When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.
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When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her far more than a new pair of shoes. You are giving her new friends and new challenges and so many lessons and some of her best memories.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a team. You are giving her a group of girls that she might not have ever talked to if it wasn’t for these common cleats. A group of girls who will teach her how to be a teammate. A group of girls who will laugh with her and yell at her and train with her and win with her and lose with her. With a pair of cleats comes a group of mismatched people with a common goal who are learning from each other and working together.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a coach. This coach is going to play an instrumental role in her love or hate for the sport. This coach will work her hard. This coach will train her and teach her and encourage her and yell at her and make her cry and hug her and cheer her on. This coach wants to see her succeed. This coach knows what these cleats mean, what this sport means. And this coach will be someone that she will watch. She will watch the way that her coach talks to her and talks to her teammates and talks to the other team and she will see her coach’s responses to games that are won and games that are lost. This pair of cleats comes with a role model, for better or for worse.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her team practices. You are giving her practice that will instill discipline and dedication and commitment. You are teaching her that she is on a team and she is expected to put in time. You are teaching her that her presence is important and that people are relying on her. You are teaching her how to balance her time, because, now, she has school and practice and games and teammates and friends and family. And for the first time in her life, she has to establish priorities. With this practice time comes some of the hardest conditioning and training. With this practice time comes some of her favorite memories as she bonds with her teammates and laughs with them and works hard with them. This pair of cleats comes with quite the time commitment.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her game days. You are giving her bus rides and warm up playlists and team matching hair ribbons and orange slices at half-time and constantly looking for your water bottle on the sidelines. You are giving her a competitiveness that can only come out on the field. You are giving her the cheers from the sidelines and the screams of her coach and the exhaustion in her legs at the end of the game. You are giving her handshakes with opponents and a winning attitude even when she loses. With a pair of cleats comes pasta dinners and game days; These will become her favorite days.

SEE ALSO: My First Semester As A College Athlete

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a challenge. She is going to grow and learn, and she’s going to want to quit at times, but she is going to look down at her feet and remember why she’s doing this. She’s going to remember her teammates and her coaches and the amount of time she’s poured into this sport, and she’s going to realize that it’s worth it. She’s going to be covered in bruises and her socks are going to stink, and she’s always going to be looking for a sock or needing a hair elastic. She’s going to be tired, and she’s going to get hurt. But those cleats are going to establish lessons that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life, friends that she is going to learn to love, and discipline that she is going to be thankful for. If you’re the girl with the cleats, soak it in. Love the long practices and the exhaustion and the sound of the whistle that starts the game. If you’re the girl without the cleats, go get some. Try something new. Take the risk. Sign up for the team, the musical, the club. You will regret it if you don’t. Even if you fail, few things can teach you the lessons that those cleats will.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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20 Things LESS Exciting Than Hearing 'Dixieland Delight' Again At Bryant-Denny

Yes, "Dixie" is free but have you ever thought about what would students dread to face on campus too?

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Freeing "Dixieland Delight" was probably more exciting to Alabama fans than winning a national championship. OK, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but nothing will ever beat the feeling of the fourth quarter of the Missouri game and hearing the first beat of that song.

If you don't believe me, here are 20 things that were LESS exciting than hearing "Dixieland Delight" playing at Bryant Denny Stadium.

1. Finding a good parking spot on campus

2. Waking up and seeing that your class is cancelled 

3. Seeing free T-shirts being passed out

4. Getting an A on a midterm

5. Receiving free food

6. Going to bed before 12 midnight

7. Doing all your homework BEFORE class

8. When your parents deposit money in your bank account

9. Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring and summer break

10. A gameday in the South

11. Seeing a dog on campus

12. Going to Starbucks and seeing no line

13. Finding the exact quizlet you need

14. Walking in to a class prepared for a test

15. Working out... in college...

16. Talking to your parents on the phone

SEE ALSO: 23 Things You Call Your Mom For In College

17. Facetiming an old friend from back home

18. Getting a care package from your parents

19. Being well rested 

20. Winning a national championship

In case you forgot, these were things that don't even compare to hearing "Dixieland Delight" and actually singing it to the top of your lungs with thousands of people. Now that "Dixie" is free, maybe Alabama fans will now stay for all four quarters.

