Three trivia questions: Who is the first NBA player to score 50 points in a game without attempting a free throw? Who was drafted by the Denver Nuggets after his first year at the University of Kentucky? Who has a silver medal from the 2015 Pan American Games? If your answer to all three questions is Jamal Murray, you are correct!
Jamal, a Pisces, was born on February 23, 1997, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His parents are Silvya and Roger Murray. Roger was a basketball player and track and field athlete himself, which is something that I believe shaped Jamal into the person he is today.
There are things that lead me to suspect that Jamal was born wearing a basketball uniform. He began playing at age three and at the age of six he was playing in a league for kids almost twice his age. I am adamant that some sort of magical basketball unicorn has blessed Jamal. That’s the only explanation for why he has been talented his whole life.
His talents continued over to high school, where he won multiple awards. These awards include an MVP recognition at the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic International Game, an MVP recognition at the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit, and an MVP recognition at the 2015 BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game. The theory that he was born in a basketball uniform starts to make a lot of extra sense.
At the University of Kentucky, Jamal continued showing his talents that he was given by the magical basketball unicorn. In his first and only year at the university, he earned multiple well-deserved recognitions. What are the recognitions, you may ask? Good question! They are a spot on the Associated Press Third Team All-American roster, a spot on the First Team All-SEC roster, an SEC All-Tournament recognition, and an SEC All-Freshman recognition.
Not only has Jamal been born in a basketball uniform and blessed by a magical basketball unicorn, but he is a magical unicorn himself! The unicorn is blue with white wings with red maples leaves all over them. The unicorn’s horn is platinum with pearls in them. The left front hoof is gold with amethysts, the right front hoof is sterling silver with sapphires, the left rear hoof is bronze with diamonds, and the right rear hoof is rose gold with emeralds. Lastly, there is a Canadian flag on the unicorn’s forehead. That has got to be the most descriptive unicorn analogy ever presented.
Ever since Jamal started playing professional basketball after his freshman year of college, he has been proving his awesomeness. His statistics include 611 three-point field goals; 759 free throws; 1,292 two-point field goals; 1,903 field goals; and 1,182 total rebounds. He’s one of the very best point guards to ever play for the Denver Nuggets. Change my mind. He’s the most magical unicorn in the team’s history.
Recently, this past Friday to be exact, Jamal made history! He scored fifty points, which is an extremely impressive feat in and of itself. There’s another wonderful fact about his fifty-point game: not a single free throw attempted or completed! That is the first time anyone in the National Basketball Association has ever completed this feat. You heard right! Jamal is literally the first player in the history of the National Basketball Association to score fifty points without a single free throw attempt. That is the best start to the weekend anyone could ask for.
I really admire Jamal’s leadership. After an interview last summer when he was getting ready to play basketball after the pandemic forced the association to go on a months-long hiatus, he wanted to listen to the media give their perspectives on racism before exiting the Zoom call. It shows that he likes to listen to many perspectives and wants people to have a voice. He’s a good example of how to show leadership skills, on and off the court. I’d love to be around an amazing member of society like him.
Denver Nuggets until the day I die! Blue Arrow Bubbas! Keep up the great work, Jamal!
CONTENT AND TRIGGER WARNINGS: Mental Illness and Suicide
Picture this: You have absolutely zero energy in the morning. Even doing activities you enjoy, like drawing or swimming, sound like daunting chores you want to avoid doing if you can help it. You either want to eat a six-course meal to drown out your sadness, or get nauseous at the thought of eating a simple apple wedge. Either you’re a professional insomniac or you just want to sleep for the rest of your life. You feel like the future is bleak, hopeless, and destined to be doomed. Your emotional state has deteriorated to the point where you wish you weren’t living on this planet anymore. These symptoms last for two to six weeks, and it consumes your life.
This is what it’s like to live with severe depression. From what I remember, I have struggled with depression since I was in the fourth grade. At one point I would cry every single day. I had a hard time having fun at school. I was very upset about school being closed due to a major blizzard. The cafeteria staff and the physical education teacher were very worried about me.
I felt like the older I got, the worse my depression became. During two school years, specifically the eighth and eleventh grades, I was not in the best place ever. I just felt like I was floating on by and just waiting for summer break to come. In the eleventh grade I absolutely hated school. I only liked a select few classes and seeing friends and acquaintances. I wanted to change schools very badly for my last year of high school.
