They Love

Poetry On Odyssey: 'They Love'

Only time's till we pay

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Wait for me,

Spend not like those old and gray

Because without a lord

Only time's till we pay


No greater worship exist

Than giving what seems free,

To place a heart at risk

Of losing a piece of the infinite.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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How I Lost My Two Front Teeth

Be warned that this story does not involve a tooth fairy.

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This might be one of the most vulnerable (and traumatic) things I could possibly share with the internet. It is continuously something I have to deal with and sometimes I fear I have not quite come to terms with it yet. No, this is not about losing my baby teeth as a child. So buckle down and be prepared for some dark shit.

It was the summer of 2018. At the time, I was very insecure in my open relationship with my ex-girlfriend. She was going out of town to party with her friends, so you can imagine how my mind was racing with thoughts. I am insecure as it is and putting myself in a relationship that I knew I wasn't comfortable with was one of the worst decisions I've ever made. Yet there I was.

I didn't want to think about things that were out of my control and decided to go out with my friends. I was thinking that I couldn't think about things if I was too drunk to care. Before we got to the bar I had already had a couple of drinks. Then I made the terrible decision of drinking Long Island Iced Teas when we got to the bar. After my first one, I was pretty belligerent and at that point, there was no going back. From what I remember and what I was told, a guy at the bar bought me another drink. Things got worse after that.

I wanted to go home but my friends wanted me to wait it out with them until they were ready. A "friend" I just met at the bar ordered me an Uber, hearing that I had expressed I was ready to go home. I stumbled my way out of the bar and into the dark SUV that claimed they were my Uber. That's when things got scary. I remember being yelled at by my driver and feeling scared. I called a friend so they could hear what was happening in hopes I would have a witness to whatever was going on. All I know is that I kept repeating for him to let me out of the car as he screamed at me.

Then, everything went black after the car door slammed and I found myself on the sidewalk with blood on my hands. My friend on the phone picked me up from the side of the road and took me to my dorm. I remember being in an ambulance after that and called another friend. Repeatedly on the phone I said, "Why would someone hurt me? Why would someone do this to me?" When I woke up, I was in a hospital room going in and out of body exams. I stuttered, asking the nurse for a mirror. Upon looking at myself, I welled up with tears. Two of my teeth were broken, my mouth was swollen and face bruised.

Everything was different after that. There was a pending investigation but nobody could find or knew who my driver was. After many visits to the dentist, I found out that my teeth were broken at the root and couldn't be saved. I had temporary caps for a while but eventually had to get them pulled and now I wear a partial. To this day, sometimes I look in the mirror at the gap where my two teeth used to be and I feel forever changed. I know that a lot of the changes were for the best, but I also know I will never have my two teeth back.

I also learned to not ever date someone that couldn't reciprocate your feelings because it can only end up breaking you... or your teeth. But really, I was so insecure in myself and my relationship that I ended up basically hurting myself and putting myself in a terrible situation. I suppose the whole point of this is to tell people to never settle and to take care of yourself. You have to do better for you, even if nobody can be better for you. Also, don't take Ubers alone, especially in a completely intoxicated state. Just be kind to yourself and others.

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