I am so thankful for.

Even though we were at each other's throats at times, the fact that my dad was my coach made my accomplishments even better because he could be proud of me as both a coach and a parent.

From scoring my first basket at 5 years old to go on to eventually win a high school regional championship, my dad was there through it all and my successes were also his.

Having my dad as my coach allowed us to spend a lot of time together, and without me even realizing it, in time, the thing that he loved became the thing that I loved.

Even though my time on the court has come to an end, we may never be able to drag my dad away. Now, I get to come home from college and watch him coach my two younger siblings. Even though they may not appreciate him screaming at them from the sidelines for not getting back on defense fast enough or not going up strong with their shots at the moment, I know that just like me, someday, they will appreciate these special memories just as much as I do.

Looking back now, the memories that basketball has given me is something that I will cherish forever.

Without my dad's encouragement, support, and presence, I am not confident that I would have stuck with playing sports at all, and we wouldn't have built this special part of our relationship. People express their love in many different ways and for my family, one of those ways is definitely through the game.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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