The struggles didn’t stop there, however. It went on to affect me during college. The time period between September 25 and October 6, 2016 was a very difficult time to get through. I fell into an intense state of depression the day Jose Fernandez passed away. The next day on campus, I was just really upset. I was panicky, grief-stricken, fatigued, and lethargic. The fact that I was sick with bronchitis at the time made it even worse. That wasn’t my only bad depression moment. During the spring semester of my second year of college, I was in such a difficult state of mind that I wanted to honestly drop out of college.
Things came to a tragic head on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. I was absolutely heartbroken about the passing of Roy Halladay. A serious threat on the campus and an argument with a friend tipped me over the edge. After multiple things that had already happened that year, I was just too heartbroken and crushed to continue. That night, when I went to bed,I decided I was going to just give up and end my life. The next day, I went to the university therapist first thing in the morning. Confessing the attempt to take my own life was terrifying. Getting through the rest of the semester felt like an ordeal.
2019 was also a tough year for my depression. I had suffered from chronic, recurring bouts since New Year’s Day. Things came to a fevered pitch on July 1, 2019, when Tyler Skaggs’ body was discovered in a North Texas hotel. I was really devastated, and that just fueled my already existing depression. I could barely eat and I was already in shock. I was in on-again, off-again crisis for the rest of the month, including thoughts of suicide. That’s when I came to know that I had severe depression.
To this day, it’s still something that affects me. I have a fluctuating appetite, problematic sleeping habits, lethargy, and am easily irritable. I have been controlling it through better eating habits, medication, therapy, and physical activity. It’s something that will be a part of my life forever, but I am doing what I can to keep it from having a brutal grip.
If you, or someone you know, is in crisis, here are some resources to help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
Canada’s Crisis Text Line: 686-868
United Kingdom’s Crisis Text Line: 852-58
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 (Hotline), 678-678 (Text Line)
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of these hotlines
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! I strongly recommend watching one or both of the Top Gun movies before reading.
Tom Cruise. Miles Teller. Glen Powell. Those are three of the actors who star in the hit summer film Top Gun: Maverick. That movie is popular for a variety of magical reasons, from the fantastic plot to the wonderful cast.
I have had a massive crush on Miles Teller ever since he was in the biopic Bleed For This. I have always thought he was a good looking, talented actor. His talents shine true in his role as Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, who tragically lost his life in a freak training accident in the original Top Gun. Miles portrayed Rooster perfectly in all situations, from when he got angry at Hangman for finding out about his father’s passing, to blaming Maverick for destroying his family and career, to risking his life to save Maverick’s from enemy forces, to forgiving Maverick for what happened all those decades earlier. Great full circle character and a great full circle plot. I’m beyond grateful that he got cast as Rooster. Miles did a phenomenal job and I really would love to see him win an award for this role.
Speaking of Hangman, I was blown straight out of the water by Glen Powell’s performance as Jake “Hangman” Seresin, an arrogant aviator who bullies Rooster and behaves as if he’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I found Hangman to be extremely annoying, insufferable, and bratty throughout the first half of the movie, but that just goes to show just how amazing of an actor Glen Powell is. He’s a great full circle character, too. Although he got sent to reserve instead of going on the mission since Maverick doesn’t want him to repeat his mistakes, he shows his caring side to Rooster and later feels remorse for how he’d treated him.
I am so glad that Glen got a chance to be in Top Gun. I’m so glad that I got to watch him do an amazing job of playing the character that ended up growing on so many people. I wish I could describe the relief I felt when he saved Rooster and Maverick from the enemy fighter jet when the pair were out of ammunition and Rooster couldn’t eject. It goes to show that he not only learned a lot about teamwork, but he wanted to apologize to Rooster for his bullying ways and be a nicer person by saving him from disaster. Not only did I walk out of the theater with a newfound crush on Glen, but I also would love nothing more than to see him win a well-deserved award for his performance.
The film is absolutely emotional, too. I have watched it twice already, and have cried both times. The scenes that really rip my heart out of my chest are the funeral scene and the scene where Rooster barely escapes with his life. I was sobbing so hard at the funeral scene. Not only was it so painful to see a beloved character from the original film die, but it hits close to home as I have experienced my fair share of loss and grief during my lifetime. The scene where Rooster’s plane gets hit left me in tears because I didn’t want Rooster to lose his life. The relief I felt when he survived was immeasurable.
