To The Coach Who Bullied Me In High School

To The Coach Who Bullied Me In High School

When you stopped the game, why was I the only one you screamed at?
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To the coach who bullied me in high school,

Throughout my entire life, I have always loved sports. I couldn't imagine my life without them. If I went one day without being active in some way, shape or form, my day would feel incomplete. That was until I hit high school.

Before I had you as a coach, I've always loved going to practices, no matter what sport it was. Even if I felt like throwing up, I would still push through either a practice or a game, and wait until I got home to pass out either on the couch or my bed. I would come home and typically feel good about my performance that day. I've always had in interest in music and theater, but I knew you would get on me for having any commitments besides you and "your" team. I was warned about you before even officially joining the team, but I loved the sport enough, so I shrugged off everyone else and was still committed to you. I even played for you the day I got hit in the head with a giant rock by another student, because I was the only first baseman, and I didn't want to let you down, even though everyone else thought I was crazy for making that decision. I've also turned down an opportunity to go to a state conference that could have been a huge resume booster, only so that I wouldn't be benched the rest of my senior year.

After finally being able to start varsity, you told me that I had the potential to be a backup pitcher. This was when I had started paying to get lessons, hoping that one day you would let me pitch a game. No, I didn't expect to do it much since I had already had another starting position, and was a backup but when both my mom and I were taking money out of our pockets weekly for lessons, I expected to at least get to do it a little. You didn't even give me that opportunity until the last game, 21 games into the season, against the worst team in the league. By that time, I had quit going to lessons because I no longer saw a point in wasting the money, only to get let down each game. This was when I got scolded for not practicing any. Maybe I would have practiced if I had gotten an actual opportunity to do it in a game, rather than completely wearing out our starter, making her pitch double headers by herself, multiple times.

Typically, a teenage girl would be worried about other players bullying her. Yes, this was true with me as well, but what I was more worried about was you bullying me. We were winning by 8 runs, and all of a sudden, had a bad inning, allowing way too many runs to be scored. Yes, I will admit that should not have happened, but when you stopped the game, why was I the only one you screamed at? I will never forget the words you said to me that day, "What the hell is the matter with you Lipani? Did you forget how to play the game? Step it up or you're out of the game!" I was used to getting blamed, because there's no better person to blame for a messed up play than the first baseman. Never did I think it would be to that extent though. Not to mention this was in front of everybody's parents, and it was not quietly said either. Did you forget that there were 5 mistakes made previous to mine, that were probably more crucial?

There was a double header that day, and you decided to sit me out the second game for crying, and my head not completely being there. Of course, I'm going to cry and be upset when you completely embarrassed me in front of my parents, my best friend, as well as all of the other parents that were there that day. From that point on, I was terrified to go to practices, or games, and I was so close to quitting, with just a couple short weeks left in my final season. At that point, I didn't even care, I just wanted to be done with you, and no longer treated like one less from the rest of the team.

Maybe I would have tried playing in college or travel ball if it wasn't for you. You've taken away a lot of my confidence when it comes to sports. People told me I was a good player, but I didn't believe them because you've torn me down so many times. Even at the awards banquet, your favorite memory of me was of me tripping over my shoe and having to crawl to the base to get the out. Maybe you were trying to be funny (and I'll admit it kind of was), but you had nothing better to say? Everyone else got great things said about them and mine was that? Even to this day, I still get a nervous feeling in my stomach whenever I see you around.

Even though you've made my time with you a living nightmare, you have taught me that I am a stronger and better person than how you treated me. I deserve to be respected, and If I can get through you being my coach for 4 years, I can get through just about anything tough that comes my way.

Cover Image Credit: stocksnap.io

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Season Takeaways For All 32 NFL Teams: NFC South Edition

How did your favorite team perform in the 2018-19 season and what are the biggest questions that need to be addressed this offseason and beyond? This week, I'll be reviewing the four teams in the NFC South.

