Friday, February 24, 2017

Things I'm Loving Friday: Sports Articles

Happy Friday, friends! It's been a hot minute since I've done a Things I'm Loving Friday post, but I've run across a couple of articles in the last couple of weeks that have really resonated with me, so I decided to make articles this week's focus. I won't lie - I totally meant to post this the Friday following that historic Super Bowl game. Hence, the focus on sports. Yes, I know I'm a couple of weeks late on this, but at least we're still in the same month. It was one heck of a game, and the Patriots had one incredible comeback. That team truly showed fight, grit, a never-give-up attitude - they showed so many things that the coach in me will reference in many pre-game pep talks to come. Sports are so much more than just a game. They are full of valuable lessons that stay with you for life. 

So, today, I give you some sports-related articles for your reading enjoyment. 

How I Learned to Love My Body as a Female Athlete
This article is so incredibly important. It's no secret that many females - young women especially - struggle with body image. Because for as long as we can remember, society has told us that skinny is preferred to strong. It's like, how many times am I going to read an article about how lifting weights really isn't going to bulk women up? And also, when did having muscles turn into a bad thing? And trust me, I'm not immune to this way of thinking. I've dealt with my own body image struggles - heck, I still deal with them - but I'm finally starting to reward my body for all that it can do, as opposed to punishing it for what it looks like. Instead of cursing my muscular legs, thanks to years and years of volleyball, I celebrate them for the miles they allow me to log. And I understand that all of those miles requires fuel, and starving myself will never be the answer. I may will never be a size 2 Victoria's Secret model, but I've learned to love my body all the same.  

Volleyball is Not Girly
I don't think, at its core, this article is meant to be offensive. I think it has genuinely set out to highlight the positive reasons girls are choosing to play volleyball instead of basketball. And I understand that, as I faced the same dilemma. I loved – and still love – basketball for all of the reasons listed in this article. It absolutely requires hard work and athleticism and aggression. But so does volleyball. Sure, many of the girls wear matching ribbons when they are younger. I wore a signature pink ribbon in my hair through senior year of high school. But as stated in this response article – it’s not about the ribbons, and it's not about the spandex. It requires hours and hours of hard work, it requires a competitive spirit, it requires a lot of strategy. And if you think it’s all glitter and ribbons, I’ll show you a photo of a teammate who was so committed to saving a wild pass that she dove into a chair and it cut inches into her shin. What did she do? Tape it up and get back on the court. My point is, keep choosing volleyball, girls. You’re still very much an athlete.

Why I Won’t Pay For Club Volleyball
This article. Man, it puts so many years of my life into such fantastic words. It’s no secret that club volleyball has a very high price tag. My parents would be the first to tell you how much money they spent on the sport throughout the years. But they would also be quick to tell you that they don’t regret even one penny that was spent. Because of all the reasons listed here. And then some. I learned how to be disciplined, I learned time management, I learned how to lose with grace and how to win with humility. I learned the value of hard work, and I wouldn’t trade those out of town trips with my mom for anything in the world. The trips to Atlanta and Indianapolis and Minneapolis and Austin and Dallas and San Antonio are truly some of my favorite memories. My parents gave me a huge gift when they let me play club volleyball, and I am forever grateful for the values it has instilled in me and so many others.

Out of Bounds Parents: Actions in the Stands Hurting the Integrity of the Game
This one really hits the nail on the head. In fact, just the other night I was walking through the main gym at Memorial High School trying to find a custodian who could unlock the equipment room so that we could get ready for our practice, and I happened upon a SBMSA basketball game. These girls were probably 9 or 10 years old, and for the brief couple of minutes I was in the gym, I heard multiple parents shout things at the referees that maybe should have had a filter. It wasn’t anything particularly inappropriate, but it was insignificant things that I have no doubt the referee noticed, but out of respect for simply letting the kids play the game, simply let them go. It’s important to remember that these referees are people too. They’re people with feelings and they’re choosing to give up a night at home because this is something they truly enjoy. And as a coach, I am certainly not free from blame. I’ve caught myself yelling at referees over a call (or a non-call), and yes, it’s certainly frustrating to not have a call go your way, but is that really going to change the outcome of the game? Sure, I could point to the missed double calls that, as a former setter, frustrate me to no end, or I could look back on the three missed serves we had. While winning is important to me, good sportsmanship will always take the cake.

All in good fun
This past year has been quite a year for sports. It's been quite a year for things other than sports, but we're not going to go there. Instead, we're going to focus on the fact that powerhouse Alabama was defeated by the Clemson Tigers in the National Championship game. That the Cleveland Cavaliers came down from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. That the Chicago Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit in a wild World Series ending. That the Patriots fought back after being down 28-3 at the half. The reason I won't cancel my cable is because I would truly be lost without a game on in the background as I grade papers. Sports are so much more than players hitting one another, or players screaming at one another over what they found to be a bad call. Sports build unity in a team, and they build character in an individual. Win or lose. And I will continue to shout that from the rooftops forever!

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