I know that this topic may be expected of me because I write about softball a lot, but softball truly does absorb most of my time. In the summer, I am constantly traveling for tournaments (I’m actually writing this in Colorado). During the school year, I’m either playing high school ball or practicing with my club team.
I know you’re thinking, "It’s just a sport." But really, softball has taught me so much more than just how to play a game. It has taught me about unity, the importance of cooperation, resilience, and the need for mental training. These are not just skills that can help on the softball field, but ones that can be applied to situations as I continue through life. No matter how much I wish it could happen, I cannot play softball forever, but the lessons I have learned can carry over into so many areas of my life!
Softball has not only shaped my character traits and mental toughness, but it's given me the most unique and exciting experiences as well. Just today, I went white water rafting. In Chattanooga, I hiked Lookout Mountain. In Peoria, I got to play at one of the most elite complexes there is.
It’s not just about the physical experiences either, it’s about the lessons I have learned along the way. I have to give my catching and hitting coach Matt Culberson a huge shoutout. Just the other week I helped him with his catching camp at Lindenwood University. I got to work with the softball players and I absolutely loved it. It ignited something in me I didn’t quite know was there. I already know I like being a leader, but I learned I love to train others who have the same passion as me. It was one of the most fruitful experiences I’ve had.
I’m not trying to convince you to go out and play softball. What I am trying to tell you is to find something you are truly passionate about and do something with it. Leave your field of passion better than you found it. Contribute something to it. Try to make a difference. Leave a legacy.
Until next time,
Have a great summer, Blue Jays! I will see you next school year as a senior.
LOVE. A four letter word that most songs revolve around. What is it, really?
Every single TV show or Netflix movie seems to have their own idea of a perfect relationship, but in real life love by no means looks the same.
For example, a while ago I got hooked on the show Gossip Girl. It’s a TV series based around the lives of six teenagers living a luxurious life in the Upper East Side of New York. The relationship that fascinated me the most was Chuck and Blair’s.
*warning if you have not finished the series be prepared for spoilers*
In Season 1, Blair had another boyfriend, and Chuck, well, Chuck was being himself. Throughout the series they grow closer and closer. At one point after a fight, Chuck imported all of Blair’s favorite items from countries around the world to make it up to her. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but that seems pretty unrealistic.
Also, despite what most movies, tv shows and songs say, you don’t need a man to be happy.
Besides that fact, love is a strange concept. Should you get butterflies? What are butterflies? How do people know if they found The One?
If you ask me, falling in love must be one of the craziest adventures of a lifetime. It seems like most girls dream of planning their wedding and dressing their children, but what if it’s not as perfect as all the pictures make it seem? But, I am only sixteen, so I got some time until I need to worry about that.
Now I’m not saying that finding your “perfect match” is impossible, I’m just saying it’s a weird concept.
The truth is that I know it’s possible to find The One because I have an example living with me, my mom and my dad.
Who was your favorite teacher growing up? Did they make class fun, or maybe even make the homework seem easy? When I think about my favorite teacher there are actually two people who come to mind.
It may sound cheesy, but my favorite teachers growing up were my parents. Both of my parents work at the private school in Ellisville I attended from preschool through eighth grade. My mom is a second grade teacher and my dad is the P.E. teacher and athletic director.
I may not have had my mom in class, but trust me, she helped me out a lot. Dad is a different story. Some people have asked me, “Payton, did it totally suck to have your dad be your P.E. teacher for most of your life?” My answer is still, "no." If I had the chance to go back and get a different teacher, I wouldn’t. He got to watch me grow and become the person I am today. I think that’s pretty cool.
Contrary to popular beliefs, I can wholeheartedly say it does not suck being a “teacher’s kid”. If anything, it has made me a lot more grateful for the teachers we have, and helps me appreciate all the unseen hours of hard work teacher put in before and after the official school day.
With this being said, I believe that we do not show enough appreciation for our teachers since we do not know everything they do for us beyond those minutes we spend with them. I think this is leading to a teacher shortage in our nation.
Teachers are tired from all those extra hours of work, but half the time all students do in class is complain. In fact, teachers have later nights and earlier mornings than most of us do. They do not want to work those long hours if we do not put forward the same effort that they do. Why would they?
So, the next time you feel tired after your late soccer game and don't want to put forth the effort in class, stop complaining, and think about your teachers. They are tired, too. They put in long hours for your success. Meet them halfway. Put forth the effort and take the time to say "thank you" for all that they do.
In our society today, nearly everyone is addicted to this little square box that we carry around all day. It holds everything from contacts, messages, emails, and every app imagined, but one app stands out in comparison to the rest for most teenagers.
Instagram. Nine little letters that have one big meaning in teens' hearts, but why? If you ask, almost every single teen will say that they have an Instagram account and the app downloaded to their phone.
The deeper question is, does Instagram help teens or hurt teens? To answer that, one must ask more questions.
Who do teens follow?
They follow their friends, family, comedy accounts, sports accounts, and of course models. Yes, we teens love to follow models of all kinds: fitness models, lifestyle models, Victoria’s Secret models, and more!
Along with models comes unrealistic lifestyle expectations and body images. I believe that because of all of these accounts, there are seeds of doubt planted into teens' heads that they aren’t perfect or living how they should be. Then, many teens take unhealthy steps to try to reach these new Instagram-fed goals.
This not only affects people physically, but mentally. Their minds are always set on an image that they perceive as “perfect” and that is almost impossible to obtain.
What many people do not realize is that models have professional photographers that are paid to make them look good. Also, many models are photoshopped into society’s incorrect idea of “perfect” and “beautiful.”
Do you think Instagram is the most harmful social media outlet for teens? Many studies have shown that it is. Or are the "experts" just over exaggerating? No matter what side you take, one thing remains; Everyone is special in their own way. It’s up to you to find out what makes you different and own it.
When I was little, I was always searching for a strong female athlete to look up to. I would find someone that peaked my interest, but would forget about them when someone “better” came along.
Little did I know, that down the road, one of my biggest inspirations would be my one of my coaches.
Taylor Nadler is a junior softball player at North Dakota University. She was raised just around the corner in New Haven and went to school across town at Borgia.
I first met her a few years ago when she was helping at a softball camp in St. Louis. Fast forward a bit, and I found out that she would be the new assistant coach for my travel team, the Rawlings Tigers. From the first day she coached us, we knew she was committed. We knew that she believed in us, so we believed in ourselves, too.
Quickly after our first tournament with her, she became close to everyone and her outgoing personality shined through. She not only pushes us to be our best and get to the next level, but she makes us laugh and keeps us loose throughout the games. She never wanted to be just our coach, but also our friend, and someone we can rely on. She shares our hopes and dreams with us and will do everything she can to help us get there.
We may make her life complete chaos and stressful sometimes, but she shows up with a smile on her face ready to make us better each day. Each one of us on the team should strive to be like her and the person she is, not only athletically, but internally as well. I can't thank her enough for everything she does.