My heart also hurts for Maverick. He’s lost his closest friend in the past, lost another person who has a special place in his heart, and had to fight to overcome bad blood that the person he tried to be a father figure to has with him. There’s also a gut-wrenching scene where he realized just how much trouble he and Rooster were in. Knowing that this might be his and Rooster’s last day on Earth, he apologizes to his late friend, Goose, for betraying him again by putting his son’s life on the line. That scene is beyond sad. Just thinking about it makes me want to bawl, honestly.
Emotions aside, the entire plotline shows just how well-written and well-produced the movie is. I am blown away with how fantastic of a character arc Hangman and Rooster had. I’m so happy that Hangman got the chance to show his kinder side and earn Rooster’s trust again. Seeing him go out as the frustrating bully with the Flying Spaghetti Monster complex would have been a bummer, honestly. I will always be of the opinion that him becoming compassionate and tenderhearted later on in the movie makes him a great character. If there is a Top Gun 3, I hope that he gets to become Rooster’s wingman. The reconciliation between the two after Hangman saves the day solidifies that Hangman really does want to be on Rooster’s good side. I hope Glen knows how awesome of an actor he is and how deserving of an amazing career he is.
Rooster and Maverick deserve credit for great character arcs, too. Rooster went from a vengeful aviator who is still grieving the most unimaginable loss of his lifetime to a talented pilot who is willing to honor his late father’s memory and put his own life at risk to keep his mentor/father figure alive during a dangerous situation. The fact that he decided that helping stop the bad guys in their tracks was more important than harboring ill will towards a person who just wanted to be a good role model and colleague shows just how far Rooster has come during his career. Miles did a great job of playing a character who chose to let forgiveness and teamwork win instead of anguish and retribution.
In addition, Tom Cruise did a fantastic job of playing a character who set his ego aside to let others blossom. I feel like he had a stronger sense of self and ego at the beginning, showing the younger flight school grads and pushing the limits in the name of personal satisfaction. As the plot goes on, however, he starts putting the trainees’ best interests first, from mitigating a rage-motivated physical altercation in the classroom, to deciding that he wants to make things right with Rooster and have him be his wingman. There’s a scene where Maverick is angry with Rooster for almost getting himself killed instead of returning to the carrier like he was supposed to, leading to an argument between the two. After they both get back to the carrier alive, Maverick realized that without Rooster, he never would have made it, and thanked him. It’s a full-circle moment for both characters, and shows that Rooster truly forgives Maverick.
The cast is absolutely amazing. Some other actors whose performances I was blown away with include Monica Barbaro, who plays Natasha “Phoenix” Trace; Danny Ramirez, who plays Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia; and Lewis Pullman, who plays Robert “Bob” Floyd. I’m excited to see works from all of the cast members. I’m very glad to have seen Glen’s performance in Hidden Figures, and I look forward to seeing him in Devotion. I’m excited to check out Danny in Look Both Ways, Monica in Bullish, Lewis in Bad Times at the El Royale, Miles in Whiplash, and Tom in Mission Impossible. I’m only getting started.
Conclusion? Top Gun: Maverick has won my heart. Big time. It’s my favorite movie of all time, thanks to a great plot, great cast, and great characters. Can’t wait to watch it on digital release and on Blu-Ray. I strongly recommend anyone who may be interested to watch the film. Tissues are recommended due to the emotional scenes, but you’ll be clapping like it’s in your tertiary job description when the movie is over, just like I was.
Back in the summer of 2020, I made a blog post about what pride month means to me. In that post, I came out as pansexual. I will leave a link to that below. In that post, I mentioned that I thought originally that I was bisexual. Then I started thinking, am I really pansexual?
The thought hit me again recently. I was really starting to wonder what my true sexuality was. I was starting to question if I was truly pansexual or if I was right the first time, that I was actually bisexual. It was a really tricky realization. I felt like I had been lying to myself and letting myself down. The conflict with my identity felt like a major nightmarish rabbit hole.
In the end, I came to terms with the fact that I am actually a queersexual woman. I realized that my identity was not worth stressing over. I just had to accept myself and love myself for who I am. I am worthy of loving who I want to love. I am worthy of love and respect. I am worthy of sharing good in the world, showing good in the world, and spreading good in the world.
I have some advice for some other people in the world who are struggling with their identity and with figuring out who they love. Love is love. Love who you want to love. You are worthy of love, respect, and admiration. You are worthy of enjoying the things you enjoy in life, and being happy with yourself.
