To The High School Athlete Wearing My Old Jersey

To The High School Athlete Wearing My Old Jersey

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Some of us were destined to become athletes. For me, my athletic fate was declared in the home video of my mother in labor. My father was hoping I was a boy so I could follow in his footsteps and become a “football star,” but my mother knocked some sense into him, reminding him that they might have a girl. He then laughed and said, “Then our little girl will be a star.”

Low and behold, here I am. Luckily for my dad, I instantly fell in love with sports. I always had a ball in my hand, and it's safe to say that I was dribbling a ball before I could actually walk. I’ve loved sports for as long as I could remember.

Once I was at an eligible age, I signed up for every sport I wanted to play. Each year, I was able to love my sports more and more, but notably fell completely in love with basketball. Once my potential and talent were obvious, my parents then allowed me to try out for out-of-town teams. Soon enough I was spending my summers playing in time-consuming leagues, driving state to state. By middle school, I was playing for some of the best AAU teams in New Jersey, with girls from all over who soon became my other family.

By this point in my athletic career, I also had a consistent number: 23. There was no particular reason, other than being influenced by Michael Jordan, but it just happened and it stuck. Although it might sound silly, one of my biggest concerns upon entering high school was not having my number. Thankfully, everything happens for a reason and I was able to. It was claimed and mine for my entire high school career.

Every season leading up to your senior year, you’re always told how quickly your four years will go. You're told to embrace your years playing the sport you love. Then slowly and without any realization, those glory days come to an epic end. Now all those teams, recognition, titles, and championships are something I can never get back. Although I was given the opportunity to pursue my athletics in college, nothing will beat high school sports and wearing the number I was known for having. It didn't really hit me until my senior night and during states.

I’m now the one sitting in the stands, watching games with the other alum, and it’s unbelievably uncomfortable because I'm dying to get out there. I wish I was on that court in my number. Now, as I sit here reflecting on all my years, I just need to tell you something about that very number they call before introducing your name.

As you play my game, in my jersey, on what was once my court, I want you to think about all of those before and after you. Always remember those little girls just now learning to play the game that we have both grown to love. Remember the little girl in you and that first significant basket you made.

There’s a lot of history in that very jersey you are wearing today. It represents your successes and your losses, just like it represents mine. I made shots and missed shots. I had steals and rebounds, just as I've had the ball deflected and stolen from me. There were times when I was anxious. There were times when I was nervous. There were times when I was indescribably angry in that jersey, to the point where it felt like my blood was boiling.

But there was nothing like the smile captured on camera when I stepped on the court during my first varsity game. I’ve had some of my happiest moments in that jersey along with some of my saddest-- like when I cried like an actual baby when I walked off the court after my very last home game.

That jersey isn’t just a jersey--it’s a legacy, and every legacy has its own story. It will never die. As I watch from the stands three years later, watching the very same plays I used to breathe and sleep that you are now executing, you should know that I am expecting a lot from you. I want nothing more than for you to play better than what you think is your best, because even I didn't do our number the justice it deserves.

Don’t take it for granted like I did. Don’t you dare complain about the endless amount of sprints you have to run during preseason like I did with my girls. If I could, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ll take the sore muscles and elbows to the face. I’ll take back all the ugly bruises that covered almost every part of my body. I’d pretty much do anything to wear that jersey one last time and to see my family, who were my number one fans and supporters, cheering me on in the stands.

Own that jersey. Own that number. Do so with pride. Like myself, it will be the hardest goodbye you’ll make when leaving high school.


Cover Image Credit: Buzzfeed

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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4 Things All Former Athletes Miss About Being Part Of A Team

You WILL miss playing sports in college.

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Ever since I was a little girl, I was always on a team, until I came to college. You'd think that after a lifetime of constant practices, meets, and games that I would've been sick of sports by the time college came around. However, I still miss it so much. I miss goofing around at practices with my favorite people while doing the extremely intense workouts our coaches would give us. I miss riding the bus to every meet while blasting music the entire way there and back. Most importantly, I miss competing with all of my friends and cheering each other on for hours upon hours. There are so many things that I miss about being part of a team and I'm sure you do too. I have listed the top four things that I miss about no longer being part of a team.

1. The unbreakable bond that you have with your teammates

You would think that spending hours upon hours with each other at practices, competing, and team bonding experiences that you would be sick of each other, but you actually learn to love your teammates even more. You spend so much time together that they become your best friends and then you find yourselves hanging out with each other even during the little free time that you have.

2. The trust that you have placed in your coach's hands

You spent years trusting your coaches to make you the best at what you do. Spending hours at practices, working extremely hard to accomplish simple goals and them putting all of their faith in you as you compete in your weekly meets truly builds a social trust between you and your coach.

3. Going to practice every day to practice your heart out

Some days you dreaded it and some days you loved it, but no matter the day you always gave it your all at practice. You'll even miss the hard workouts that always kicked your butt because you loved how it felt to be super sore the next day and to know that you were actually getting better. Plus, you were probably always really fit and in shape so that's always good.

4. Competing at meets with your teammates

Getting out of class early a couple of times a week to lay on the bus seat and blast music with your teammates until you finally get to the school and then doing the exact same thing on the way back. Pretending your teammates hear you cheering them on while they kill it and pretending you hear them cheering you on even though you all are way too focused to hear that, but you still always appreciate it. Not to mention for some athletes, the awful tan lines that you low-key love, but could never get rid of your entire life.

Being part of a team is one of the best experiences I've ever had and I will forever miss it.

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