The Struggles Of Having A Best Friend Who Lives Across The World

The Struggles Of Having A Best Friend Who Lives Across The World

It's easy to take your best friend for granted, Alina moving really made me appreciate the time we spent together in Alabama.
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I met Alina in Montgomery, Alabama at a tennis tournament when we were both roughly seven years old. She lived in Tuscaloosa, I lived in Spanish Fort, but we saw each other nearly every weekend at tournaments across the country, and she was my doubles partner for all of those tournaments.

From the moment we met each other, I knew she would become special to me. We shared countless laughs, meals, secrets, etc. To this day she is one of the most important people in my life, but one thing has changed. When we were ten years old, she moved back to Germany.

From Facetime dates to ten-minute Snapchat videos updating the other on our lives, having a best friend who lives in Germany takes a lot of planning. The time difference between us is six hours, moving to Tallahassee brought me one hour closer to her, so thank you for that, college. Nonetheless, the time difference is our greatest communication barrier.

On top of the six-hour time difference, I am a full-time student and she works full-time, so neither of us has an abundance of free time. Even with all our obstacles, we routinely make time for each other each and every day. Whenever I have ever needed her, she has been there, despite the 4,814 miles separating us.

Ok while Alina living across the world is not exactly ideal, it does call for some pretty amazing trips. Three years ago, Alina came to visit me in Sweet Home Alabama. We made the most of the three weeks she was here: filling them with trips to the beach, making up for missed birthday and holidays, a weekend get-away to Disney's Magic Kingdom, and of course, all the girls night's in we had missed out on the last six years. But, as always, all good things must come to an end. I vividly remember the day I had to drive her to the Mobile Airport.

We stood outside my car at the drop-off for several painful minutes hugging each other as we hopelessly cried into the other's shoulders. I'm crying again just thinking back on it. I watched her walk into the airport and it has been three years since I've last seen her. I would give anything to have her at FSU with me, taking on this new phase of our lives together.

To all the girls out there whose best friends live close, please do not take that for granted. You are so blessed to have your person physically with you throughout your everyday life.

Oh, and Alina, I'll see you on May 8th. That's right, folks, I will be flying to Germany in a few months to once again spend a few, long-overdue weeks with my soul sister. Words cannot describe the overwhelming joy this upcoming trip has already brought me.

To Alina, thank you for being my person. Your friendship is priceless, and there are no words to describe how much you mean to me. I love you forever and always. The Atlantic Ocean ain't got nothing on us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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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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