Whether you're fishing at the lake, floating in your pink flamingo float, or just cruisin' on the boat, these are songs that you have to have on your summer lake playlist.
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I started out my athletic career trying out multiple different options. I tried ballet, but little three-year-old me got bored too quickly and decided to terminate that route, (kudos to my friends who stuck with dance because it really is a beautiful thing). One time, mom had me do golf lessons. That, too, was short-lived. I wasn’t terribly coordinated, patient, or quiet, so golf was also not the sport for me. I even tried out gymnastics for a few years. As the only fourth grader who was 5’9’’, the gymnast life was also not the right fit for me. My favorite childhood athletic activity was soccer. I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of putting on the shin pads, the jersey, lacing up my soccer cleats and playing out with all my friend on the field. Soccer quickly became my favorite past time, and actually lasted with me up through my sophomore year of high school. Sometimes life can be disappointing, though. I played soccer for a solid thirteen years and never made it off of the junior varsity team. So… I switched to track and field. I ran track in middle school and figured why not try it out in high school as well. As it turned out, not choosing to run high school track and field earlier in my high school year was a big mistake. Track, at N.P.H.S., was honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me and I wish I would have joined soon in high school. It not only taught me physical strength but emotional strength and the importance teamwork as well. To be on a team like that is also to be a part of an incredibly supportive and talented community. It broke my heart when academics got in the way my freshman year of college, and track no longer became an option for me to participate in. (I wasn’t being lazy, I have a double major and minor, so there was virtually no way for me to give 100% to both). However, even though I may not still be running with a track team, I still hold the values and mentality that my high school track team has taught me.
I think that life is a lot like the sport of track and field. First off, while you may not choose the people on your team, or in life, you're all in it together one way or another. Fortunately, I got along really well with everyone on my high school team, but I am only human and fully admit to not getting along with everyone in my day to day life. As track has taught me, though, we’re all human, we all have challenges. Although we may have different goals, we should still stay the whole time and cheer everyone on, loudly and proudly.
While you’re running your race, or when you’re going through life, sometimes things hurt a little, and sometimes they hurt a lot. Do you fall down and never get up again? Absolutely not. With the help of some mental courage and the hands of your teammates, you get back up after every time you fall and push yourself through it. You find your personal limits and your break through them. You find a greater potential than you thought could ever be possible. You keep pushing through. Life is a race. It has a beginning, it has a middle with turns in it (left or otherwise) and it has a finish line.
If you want to reach your goal, if you want to get that personal record in your sprint or distance run/relay, if you want to throw the shot put further than you did the last time, if you want to jump higher and farther than you can now, you have to put the work in. You have to train before, during and after the track season. You have put give work, sweat, and tears to be the best you can be. The same is true in everyday life. If you want to accomplish your dreams and goals, the only path towards doing so is through hard work and constant dedication.
While my track and field career may have come to an early end, my love for the sport and the mindset is has given me will never die. If you’re in track now, don’t take any of it for granted and never stop giving it all that you have in you. If you’ve never been in track in your life, I encourage you to try on the mindset. It will change your life.
Whether it is on or off the track, I hope you run fast and turn left, I hope you never give up and continue to push your limits.
Instances when the internet provided emotional fulfillment
The internet is a beautiful, crazy, and often scary thing. Growing up with the internet, I have been exposed to countless stories and images. Here are five things I have found on the internet that have made my heart melt with joy.
1. This Woman Who Received Her High School Diploma at 97
On October 21, 2015, 97-year-old Margaret Thome Bekema, received an honorary high school diploma from Catholic Central High in Grand Rapids Michigan. Margaret was supposed to graduate with her class in 1936 but had to drop out when she was seventeen to care for her ill mother and three younger siblings. In the video Margaret is overcome with emotion, crying tears of joy.
