Why I’m Happy I Grew Up In The Small City I Did

Why I’m Happy I Grew Up In The Small City I Did

Westbrook isn't only where I grew up as a kid, but its a place I continue to call home.

Westbrook, Maine is where I’m proud to call my home town. We all have our places to call home and we also have the many reasons why we do so. Westbrook is considered “home” to many people. Anyone who doesn’t live in Westbrook probably only know us from the smelly paper mill… But I mean who would forget that smell anyway? I’ve been raised here my whole 20 long years of life, and at the moment, I wouldn’t change it for the world. There are many reasons why someone calls their town their home, here are my reasons:

Little League Fields: From the age I could remember, probably eleven years old, I spent most of my summer and non-summer days at the fields as did many of the kids in the area. I played for at least two softball teams a year and even competed in tournaments where people came all from all over the state to compete in! How cool is that? As well as in 2005, a team won the Little League World Series on National TV! Something many cities can’t say they have done. I met many people here, gained a lot of good friendships; it was a my go to place growing up.

Together Days: Every year we all look forward to this weekend, but I mean who wouldn’t? Fair food, rides and games - it couldn’t get any better than this. This weekend would always start off with a parade from all the way back by the ice rink on Lincoln Street and move down to the Riverbank Park. Everything from fried dough, cotton candy, turkey legs, and root beer floats - we have it all here. Growing up I would count down the days until this week, it was two days of straight sun, hanging with friends, and thoughts of getting closer to summer!

Westbrook High School: Four years here and many memories to follow. Those walls heard more drama, seen more friendships come to an end, and cherished the memories that were made inside of it. Anyone who attended WHS knew everyone and anything. Anytime anyone would ask from a different area how many kids we had in our school we would say 400 something and they would look at us in shock and say “that’s how many kids I have in my class.” We were a small school. Many memories were made here; friday night football games, pep rallies, and awesome teachers. I wouldn’t of wanted to spend these four years of my life anywhere else.

These things are the ones that mean the most to me and I’m pretty sure if you ask anyone else from here when they were growing up, at least one of these would come to mind. This place is one of a kind. We know our city isn’t perfect, and there are some things that could change, but as for now this is where I call home and will continue to do so. Westbrook, Maine you have my heart.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.

I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Folsom Street Fair | Thomas Hawk | Flickr

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Folsom Street Fair | Thomas Hawk | Flickr

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