Spread happiness in the world, no matter who you love. Continue to be yourself. Take the time to truly be happy with yourself and take care of yourself. I’ll be honest, self-love has been something that have struggled with for a long time. I am still working on that, and it’s something that I find worthwhile to work on.
I have a three-step formula for accepting yourself and loving yourself for who you are. Step One: Remember that you are worth of love and positivity. Step Two: Find the things you love in the world, and work towards them. Step Three: Spread as much positivity in the world. I have learned that being positive and loving is a great way to accepting yourself for who you are and who you love.
I’m really looking forward to baseball season, I will be brutally honest. However, with the whole lockout situation going on, it’s been a wild ride. Still, I wanted to make a list of walk up songs for all thirty teams. I love making this project, and it will bring happiness during this wild period of time. Here are thirty walk up songs for thirty teams.
1. Burn It To The Ground-Nickelback (Colorado Rockies). I’m not sure if this opinion is popular or if it is unpopular. However, I enjoy the music that Nickelback puts out. I love going to Coors Field. It feels like a giant happy awesome party with sports, food, and people having the time of their lives. Burn It To The Ground is my favorite Nickelback song, and the Rockies are my favorite team. Absolutely fitting song for the team that is a major part of my heart.
2. See The Light-Green Day (Oakland Athletics). Ah, yes. A song from a musical group based in Oakland for a team based in Oakland. See The Light has been a tradition since 2018; it’s been my figurative walk-up song ever since that year. It’s been bringing good karma for the most part since that year, and I want to keep the good karma up.
3. Smells Like Teen Spirit-Nirvana (Seattle Mariners). It feels really fitting to have my figurative walk-up song for a sports team from Seattle be a song that is the work of a rock band from Western Washington Smells Like Teen Spirit is a viciously timeless song. If I had a dollar for every time that I listened to that song, I would buy myself a feast from Wendy’s! I digress.
4. Beverly Hills-Weezer (Los Angeles Angels). This would be fitting in more ways than one. Firstly, Weezer are from Southern California—Lost Angeles, to be exact. Secondly, Orange County and Los Angeles give me major film industry vibes, being that Hollywood and Beverly Hills are Southern California staples. Basically, a huge popular culture party.
5. Origin-The Fat Rat (Houston Astros). Fun fact about me: I was born in Houston, Texas. I lived in the Houston suburbs of Fulshear and Katy. Texas is a big part of my identity, from saying “y’all” to enjoying Texas-shaped waffles. Origin feels like a wonderful way to pay homage to my city of birth.
6. Fire Meet Gasoline-Sia (Detroit Tigers). The Tigers are one of my favorite teams. Fire Meet Gasoline is one of my favorite songs. Therefore, it makes sense to make it my walk-up song for the Tigers. Listening to this song makes me happy as clams, as happy as clams as I felt when Spencer Turnbull pitched a no-hitter.
7. Cool Kids-Echosmith (Atlanta Braves). I chose this song because of how much it reminds me of the World Series, I will not lie! The Braves are cool kids in my eyes because they are the well-deserved World Series champions. Watching them win was so exciting. I will make a post about how the Atlanta Braves became World Champions in the future.
8. Cowboy Casanova-Carrie Underwood (Minnesota Twins). I’m not sure why, but I have felt compelled as of recently to make my figurative walk up song for the Twins to always be a country song. My gut says that the reason is that they went to the playoffs in the past when my figurative walk up song was that genre. Here’s hoping that this will bring good karma in the future.
9. Empire State Of Mind-Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (New York Yankees). There is one specific lyric that makes me want to make this my figurative walk up song. In the second verse, Jay-Z raps, “Catch me at a Yankee game.” Therefore, this song will fit in very well at Yankee Stadium, and maybe New York music culture.
10. Buddy Holly-Weezer (Cincinnati Reds). I adore this song so much. I also adore the fact that Jonathan India, horse-lover extraordinaire, won the National League Rookie of the Year award. Why not put two things that I enjoy together and double the happiness? This song will remind me of the joy that Jonny’s award win gave me.
11. That’s Not My Name-The Ting Tings (Los Angeles Dodgers). There are three reasons I selected this one. Firstly, I have been unable to get That’s Not My Name out of my head. Secondly, there are two people named Max Muncy in the professional baseball world. There is the Los Angeles infielder, who was originally drafted by Oakland. This past year Oakland drafted another human named Max Muncy. Third, I had a nickname crisis this past fall, going from Babsie to Amanda and then back again.