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The U.S. And Europe Can Learn A Lot About Immigration From The 2018 FIFA World Cup

The beauty of diversity at this year's World Cup.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup was alight with surprises and unexpected twists throughout its entirety—the defending champion Germany getting knocked out in the group stages (still upset about that tbh) along with powerhouses Portugal and Argentina getting slotted in the Round of 16, Russia's improbable run deep into the quarter-finals, and Croatia's absolutely incredible venture into their first ever FIFA World Cup Finals, culminating in France's victory for only the second time in its career as a nation made for an incredible tournament in Russia.

While the United States was unfortunately unable to qualify and compete this time around, there are some key takeaways that we can utilize as a country from the success of this incredibly diverse French side in Moscow—namely, the idea of immigration as a force for good, which has been set alight as a largely controversial topic of discussion by consistently inflammatory remarks made by our President and various members of the far right-wing sections of the Republican Party.

Unfortunately, the value of immigration as a core component of our great nation and the work ethic displayed by those who aspire to achieve what is touted as the "American Dream" is downplayed by pure-blood activists such as Steve Bannon (how that monster of a human—actual Neo-Nazi and white supremacist—became a political strategist still defies conventional expectation) and Tomi Lahren (who seems to think that the only acceptable immigrants are ones coming from Europe like her own), among many others of the Republican Party who claim themselves loyal to the United States, a country that was founded upon the principles of freedom from tyranny and the hope of a new life for those seeking justice and prosperity.

The central aspect of ridding our nation of whom Trump calls "illegals" was one of the founding pillars of the dogma that took Republicans by storm during the 2016 election cycle, and was a major factor that led to Trump's rise to power and the destruction of moderation of Republican ideals by candidates such as John Kasich in favor of an extreme set of tactics designed to beat down and discourage the very concept of American immigration.

So far, we have had several attempts to ban Muslim immigration outright from select countries and multiple efforts to reduce the flux of immigration across the Mexican border, which has culminated into a substantial crisis as ICE has routinely separated migrant children from their families in an effort to undermine the attempts of those who seek political asylum in the United States for a chance at a new life, away from the horrors that they fled from. Our President and Congress have done nothing but degrade the concept of immigration from nations other than Europe.

Beyond just the United States, the status of immigration throughout Western Europe has come into question amidst a rising tide of right-wing candidates such as Marie Le Pen of France and political parties such as Alternative for Germany, who preach about the sanctity of national identity as the backbone of patriotism. Such contingents constantly prove their hypocrisy about the value of their so-called nationalism by pointing to national sports figures as a symbol of their countries prowess but then insulting those very athletes for their perceived lack of national character during a loss.

Whilst on the subject of the World Cup, no athlete comes more prominently to mind as a scapegoat for his national identity than Mesut Ozil, a key figure of the German National team (colloquially known as Die Mannschaft) who has been constantly ridiculed by the German right-wing for his perceived lack of Germanness due to his silence during the National Anthem (Ozil has stated that he prays during this time to ensure success), amongst a plethora of other accusations. Despite the overall poor performance of the entire German squad at this year's World Cup, it was Ozil who was singled out as a pariah by the AfD, and not for the first time.

Amongst all of the Germany squad, it is Ozil's Turkish roots that are the most heavily inspected, in spite of his unquestionable talent as one of the best midfielders in the game, and the status of other immigrants and the children of immigrants that have donned the black and white national jersey, including Sami Khedira, Lukas Podolski, and Miroslav Klose. When the team wins, they praise the strength of the collective unit; when they lose, it is often Ozil who is left taking the majority of the backlash himself. The hypocrisy of the right-wing in Europe truly is astounding.

Enter the French National team, a contingent of 23 players spanning a wealth of nationalities including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Germany, Portugal, and Spain, amongst various others. All but 2 of these footballers were born and raised in France, and their devotion to their home allowed them to put aside their differences to fight together for the collective whole of Les Bleus, culminating in a victory that can be defined as a success story for all immigrants.

In the passion of the beautiful game, it mattered not who they were as individuals, but what they represented—the ethos of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity that defined their character as a unit, and that is why they stand triumphant as world champions. The victory of the French at this year's World Cup is a symbolic icon of the value of diversity in today's world.

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