United We Kneel?

United We Kneel?

A sensitive subject that needed to be addressed...
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Recently, in the news, we've been seeing and hearing Trump's mouth, more important worldly news, and kneeing during the National Anthem. At first, it was mainly just Colin Kaepernick but now it's people all over the country. Here's my stance on the whole ordeal.

Honestly, I see both sides of the situation. Kaepernick and friends are kneeling because 1, it's their right to do so, 2, the great America we live in today has not been particularly "great" to people of color recently, and 3, not everyone has their hands on their hearts during the National Anthem anyway.

On the other hand, I do see where there could be a problem because yes, we live in America, we're free, all of that. The military fights for us. I understand all of that.

But like I said earlier, it's their right to kneel and it's everyone else's right to think it's wrong.

What I love the most about this whole thing is despite what happens to Colin, despite what they try to do to him or what people say, he's still going to kneel for what he believes in. He believes that there is a social injustice. He said he's not going to pledge and stand for "a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color".

It began after the inadmissible shootings of black people by white cops. Which is not often how it's portrayed in the news headlines. It's more like, "Cop shoots black guy who resisted arrest". I'm saying what it is, a white cop shooting a black man, or woman.

Though I understand both sides of the ordeal, I agree with Colin and the cause he's kneeling for. Mainly because it could be me next. Me getting pulled over and killed for reaching for my license and registration. It could be me with my hands up, complying, and still getting killed for "resisting arrest" or "having a knife".

I love this country, but recently I've been loving it a lot less. Now someone reading this may say, "well leave, then. We don't want you here if you don't want to be here". That's not the American way. There are people making others not want to be here anymore because of the injustice, brutality, racism and fear. Fear of me or one of my family members getting killed next.

We are oppressed. We are mistreated. Not me, per say. But my black brothers and sisters. My Hispanic friends. I have, indeed, gone through racially charged situations. I have had racism thrown my way and I was taught to brush it off "as long as they don't touch you". But honestly, if they do touch me, I'd be the one in trouble. Why? I'm the person with the darker skin. I'm more threatening. The width of my nose. The fullness of my lips. The thickness of my hips and the brownness of my eyes is frightening.

So, united we kneel. I'm woke, are you? *Power fist*

Cover Image Credit: NY Mag

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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, you 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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The Night Circus: A Book Review

Magic, adventure, and romance on every page.

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The Night Circus, written by Erin Morgenstern, is a captivating story of two apprenticed magicians who have been entered in their own magical competition. Celia Bowen is the daughter of a world-famous magician, Prospero the Enchanter. Prospero bets his own daughter against an old friends own apprentice, a young boy named Marco Alisdair. They both begin their training under their respective masters from a young age, always having harsh lessons and multiple performances. The two young magicians are told very little about the competition and they do not know who their opponent is.

Chandresh Christophe Lefevre is the creator of the circus, which becomes the arena for Celia and Marco. With help from Ethan Barris and the Burgess sisters, the circus is created. The whole place is black and white, from the huge tents to the performers costumes to even the grass within the gates. Magic and wonder fills the air as people enter the unusual scene. Chandresh constantly works with Mr. Barris and the sisters to continue creating new tents, along with the help of Marco and Celia. Eventually, the circus becomes the playing board for the apprentices. Each new creation of a tent is built up from the others ideas. Magic courses through the circus, but to the patrons it is all illusion and misdirection.

Bailey Clark is a young boy who dreams of joining the circus. He goes the whole while the circus is in town. He starts to fall in love with one of the young performers and eventually has to make a difficult decision that could save the whole circus from disappearing forever. Bailey's journey of self-finding and growing up will have you smiling the whole time you read about him and his wonderment of the circus.

With such vague, but strict rules of the competition, the magical components that keep the circus and everyone apart of it alive, and the desperation of a winner, things soon begin to turn complicated. In strong attempts to not give in, Marco and Celia begin to fall in love, but the competition prohibits that from happening. The circus starts to die. Misdirection turns into manipulation and things start to go wrong for everyone in the circus. No one is safe and it all comes down to Bailey to save everyone.

The book is written in a multi-perspective scenario, often jumping to a new storyline, new time era, and new events with each chapter. When reading, one should take careful notes of the starting dates and times at the start of each new chapter. Each individual story eventually comes together at the end, but read carefully or the illusions of the book might just trick you as well. Let yourself go and return to the childlike mentality of magic and wonder. You must attend the circus soon, for it only comes for a short time... and there is no warning. It will open at dark and close at dawn. Enjoy your time around the bonfire and get lost among the tents. Welcome to the Night Circus.

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