12. Photograph-Nickelback (Toronto Blue Jays). The Toronto Blue Jays are from Canada. So are Nickelback. I adore the Blue Jays. I adore Photograph. I could watch Blue Jays highlights for days upon days. I could listen to Photograph, as well as lots of Nickelback songs, for hours upon hours. Conclusion? Photograph is a very logical choice for a figurative Blue Jays walk up song.
13. Crab Rave-Noisetrom (Baltimore Orioles). Crab Rave is one of the most important videos I have seen on the internet. I will leave a link to that video at the end of the post. In addition, I love just how in tune this will be with Maryland food culture. The Orioles have it in their Twitter biography that they enjoy crab cakes. Therefore, this is a fitting song.
14. Circles-Post Malone (Texas Rangers). Although the rapper was born in upstate New York, he grew up in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine. Circles is such a catchy jam. It would be really cool to hear people in the crowd singing along to it. I find it fitting to play a song recorded by a musician based in North Texas at a sporting venue based in North Texas.
15. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark-Fall Out Boy (Chicago Cubs). I admit, I’m still gushing over the bodacious musical talents that Fall Out Boy put on display at the Commerce City, Colorado, leg of the Hella Mega Tour. That, and the fact that the band have close ties to the Cubbies. In fact, Pete Wentz said that during the team’s 2016 playoff run that he had a lot of faith. For that reason, a Fall Out Boy walk up song is appropriate for the Cubs.
16. American Kids-Kenny Chesney (Chicago White Sox). When this song first came out around the I graduated from high school, I was in love with it. In addition, when I think of Chicago, I think of a wide variety of music tastes throughout the city. I feel like this would be a fitting walk up song.
17. My Heart Is A Bar-Old Dominion (Kansas City Royals). Kansas City gives me some major southern energy. One of my favorite country songs in the entire world is Old Dominion’s My Heart Is A Bar. Once again, I feel like this song would be a lot of fun to sing along to at the ballpark.
18. Better Days-OneRepublic (Cleveland Guardians). It’s been a rough past couple of years, and I feel like this song would be a real pick me up. For me, OneRepublic’s Better Days has been a mood booster. From feelings of frustration to blue moods, Better Days has cheered me up. I hope that this possible for others.
19. Mr. Brightside-The Killers (Washington Nationals). I love Mr. Brightside. It is such a catchy and fun song! Something else that was a lot of fun was the 2019 Washington Nationals season. Can’t wait to bring back the happy energy with the song. Positive vibes only at the ballpark in 2022.
20. Bird Set Free-Sia (Miami Marlins). Just like with the Oakland Athletics, I am starting to feel a tradition with the Miami Marlins when it comes to figurative walk up songs. I am considering making my figurative Marlins walk-up song to be a Sia song from here on out. Bird Set Free is a really catchy song that I adore. In fact, I have mentally choreographed the song.
21. Shape Of You-Ed Sheeran (Milwaukee Brewers). I cannot get over two things. First things first, I enjoy this song so much that if I had a dollar for every second I listened to this song, I could buy a five course meal. Secondly, I adore the idea of having a first date at a ball game. Ball game dates are wonderful: great food, great experience, great way to get to know the other member of society.
22. Beachin’-Jake Owen (Philadelphia Phillies). This tune from Jake Owen makes me want to have a lot of fun. You want to know a place where I have a lot of fun? Ballparks! A ballpark that would be really fun to visit is Citizens Bank Park.
23. Whatever She’s Got-David Nail (St. Louis Cardinals). David Nail is from Eastern Missouri. The St. Louis Cardinals are from Eastern Missouri. Therefore, it makes excellent sense for this to be my figurative St. Louis Cardinals walk-up song. I strongly recommend listening to it, Whatever She’s Got is a really catchy song, at least from my perspective.
24. Doubt-Twenty-One Pilots (Pittsburgh Pirates). Recently, I’ve been on a Twenty-One Pilots kick. The Pirates are one of my favorite teams, and Doubt is my favorite Twenty-One Pilots song. Side note, Doubt is another song I strongly recommend listening to.
25. Pray For Me-G-Eazy (San Francisco Giants). Considering the fact that G-Eazy is a Northern California based rapper, this song would make perfect sense for this song to be my figurative walk up tune for San Francisco. When I was in my third year of college, I began getting into rap music. G-Eazy was one of the first rappers whose music I began listening to on a frequent basis, which also makes Pray For Me a song with special value to me.