2. This Baby Pretending to Sleep
3. Albert on Wheels
Albert on Wheels is an Instagram account with over ten thousand followers, that features a little, fluffy white dog who walks and runs with wheels for back legs. The account is happy and heartwarming, showing Albert’s personality and vivacity despite his disability.
4. Dog and Elephant Friendship
The Elephant Sanctuary south of Nashville Tennessee was home to Tarra the elephant and Bella the dog. The two were inseparable friends for a decade.
5. 106 Year Old Virginia Mclaurin Dancing with Barack and Michelle Obama
Virginia Mclaurin, 106, realized her dream of visiting the Whitehouse recently for Black History Month. She shimmied and shoo her way into Barack and Michelle’s hearts.
Jen Welter Is Breaking Down Barriers To Pave The Path For Change In Football
It's rare that we see women at the forefront of a professional sports team, but Jennifer Welter, along with other women in the NFL and NBA, is doing just that. Jen Welter has been officially deemed the first female to coach in the NFL as she served as an assistant coach intern on the Arizona Cardinals in July. Welter is breaking down barriers for women by boldly changing football, a men-only world.
Jen Welter, also known as "Dr. J," was a training camp and preseason intern working with the inside linebackers on the Arizona Cardinals in July. As an assistant coach intern to head coach Bruce Arians, Welter’s internship ran until the third preseason game along with six other interns.
Welter has a Ph.D. in psychology, previously played rugby at Boston College, and played 14 seasons of pro football as a linebacker for the Dallas Diamonds with the Women’s Football Alliance, with one season as a running back and special teams for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League, becoming the first woman to play a “nonkicking position in a men’s professional football league.” Welter has also won four championship medals and has been awarded two gold medals with the United States team at the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship. All of which is outstanding, but would have remained unacknowledged if it was not for Coach Arian spotting her talent.
Welter was first recognized at the OTAs this spring, and Arian “found her really passionate about football. [He] asked if she was serious about it, and if so, [He] would love to give [her] the opportunity to coach with [the Cardinals]. She jumped on it. She loves to coach.” Alongside her passion, she was also hired for her skill, outstanding resume, and attention to her players.
Welter initially thought she would be greeted with pessimism and contempt, but was pleasantly surprised by Arian, the players, the media, executive Michael Bidwill, and general manager Steven Keim’s welcoming nature.
As stated by MMQB’s Peter King, The Arizona’s owner Bill Bidwill in 2004 was “the first owner to hire African-American men, Dennis Green and Rod Graves, as coach and general manager in tandem. Last season Arizona was the only NFL team with black coordinators on offense and defense (Harold Goodwin and Todd Bowles, respectively). This year the Cardinals are founding a fellowship program that gives minority coaches a two-year job on an NFL coaching staff, in the hope that it will help coaching prospects transition to the coaching lifestyle.” With former NFL linebacker Levon Kirkland being the first to take up this inclusive fellowship program, Coach Arian hired Welter in hopes of encouraging other teams to give women an opportunity to work in the NFL.
Arian acknowledges the important contributions women have in athletes’ lives. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and wives inspire and support men in the sports world, and Arian sees how much his men have learned from women. Therefore, Arian knows what a big role Welter could have in his players’ lives, on and off the field. But, as stated by Welter:
" Being a woman is part of who I am. It’s not all of who I am, and I’m not here just because I’m a woman. I’m here as a football coach. If my opportunity in the NFL is a chance to show other woman what’s possible in this world, and show guys that there is another dimension to a lot of women -- that this game that they love can be loved and respected by a woman -- why wouldn’t I highlight that? At the same time, my most important obligation right now is helping Coach Arian and his team … I am focusing on attention to detail and technique with individual players, and the players have been very receptive."
