Puerto Rico's "El Clásico"

Puerto Rico's "El Clásico"

You will never find a volleyball game as intense as this one.
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Every great sport has to have a great rivalry: Real Madrid has Barça, the Red Sox have the Yankees, Rafael Nadal has Roger Federer, the Celtics have the Lakers, and so on and so forth. This is very true in Puerto Rican high school sports, especially with my school's volleyball team.

Our first senior varsity volleyball game of the season versus our rivals, Academia Maria Reina, is a HUGE event for the Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas community, and has been so for many years. Before, our main rival used to be Academia San Jose, but the tradition of this classic game has continued with the intensity of the sport.

For this game, our team needs all of our support, and so, our Student Council rallies everyone to go to our traditional "caravana" to the tournament. A caravana is basically our upperclassmen (who are licensed to drive and have cars) drive girls from the lower grades to a neighborhood close by, so we can prepare to fully support our team. This allows all of the middle and high school to bond over our school spirit and enter the tournament in the best and loudest way possible, showing that we are the best team. Just look at how we entered the San Ignacio tournament last year.

Being schools with some of the most competitive players in the league, this game hasn't always been easy. I remember going to my first "Clásico" in 7th grade, and being so devastated as our Blue Jays lost the last and final set. It continued to be like that, until something happened when I was in 10th grade. That school year, we had gotten a few new students who joined the team, and they certainly strengthened our team, with the junior varsity team beating Maria Reina in their first game, and winning multiple tournaments afterwards.

With our 2-1 win at the San Ignacio tournament, and being one of the top 2 teams in the league last year, CPN certainly had a title to uphold this year. Especially with some of our best player graduating last year, it was going to be interesting to see how the team's dynamic would change with our new players.

We entered with hopes and spirits high. faces painted white and blue, our megaphones blasting out our cheers. As we scored the first point you could hear our screams overpowering those of the Maria Reina crowd. As the game continued, even as our opponents scored, we still cheered on our girls until they grabbed the final point in a very close first set.

It was incredibly nervewracking to see the team lead the second set of the game, as I had seen Maria Reina make surprising comebacks in the second set in past years, making it go onto a third and final set that could end either way. And there we were, just one point away from winning our game, and our newest player, a 10th grader who was taller than most of the seniors on the team, was serving. As she served, all of the players and the CPN crowd silently watched the ball mark the final without even being touched by the opposing team.

The rush of the CPN caravana to our team on the court was insane; everyone seemed to run with their phones and scream in celebration, filming videos for snapchat announcing to the world that we had won, as we joined the team for a gigantic huddle. I was almost crying at this point, as I realized that this was my last "Clásico" game ever and the fact that we won made it that much better and even more bittersweet. It may have been just another win for the school, but for me, this meant the beginning of the end.

Cover Image Credit: Isabella Philippi

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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How High School Destroyed My Self Esteem

Where did the confidence go?

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Not too long ago my parents recovered a collection of home videos from my childhood, and recently, myself and the rest of my family have been taking the time to watch them. It has been quite an experience watching footage of a baby me crawling across the carpet or taking my first steps, but the videos of myself that I find I am most interested in watching are the videos of me when I was a little older, around elementary school age.

As is demonstrated in the multitude of videos featuring me dancing around my kitchen and finding ridiculous ways to get the attention of the camera, I was an outgoing, funny, and lively young girl. I didn't shy away from being the center of attention and was something of a comedian when the camera was turned my way. However, the reason I found these videos so interesting to watch was not just because I found my younger self hilarious. Instead, I was fascinated by the smaller me's enormous personality, because it is such a deviation from the way I am now. This led me to wonder, where did that girl go?

High school is a difficult time for all who experience it. Students face pressure to do well in their classes and meet expectations so that they can get into a good college, which often results in massive amounts of stress and anxiety. However, there are other, social, factors that make high school feel like a battlefield, factors that I, personally, had a difficult time overcoming and still affect me to this day.

When I look back on my four years of high school I realize that I placed far too much importance on popularity and fitting in. I had a set group of friends throughout high school and our group could be considered decently popular, which, at the time, quelled my anxieties about being unliked or alone. Because of these anxieties, I was desperate to keep my friends, even it meant spending time with people I didn't like or didn't make me feel good about myself, and had to teach myself lessons like hiding my true self in order to fit in. This resulted in much unhappiness because many of the friends that I had chosen to be with weren't great at being friends. They were mean, selfish, and often tore me down instead of showing me the support an insecure teenager needed from her friends.

As a result of having mediocre friends, it was often hard to feel like I had a support system when it came to dealing with the problems every teenager faces. Insecurities and lack of understanding about my own body led to weight, which didn't help boost my confidence either. To add to this, my friends, who I believed to be skinnier and prettier than me would often express dislike for the way they looked, which led me to believe that I had no reason to be confident in myself.

This culture of insulting oneself also increased my insecurity, as it left me feeling like I wasn't permitted to have confidence in myself, and instead had to tear myself down whenever I got the chance. Reflecting these negative feelings about myself instead of promoting body positivity warped my mind and made me feel unable to like the skin I was living in. There was no one to tell me that I was allowed to let myself feel good, to look in the mirror and like the girl that looked back at me. Instead, I felt pressure to conform.

So, to answer the previously posed question of where the little girl in the home videos went, here's the answer:

She didn't disappear. She was simply torn down by too many people, especially herself.

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