26. Living-Dierks Bentley (Arizona Diamondbacks). Since Dierks Bentley is an Arizona man, it feels appropriate to make this my Diamondbacks walk up song. In addition, I have been playing this song in my head on a frequent basis. To me, that’s a telltale sign that it’s a song absolutely worth listening to.
27. Blitzkrieg Bop-The Ramones (New York Mets). Blitzkrieg Bop is my second favorite song by The Ramones, behind I Wanna Be Sedated. There’s just something about the song’s opening guitar riff that really puts a smile on my face. It makes me want to play the air guitar and headbang along.
28. Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset-Luke Bryan (Tampa Bay Rays). I have been enjoying Luke Bryan’s music since I was in high school. This is one of my favorite songs by Luke Bryan, it makes me think of warm, sunny walks on the beach. I think it fits in very well with the Tampa area.
29. I Was Born To Run-American Authors (San Diego Padres). The first time I listened to this song, I fell in love with it. It is so much fun to listen too. It is also a lot of fun to see them play live (blog post about that coming soon). Adding on to that, I adore being at the ballpark, it’s like my second home. Fun experience and fun music are an amazing combination!
30. More Than A Feeling-Boston (Boston Red Sox). I will be barbarically honest here. The main reason I made this my Red Sox figurative walk-up song is because the name of the musical group shares a name with the city the team is based in. I think it’s fun and silly. Plus, the song is fun to listen to.
What kinds of music do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below.
I wish I could describe the grief, devastation, and disbelief when I first heard the news. I didn’t want it to be real. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to think at all that this was true instead of a cruel joke. Then, slowly but surely, the tragic news was confirmed: retired American football player Demaryius Thomas had indeed lost his life. The heartbreak that I felt in the days afterwards were excruciating. It was so tragic, so unfair, so upsetting.
Demaryius deserves to be remembered for having a beautiful football career and an even more beautiful personality. Some of his career accomplishments include five Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl championship. Super Bowl 50 was my absolute favorite Big Game in the history of the Big Game. I was so happy to see the team win.
Having spent nine of his ten playing seasons in Denver, Demaryius left a wonderful impact on the city. Remember the Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2011 National Football League season? Thanks to Demaryius’ 80-yard touchdown on a pass from Tim Tebow, the Broncos managed to win the game and advance further into the playoffs. That moment put a huge smile on my face. The cherry on top of the cake? He went to the Super Bowl twice!
Not only was Demaryius a wonderful player, but he was also a fantastic human. He and Peyton Manning were close. Peyton’s children were also close with Demaryius. They would always greet him at practice and Peyton described him as treating his kids like they were his own. That makes my heart happy. To me, that is a telltale sign that you have made a wonderful friend and that you’ve crossed paths with a fabulous human. I absolutely love that Demaryius made sure to be amazing on a constant basis.
In addition to scoring touchdowns on the field, Demaryius scored touchdowns in the community, too. He gave back to the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club in the Denver neighborhood of Montbello. Rich Barrows, director of the club, described Demaryius as a kind person who gave from the heart. In addition, he was an ambassador for A Precious Child. He ran football camps for the organization. His kindness, willingness to give back, and charitable work are things I will always remember him by.
People are finding ways to keep Demaryius’ memory alive. Denver Broncos-turned-Buffalo Bills player Emmanuel Sanders made a major donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo in the form of a football field honoring his teammate’s legacy. Denver Broncos-turned-Los Angeles Rams player Von Miller honored Demaryius during the most recent Big Game. In addition, the Broncos have begun awarding a new team award: the Demaryius Thomas Team MVP. The Team MVP is awarded to the player who exhibits positive impacts on the field and in the community, the way that Demaryius did. The most recent winner is Justin Simmons. This is a wonderful award, at least from my perspective. It will honor Demaryius and keep his memory alive amongst the team.
Rest in power, Demaryius. You are loved and missed very dearly. Your memory is being kept alive and we will always remember the fantastic mark you have left on the community.
It’s the year 2020. I had purchased tickets to see the Colorado Avalanche play the Vegas Golden Nights on Sunday, March 15 of that year. I was really excited for it. I even planned out an outfit in my head: my Nathan MacKinnon jersey, blue jeans, an Avs beanie, and burgundy boots. It was going to be an awesome day.