In Welter’s short time working with Arizona, she has made tremendous contributions to the team and football at large. As reported by CBS news, Welter wrote individual letters to the Cardinal linebackers, creating a personal connection with each of them. Also, in response to recent domestic violence cases, she has suggested relationship counseling for all players in order for them to remain positive role models on and off the field, but she also knows that domestic violence goes beyond the field and is a societal problem that needs to be fixed. As explained by Arian, "coaching is nothing more than teaching"; it is about "how are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, man, I'll listen." And Welter says, "They want to get better. They're competitors. They want to win. It's not about whether it's coming from a male or a female, it's like 'Do you have something that can help me and if you do, I'm going to listen and be receptive.'"
Overall, "the truth is, she has more playing experience than some of the coaches who coach me now," as realized by Mike Freeman in an exchange with Bleacher Report.
I let the rain wash me clean as I dream of that California scene.
I let the rain was me clean,
As I dream of that California scene
Where the waves, so mean
I can hardly breathe
Searching for that life without routine
How have I become this machine
Resting at a computer screen
Drowning caffeine, just to feel seen.
I let the rain wash me clean,
As I dream of that California scene
A car between a mountain and the sea
Where we rolled down our windows to scream,
Screaming for that life without routine.
Nothing will ever be the same after driving in Tokyo.
Anyone who has been lucky enough to drive in Japan knows the incredible courtesy of drivers. Other drivers don't hesitate to let you out of busy intersections or pull out across traffic for right turns, unlike drivers in Jersey that usually don't like to let you pull out for left turns. Fortunately for me, I learned how to drive in Japan. Unfortunately for me, I have now returned to the States, where drivers tend to fall more on the opposite side of the "politeness spectrum."
The first place I have driven since returning to the United States is New Jersey, and anyone unlucky enough to have driven in New Jersey knows that road rage is almost as common as traffic lights. Although I mentioned how most people miss polite drivers after leaving Japan in a past article, I have realized that there are so many more differences than just politeness that I miss.
1. Everyone's overall attitude about traffic is different.
In Japan, the drivers expect traffic and have pretty much come to terms with it. Rather than getting upset when driving in rush hour traffic, everyone sucks it up and understands that we are all in the same boat and there's nothing that can be done but wait it out. On the flip side, drivers in Jersey often get upset and frustrated, which is something I wasn't excited to return to after leaving Japan.
2. Although both Jersey and Japan have gas station attendants that help to pump your gas for you, their functions are quite different.
While in Jersey, they simply put gas in your tank. In Japan, they offer to clean your windshield and escort you back onto the road, even stopping traffic if you have to cross lanes. The extra mile that Japanese workers put into customer service is amazing and something I miss from the Land of the Rising Sun.
3. They drive on opposite sides of the street.
Although it may seem to be an obvious difference, it can be tricky adjusting to the other side. After driving in car where the steering wheel is on the right in Japan, it can be difficult to adjust back to driving a car in the States. The trickiest part isn't always the driving itself, but confusing the turn signal with the windshield wipers.
4. The signs are in different languages.
Another seemingly obvious difference, after returning to the States I realized how convenient it is to be able to read everything quickly and easily. The signs may be one of the few differences that I don't really miss from Japan.
5. Drivers in Japan use horns, lights, and bows as positive signs of gratitude and courtesy.
Of course, horns and lights are also used for other reasons, but they are often polite, to alert other drivers, or say "thank you." Other drivers also slightly bow and wave while driving, after being let out or helped. While at intersections at night, drivers even turn off their headlights while facing or stopped behind another vehicle, to save their fellow drivers' eyes from the blinding lights in the dark.
6. Pedestrians and bicyclists are treated differently.
While in the States, although pedestrians do have the right-of-way, they are often not given the same chances to cross that drivers in Japan give. People walking and riding bicycles are more common in Japan, and drivers are more likely to look out for them and give space, which I miss.
Although of course not all Jersey drivers are crazy, you don't get the same feeling there that you do in Japan. Driving anywhere is stressful, but driving in Japan is made a bit more enjoyable through the culture of the country and positive atmosphere on the road.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign