Carpe Runem: Wings On My Feet

Carpe Runem: Wings On My Feet

How running saved me from myself.

I was 15 years old when I was cut from the varsity soccer team for being too short. I remember laying in my bed that morning, too despondent to even make the effort to get up and get breakfast, contemplating what I was going to do. Up until that point, soccer had been a lifelong passion that had fueled me to strive for greatness. I had reveled in the thrill of the game, and I felt that nothing would be able to match my excitement when I had the ball at my feet.

One of my friends, in an effort to break me out of my funk, suggested that I join the cross country team and go to practice with him. I had never liked running, I argued, and I felt that there was nothing for me in the sport that could match what soccer made me feel, but he was persistent. I relented, thinking that it would only take one practice for me to hate cross country.

How very wrong I was.

Two years later, I graduated from Mount Sinai High School as a recipient of the Mustang Award for Cross Country and Track and Field, one of the top 7 runners on the varsity squad. I had built friendships on that team that I had never even contemplated while I had been a soccer player, and I had formed a bond of trust and understanding with my coaches that still persists to this day. I was apprehensive about college and yet excited to be running at such an elite level at a prestigious a school such as Stony Brook University.

I felt like the world was at my feet, that as long as I worked hard and persevered I would make it through whatever challenges lay ahead of me. At that time, my parents had not truly understood the significance of what I felt whenever I ran, and how important the sport was to me, how much I loved and was proud of my team, my second family.

I thought that I could show them the strength of my character through my work ethic and discipline, that I could make them see who I was for me, not their expectations of me. I was sure that with a good summer of training, I would be ahead of the competition and ready for the grind of collegiate XC.

The very first week of my college career knocked me flat on my back and reminded me that I was starting from the bottom of the totem pole and that I had to work my way up just like everyone else. The very first practice I attended ended up winding me out and left me heaving out my guts on the side of the track afterward, looking for all the world like a lost cause. I felt exhausted and could barely stand, and that was the moment Coach imparted a life lesson that I would never forget:

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”

It’s no great secret that distance runners are the epitome of insane. Running 75+ miles a week, nearly 365 days out of the year, might sound like torture for most people, but that’s the lifestyle that we crave and thrive off of. Our collective madness fuels our desire to aspire to new heights and compete against ourselves to exceed the limits of our own human capabilities.

It is that mental drive to fight at all costs, to drive oneself through hell and back for the sole purpose of being able to do so, that united myself and my teammates and brought us together as a family during every crazy interval workout, every agonizing tempo run, every shit-hits-the-fan scenario that could possibly have occurred within the grueling confines of an 8K cross country race all the way to the endless varieties of distances that Track and Field consists of.

We were molded by our training to become something more than individuals - we became a family through the crucible of our struggles, understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and supportive of each other through our own respective journeys, and we held firm to each other as a unit through thick and thin.

In my darkest hours, my teammates were there to save me from my own bleak perspective, when all I wanted to do was give up and let myself go. Running inevitably gave me a sense of purpose, a reason to strive forward despite my self-doubt clouding my ability to believe in myself.

I found myself pushing past thoughts of pain and breaking through barriers I never would have thought possible, all for the sake of my teammates; if they were training so hard to succeed, who was I to give up and back down after having come so far? That sense of “we before I” became the fuel that drove me, and it was through running that I found myself and learned to love myself, for I was capable of far more than I had ever known.

I think back now to that day I was cut from the soccer team, nearly seven years later, and I laugh. I am thankful that it happened now because that adversity showed me that God had given me wings on my feet and that I could fly beyond the limits of my own human capabilities and transcend expectations beyond measure.

Carpe Runem.

Cover Image Credit: Adeel Azim

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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Every Question You Have About The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Answered

The Stanley Cup is upon us and there are a few things you should know if you're tuning in for the first time.


April is such a crazy time this year in the entertainment arena. With "March Madness" coming to a close, the Stanly Cup Playoffs beginning April 9th, "Game of Thrones" premiering its final season on Sunday, April 14th and "Avengers: End Game" premiering Friday, April 26, things are going to be insane all month long.

To kick things off, hockey fans everywhere are preparing for the Stanley Cup. Here are a few tips if you have no idea what the Stanley Cup is to make you look like you know exactly what you are talking about (even if you don't know anything about hockey in the first place).

