Why Meeting Luke Kuechly Brought Me To Tears

Why Meeting Luke Kuechly Brought Me To Tears

Go to a taco restaurant and you'll meet an NFL player.
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Babalu Tapas and Tacos is a southern-influenced restaurant that sits on East Boulevard in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ever since its recent opening on July 25, the eatery has served hundreds of people, including Carolina Panthers Linebacker Luke Kuechly.

My family and I decided to try the new restaurant before I departed for my sophomore year at the University of Richmond. There was a 45-minute wait, but we decided to stick it out. While waiting for a table, my sister shoved me, saying, “Luke Kuechly, Luke Kuechly, Luke Kuechly!”

If you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’re a Panthers fan. If you live anywhere near North Carolina, you’re a Panthers fan. Therefore, any fan would consider coming face-to-face with Luke Kuechly a dream come true.

Being the fan of Luke that I am, my sister’s alert caused my vision to blur and my breath to shorten. My eyes finally focused on Luke himself, walking right in front of me. As he exited Babalu, I grabbed my brother and sister and chased Luke outside. I called his name until he finally turned around and I nervously asked, “Would it be alright to take a quick picture? I know this is super annoying so I’ll make it quick.” Although he is constantly bombarded with fans asking for autographs or getting a photo taken, Luke graciously accepted my request. After posing for a picture, he darted off towards his car in hopes that no one else would delay his departure.

Meeting Luke Kuechly made my bucket list and the 45-minute wait for dinner shorter.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpapers DSC

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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The SUPER Super Bowl

A Ballerina's Pointe of View

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For most of my life, Sunday afternoons in winter have meant lacing up my pointe shoes and putting on my game face. No, not for football, but for "the summer intensive." Dancers across the country (and internationally) vie for a coveted spot at a top ballet school. This year, I am not competing for such a spot and finally had time to sit and watch the always-hyped Super Bowl! My fellow dorm-mates watching with me, quickly labeled the low-scoring game as "underwhelming." Perhaps in an effort to justify my time spent in front of the TV, this dancer/writer made an effort to see what was "super" about this year's Super Bowl.

As a student at USC, I was cheering for the Rams! Not only are they an LA-based team, but they play home games at the LA Coliseum, the same venue as our own football team. I will admit it was a painful experience to watch them walk away without even one touchdown; even friends on USC's football team admitted to me that they did not watch the game past half-time.

However, despite everyone's deadpanning of the game, I found joy in watching it from start to finish. I did not do this because I thought the Rams would make a comeback. What I found is that I genuinely enjoy watching football and studying the movements of the players -- there is an athletic grace that can be found in most plays and the moves can be broken down into balletic steps. (In fact, football players see improvements in their game when they take ballet. But that topic is for another article. Stay tuned!) I love it when the slow-mo replays show the positions the body takes -- the height of the jump, the split in the air, the jukes left and right, the balance and agility, and even a lunge to tackle. All such movements appear to embody dancing to me; I loved analyzing the movements and thinking about how the athlete could have moved differently for a more successful play.


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Another "super" aspect of the low-scoring Super Bowl game is that defensive plays were given a chance to shine. A friend of mine and member of USC's football team, Solomon Tuliaupupu, relished the game. He said, "Being a linebacker, I actually enjoyed the long drives where the linebackers had to constantly play their assignments correctly or risk letting a big play go." Solomon also explained "a lot of powerful movements on both sides of the ball from both teams." That doesn't sound boring, does it? A high score is not necessarily an indicator of an exciting and skilled game if you change your view. Bringing this back to dance, a soloist or prima (in this game, for example, the prima could be likened to the famous Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) may initially seem to receive all the glory and audience accoladesbut it is the corps de ballet, the dancers in the back that support the cast and allow for the storyline to continue.

How can I continue discussion of the Super Bowl without mention of the ads? Even these, with their nostalgic touches seemed "standard" and "nothing special" to my friends. I, on the other hand, LOVED the dancing. In the Expensify commercial, the viewer is immediately drawn into the bold moves and music, because it was a literal music video featuring Adam Scott and 2 Chainz. As a dancer, I appreciate the incorporation of dance into mainstream media. As seen in this music video ad, the dancers enhance the overall performance and this commercial made it "actually cool" to do your expenses through Expensify. A second example would be the one for the NFL. In the star-studded NFL commercial, I found it so entertaining how all the players moved and turned like a choreographed dance.

Finally, many even gave the halftime show a so-so rating. The NFL played it safe with an apolitical performer in Adam Levine. In these divisive times, I did not mind that. I actually do not think anyone would have received a positive review, given the controversy with support for Colin Kaepernick and several big-name performers declining the opportunity to perform.

In conclusion, although it won't go down as the most riveting game, I found it thoroughly enjoyable. From the game to the commercials to the half-time show, it was an afternoon of PERFORMANCES -- not too different from a dancer having to perform in front of a critical audience. Sometimes you won't win over your critics right away, but longevity and perseverance onstage will bring respect. I will definitely watch again next year to see which coaches and players have the grit to be there for the curtain call.

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