Why Being A Benchwarmer Is The Best Thing To Happen To You In Sports

Why Being A Benchwarmer Is The Best Thing To Happen To You In Sports

I loved it and here's why
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Whatever the sport, whatever the game, there is one underrated position: benchwarmer. Although it is seen as a lack of skill, coordination, talent or mix of the three being a benchwarmer is the best thing that can happen to you in sports.

I used to think being a starter was amazing -- and I was a starter for one game. But before I knew it, I was placed on the second string and thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Little did I know, there was nothing better.

Of course, I was kind of bummed and hoping I could prove myself worthy of starting again. I thought that if I worked really hard at practice, was super focused during games and sucked up to the coach a little bit maybe I could be seen as a team leader. After trying that for a few weeks, I gave up. Putting in all the effort I had, I decided to let the seriousness go, and have fun. There was no point in me practicing that hard, I wasn't that good, and I wasn't that competitive. Not to mention, I hated the position I played. But that didn't mean I still wouldn't try for me. I just decided I wasn't going to work that hard for something that really didn't matter that much to me.

When I finally accepted my bench-warming position I fell in love with it. I had a blast sitting on the sidelines, without the pressure, the yelling or the guilt of messing up. Working on a team can get pretty stressful, especially with only five players on the court at a time. You will be passed to, you will have to make shots and you most definitely will make big mistakes. It's not that I didn't care about playing hard, but I didn't care about winning or making my teammates feel bad about messing up. Who was I to yell at them? But that hadn't stopped anyone from yelling at me.

I was in the best position, now; getting to play my fill during practice without the tension, and getting away with a lot of fun because I didn't need to be so serious. My friend and I basically goofed off every minute, with laughter being the reason we were out of breath. We sat side by side on the bench, cheering if the other got to go into the game by chance, and made jokes all four quarters.

I never had to have my uniform washed, I didn't have to worry if I forgot my lucky headband and I wasn't on the coaches radar. It was awesome. I learned that being the underdog has its own perks, that sitting out during the games was way more fun than actually playing and that I played this sport because I loved it -- not because I was good at it.

Now, I'm not saying I didn't love playing as well, but I learned to love just being part of the team. I learned to love getting to know my teammates more than I ever had, and I learned to love being second best.

Because that's what happens when you love something enough -- you stick around for it, whether you're included in that or not. I just loved the sport and wanted to spend my time surrounded by it whether that meant playing or watching. That's why being a benchwarmer is the best thing to happen to me in sports because it showed my true love for the game and what it really meant to me.

Cover Image Credit: wisegeek.org

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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