1. What even is hockey, anyways?


Hockey is a sport that is played against two teams on the ice. The players wear skates, use ice hockey sticks and play with a rubber disc called a puck. The objective of the game is to score on the opponent's goal. The game itself can be very fast paced, physical and it's very popular in the United States, Canada, Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.

2. Why do people care about the NHL?


It is widely thought that the NHL (in North America) is the most admired hockey league in the world. As of right now, there are currently 31 teams in the NHL both from the U.S. and Canada.

3. What is the Stanley Cup?


The Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley of Preston who was the 1892 Governor General of Canada. The shiny silver cup was purchased by him in London and he then donated it to award the top amateur hockey club located in Canada. The first winner of the Stanley Cup in 1893, was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (or MAAA). The cup has an escort (currently Philip Pritchard), who always accompanies it. The poor cup has seen its fair share of horror, including being urinated in by the New York Rangers.

4. So how do the Stanley Cup Playoffs work?


Well, the Stanley Cup Playoffs usually begin the first few weeks of April and can go into the first week of June (depending on how fast each team makes it thru the four rounds of best-of-seven series.) There are eight teams from each of the two conferences and are in the tournament depending on how well they did during the regular season. Whoever wins the cup gets the claim to the trophy for the year.

5. What happens if a team wins?


It's a really big deal to win the Stanley Cup. Basically, it's just a ton of bragging rights and being able to say that your team worked really hard to get there. Imagine working so hard to get that big promotion at work and you get it. It's a wonderful feeling but if you don't get it, well there can be some tears (and let me tell you it can be very sad watching hockey players cry.)

6. Who were last year's Stanley Cup winners?


The defending champs, the Washington Capitals, are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. Winning for the first time in franchise history, the Capitals hope to make a Stanley Cup Final appearance and win again. Since I was six years old, I have been the biggest Capitals fan so being able to be in Washington D.C. and watch them win was one of the best moments in my life (I am hoping for a repeat... but this year there are some really awesome teams.)

7. Who is predicted to win?


Coming in hot with the most wins for the regular season and the team I have been calling to win since their loss to the Washinton Capitals during the third round of the playoffs last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning led by Steven Stamkos are the big favorites to win this year. Both the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights are close contenders. I'm calling it now, though. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.

8. Are there any underdogs?


Out of all the teams (besides the Washington Capitals of course), I was really hoping to see the Carolina Hurricanes go to the playoffs. This team, who have become famous this year for their post-game celebrations, have really stepped it up. The last time this team made a playoff run was in 2009. It's really great to see a team who isn't normally in the playoffs competing. Although I can't wish them luck as they are playing against the Capitals in the first round, I hope to see them play next year.

9. So who should I talk about to make it sound like I actually watch hockey?


Whenever I talk about hockey, people seem to like to quiz me on players to see if I really know hockey. A few players you should mention to people if they bring the Stanley Cup are as follows. Right Winger on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nikita Kucherov, is on fire this season with 87 assists. I hate to be basic but Alex Ovechkin and the reason for him is that he is sitting at 51 goals, making this his eighth season to obtain 50+ goals a season.

Brad Marchand is a huge fighter, but the Boston Bruins would be lost without him. If you really want to piss a New York Islanders fan off, you just need to mention John Tavares name. Lastly, Brent Burns is one of the best defensemen and plays for the San Jose Sharks. He's got some pretty great locks of hair and a big toothy smile but he can play hockey like no other. Of course, there are so many other talented great players this playoff run, but these are just a few you could mention.

10.  I heard there are a lot of fights in hockey ... do you think I'll see one?


Yes, fights happen in hockey all the time but especially during the playoffs. Tensions are high, but so are penalties. Tensions are especially high when a team is playing game four and if they don't win they are done. I have seen some pretty nasty fights break out during the playoffs and it's not pretty especially when it involves fans. Be prepared to see some fights break out and would not be surprised to see if Tom Wilson gets suspended again as he does every year (for no good reason) during the playoffs.

11. Why does the Stanley Cup Playoffs affect me?


The Stanley Cup Playoffs are way more fun than a lot of other sports playoffs in my opinion. I saw this first-hand when the Washington Capitals won and how the whole city of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland came together (yes we see you bandwagon fans). It's a sport that's fast, exciting and brings people together.

May the best team win.

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