The pandemic changed all that. My first in-person Avs game was going to have to wait. All was not lost, however. For Christmas, I decided to gift my sister tickets to an Avalanche game: March 31, 2022, versus the San Jose Sharks. I have planned out my outfit: my Nathan MacKinnon jersey, red jeans with an animal print, burgundy boots, and an Avs beanie. I am super excited for this game for more reasons than one.
I will never forget falling in love with the Avs and the National Hockey League when I was in my third year of college. My heart was immediately stolen by Nathan MacKinnon, especially considering the fat that he adores dogs. Plus, that year, my brother and I began working at hockey games selling concessions for the Colorado Eagles, an affiliate of the Avalanche. Dirty little secret: I met the Avs mascot, a Saint Bernard dog named Bernie, at the Eagles games. He is an extremely good boy. I digress.
Speaking of Nathan MacKinnon, I am really looking forward to seeing him play. This man is the love of my life! I mean, who can resist the award winning, blue-eyed dog lover with a handsome Nova Scotia accent? Not me! In fact, Nathan is the person who got me into professional hockey to begin with.
I am also looking forward to reuniting with Bernie. It’s been a hot minute since I have seen the good boy. I wanna air hug that handsome dog and scratch at his ears. There’s just something about scratching a dog’s ears that is the best thing in the world. Perhaps it’s a serotonin boost. Perhaps it’s building trust with the dog. I digress.
I’m also really looking forward to seeing Cale Makar. I have a huge crush on Cale. He’s really good looking and he loves dogs. Plus, he’s brutally talented at hockey. I can’t wait to swoon over that Canadian cutie. His piercing eyes are a trap and a spell. He wins my heart every time.
One last thing I am very excited for: their excellent goalies! Recently, from what I have seen, Pavel “Frankie” Francouz and Darcy Kuemper have been behaving like brick walls. Part of me hopes I get to see Frankie play. I am of Slavic descent, and he is from the Czech Republic. It would be really cool getting to see a player who has similar cultural heritage as me.
I can’t wait for this game! I look forward to having an intense amount of fun.
I am so grateful to be blogging again! It feels so good to be blogging again. the last few months have been crazy, with the holiday season, my health, and moving from my childhood home into my first adult apartment. While it was great taking the time to concentrate on myself and take care of myself, going back to writing is something that I am looking forward to doing again.
My writing might be a little more sporadic as I make the time to care for myself in my personal life. By sporadic, I mean that I might post multiple posts one month and a just one or two the next. My physical and emotional health comes first, but I would love to ease back into writing. Eventually, I hope to ease back into my biweekly schedule.
There are some things that I’m really looking forward to posting this year! I am looking forward to a new blog series: Sporting Event Report. In this series, I will be describing my experiences at different sporting events. There are two events that I am really looking forward to: a game between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks, and a game between the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Guardians. I am also hoping to catch games where the Rockies play the Braves, Pirates, and Padres. I digress. This series will focus on how I enjoyed the atmosphere at the games, my favorite parts of the games, and how special the experience was to me.
Speaking of sporting events, another series I am looking forward to doing on the blog is a series called Brutally Honest Concession Review. In this series, I will review specific concessions, from chicken sandwiches to funnel cakes. The posts will describe how I thought the concessions tasted, how well the food did with satisfying hunger and/or cravings, and how highly I would recommend the item.
Another series that I am looking forward to is Brutally Honest Beauty Review. Back in 2020, I tested eyeshadows and lipsticks for the blog, making top ten lists for both types of makeup. This series will go a little bit farther. This series will have posts that focus on just one makeup product, be it a single NYX Professional Makeup lipstick or a single ColourPop eyeliner. In this series, I will describe my first impressions of the item; my thoughts on the swatches; my opinions on how the item feels on my face, eyes, lips, or nails; and how much I will recommend the product.
I am glad to be back and am grateful for the patience during my hiatus. I look forward to posting fun content in 2022.
Back in 2019, I wrote a blog post about how I was of the opinion that Minor League Baseball players deserved much better salaries and quality of life. I recall describing how very little the people are paid. In addition, recently, I have seen minor league baseball players speak out about the ugly truth about their day to day lives in their road to the major leagues, from low paychecks to mediocre meals.
There has been a big change as of late. Recently, it has been announced that some Minor League Baseball players will have their housing covered. I am beyond happy to hear about this. These humans deserve to have financial burdens lessened substantially, at least from my perspective. If I were in the shoes of one of these athletes, figuring out paying for housing, food, and other living expenses while getting a not-very-substantial paycheck would be brutal on my mental and financial health.
