To One Of The Men Who Made Me

To One Of The Men Who Made Me

For one of the most influential men in my life.
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There's no doubt that time flies, but everyday since you've passed has been a blur of memories.

When I was a baby, you held me and walked me through your house while my parents worked. You pointed to everything you could and told me the words that went with each object. You helped give me the ability to express myself at a very early age, and I know I wouldn't be as eloquent or as well-spoken as I am today if it weren't for you.

You wrote stories with me, and our imaginations were our only limitation. Even when I couldn't write myself, you let me talk and tell you how the story went. You hung on every word, and made sure to write each one exactly as I had said it.

We colored countless pictures, and drew hundreds of circles, because you were always amazed by how perfect mine always came out. We painted dogs and flowers while we ate pasta smothered in Country Crock butter and garlic. Paired with buttered bread, of course.

We taught Sadie, the cutest ugly dog you've ever seen as you'd always say, to do more tricks than you ever thought she'd be capable of (probably because she was extremely food motivated, but hey we'll give it to her anyway.)

You fostered my love of music from the very start. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much as I do today. You taught me to read music, recognize notes on the piano, and even play a few short tunes. You would astound me with your ability to play polka music, both on the piano and the accordion. If I didn't feel like playing that day, you played for me and let me dance to my little heart's content for hours and hours in your back room. You helped me write my rhythms in my snare drum book when I started percussion and loved to listen to videos of me playing with my high school's percussion ensemble.


You taught me to putt and chip a golf ball, and your prowess always amazed me. I remember watching countless matches with you on T.V. and listening to your amazement with how good Tiger Woods was. I remember you practicing your swing in the living room, despite Grandma's protests because of the risk it posed to her lamps (and we won't mention the chips out of the paint on the ceiling).

You taught me to play Go Fish, but also Euker and Texas Hold Em. You never let me win, so on rare occasions when I did, I knew I was really doing well (but I had the best teacher in the whole world). You also taught me to play pool, and even let me try my hand at darts. When all that was done, Yahtzee never let us down either.

You taught me to juggle with golf balls in your room. After I made the switch from golf balls to batons, it became my absolute favorite event, and it always will be.

When I got older, you gave me true Italian dating advice. Why have one boyfriend when you can have a dozen? You said it worked for you, until one found out and let the others know, and then you went from a dozen girlfriends to none. Maybe I'll stick to just one...

You loved watching me twirl, and always supported me, even when we had to miss your birthday every single year because of nationals.

You never failed to ask me how I was. You always asked me about school, what classes I was taking, and made sure I was taking care of myself. You made sure my mom and dad were doing well, and you were never interested in talking about yourself, only others.

I will carry these memories and many more with me forever and always look fondly upon them.

You cared so much about every single person you met. You were smart, funny, and never failed to make me smile. You were such a bright light in a dark world, and although I am glad you are no longer in any pain, I will miss everything about you dearly. I will take every lesson I learned from you with me throughout the rest of my life, and never forget where I came from.

I came from love, music, games of all varieties that make you think, pasta with loads of butter, the thirst for knowledge, compassion for all living beings, and genuine care for others. There are many amazing people in my life that I have learned a lot from, but these things I have learned in many ways from you.

Thank you for absolutely everything.

You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again...


Cover Image Credit: Emmy Rinehart

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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