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It's been another exciting season in the NFL. At the beginning of each year, each team/fanbase has a slue of expectations for their team whether you're in the middle of a rebuild, seeing how rookie talent pans out or plotting for contention in the playoffs. Regardless of the team, expectations always change. Injuries, free agency and coaching changes all play a role in how a team re-evaluates their priorities, and there's never a shortage of any of those three in this league. Here's how the NFC East faired this season.

1. New Orleans Saints - The window to win a Super Bowl may be closing

The missed pass interference/helmet-to-helmet call in the NFC Championship has put a sour taste in what was a great season for the Saints all things considered. The last time the Saints made the division championship game they went on to win the Super Bowl and many believe that they had a great chance to compete against whatever team emerged out of the AFC. However, losing a 13-point lead at home and then failing to get a touchdown with the first possession in overtime makes it harder to justify the position they find themselves in.

Drew Brees just turned 40 and I think it's only because Tom Brady is still playing that the "washed up/declining performance" narrative has escaped him. Granted, the Patriots have dominated both the headlines and the NFL for the greater part of two decades whereas the Saints have somewhat flown under the radar. With Drew Brees increasing in age, a limited receiving core and star running back Mark Ingram approaching unrestricted free agency this offseason, it'll be interesting to see if the Saints can continue their upward momentum.

2. Atlanta Falcons - Too many injuries to overcome

28-3 jokes aside, the Atlanta Falcons had everything they needed for another playoff run when the season opened. 2016 MVP Matt Ryan was looking to bounce back off a below-average year for his standards alongside other star players Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. The Falcons were another one of those teams that just found themselves plagued by injuries. Their defense took major hit after major hit which eventually placed them in the bottom half of the league by the end of the season.

Offense remained complicated for the Falcons as well. Running back Devonta Freeman missed four of the first six games of the season due to complications with his foot and knee before being placed on the Injured Reserve in Week 6. There's also been much to say about the Falcon's former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and the correlation between him and the Falcons' lower offensive outputs. The Falcons will now look to Drik Koetter, former head coach at Tampa Bay and Falcons offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014, to revitalize their offense to its full potential.

3. Carolina Panthers - Get Cam healthy

The Panthers suffered from what was probably the biggest season-ending implosion in recent memory this season. By Week 9, the Panthers were 6-2, favorites to win their division with many media personalities taking them to win the conference and get a shot at the Super Bowl. From there, the Panthers lost 7 in a row to end their season 7-9 with a second-place finish in the division and missing the playoffs. The most concerning part is the teams they lost to. The Panthers fell to Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Atlanta during that stretch.

At some point, the psychology of losing that many games in a row probably had a lot to do with the Panthers crumbling. But as with most underperforming teams this season, injury definitely played a role as well. Star Tight End Greg Olsen ended his season during the team's Week 13 loss to Tampa Bay and Cam Newton suffered a phantom injury throughout most of the season.

Newton admitted that his injury played a large part in the team's outcome, and the Panthers were so convinced he was unable to play they let him rest for the last two games of the season. In a recent video posted to his YouTube channel, Newton reveals that he suffered some cartilage damage that limited his range of motion. In doing so, Newton was limited in both his accuracy and the distance he could throw downfield. Now that he knows the root of his issue, hopefully the Panthers will take the right steps moving forward to get him back on the field and get the team back to winning.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Too many individual parts

At the beginning of the season, the Tamba Bay Buccaneers surprised everyone in the football world the first handful of weeks into the season. After some absolutely outstanding play from veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was filling in for a suspended Jameis Winston, it really looked like Tampa Bay was going somewhere. Turns out that "somewhere" was to the bottom of the division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended their season 5-11.

A lot of the Buccaneers' woes have come from the quarterback position. After drafting Winston in 2015, he's been prone to play very inconsistently. This year alone, he threw as many interceptions (14) as he did touchdowns (19). Despite this, he has his highest QBR in his career at 71.8. It's hard to determine whether or not he's improved or not as many of his stats appear to move inversely. His yards, touchdowns and total interceptions have trended downward. On the other hand, his yards per attempt and completion percentages have trended upwards.

But fans and the team as a whole remain optimistic with the hiring of head coach Bruce Arians potentially being the key to figuring out Winston. Next season will tell, however, whether or not it's time to finally move on.

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