This is only the beginning, though. I really hope that this leads to more pay for Minor League Baseball players. There has been a petition with Congress in the past to exempt these athletes from the minimum wage law. They did get a raise; however, they still make less money than their counterparts in other sports. This is bothersome in my opinion. Minor Leaguers should be able to afford more than just bologna sandwiches. If they want to be able to enjoy a meal of bacon and eggs from time to time, they deserve to have an income that allows them to afford those foods. If they want to have black bean tacos for lunch every once in a while, they deserve to have an income that lets them have that. If they want to treat themselves to Whataburger or Shake Shack on special occasions, they deserve to have an income that lets them treat themselves sometimes.
A major argument that I see is that if these players are unhappy with their quality of life in the minors, then they need to just play better. To be honest, I can see that argument in one sense. In jobs such as working for a food delivery service or working for a nationally recognized engineering firm, hard work and dedication can result in bonuses, raises, or promotions. I’ve heard of instances where fast food restaurant employees go from drive-thru/cashier positions to shift leads. There are instances where people get promoted from, say, sales consultant to sales quality assurance agent.
However, just playing better won’t cut it for many players. In 2015, there was research done that only ten percent of minor leaguers are ever promoted to the major leagues. That leaves ninety percent of minor leaguers stuck there until they are cut or they call it quits themselves. In addition, per some 2019 research, only two out of every nine minor leaguers (which is 22.22 percent, per my calculations) would have had a chance of making it big. Story in short, the odds are stacked against many minor leaguers, despite them playing to the best of their ability. I truly believe that even if there are athletes who are stuck in the minors for literally the entirety of their post-high school or post-higher education baseball careers, they deserve a living wage.
We will be taking a look at the minor league life of Ben Verlander, who is the younger brother of beloved Major League Baseball star Justin Verlander. After getting drafted out of Virginia’s Old Dominion University, Ben signed with Detroit, and traveled down to Florida. He mentions that the housing situation was mediocre at best, with filth and mold all over the place. I wish I could imagine how Ben had felt in the moment. Like Ben, I had always envisioned that minor leaguers had glamorous lives, until I started looking into it more and realized the ugly truth about the actual livelihoods of these people.
Remember, earlier I mentioned that minor leaguers don’t usually get the best of meals. That’s another ugly truth of Ben’s experience. He mentioned playing on teams where the meal situation ranged from getting little to no postgame food to getting decent meals after games. I’m going to be very honest: as an eating disorder survivor, this is very nerve wracking. If players have had body image or self-esteem issues in the past, this can trigger their negative past experiences.
I mentioned in the 2019 post that some minor league baseball players live with the family members of their agents. Ben mentioning living with host families, and he was grateful for that. There is a point, however, where host families are no longer an option, per Ben’s post. I’ve heard of more than one instance were minor league baseball players have to live somewhere with five or six roommates because of the little money that they make. I can relate to that during my apartment hunting experience, as my roommate and I were considering living together in a one-bedroom apartment because of how ridiculous the cost of rent was in the area where we live.
I am very happy that the cost of housing will be one less thing for players to worry about. I am also happy for Ben Verlander for speaking up about the ugly truth of what life if like to be a minor leaguer. I hope that decent wages for minor leaguers come soon, too. This is just my opinion, but being in the minor leagues forever should not mean being forced to pinch pennies.
What are your thoughts on housing being covered for athletes making their way to the majors? Let me know in the comments below.
I really wanted to go to Ohio the summer after I graduated from college. The reason is that I wanted to see the All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Come to think of it, I’m really interested in taking a trip to Ohio in general. One day, I’d like to write a novel that takes place in the state of Ohio. Here are ten destinations that I’d love to visit in Ohio.
#1: Progressive Field. The Cleveland Baseball Team, who will go by the name of the Cleveland Guardians, have a special place in my heart. Not only are they social media friends with another team I care about, the Colorado Rockies, but I won a holiday gift from them about three years ago. The fact that they play “Cleveland Rocks” when they win a home game is enough to make me want to attend a game at that stadium. I bet that the vibes there are fantastic.
#2: Great American Ballpark. I can already imagine laughing my elbows off at Joey Votto being an absolutely delightful member of society. He’s hysterical. I also can smell their food from my desk. I can imagine just how delicious their chili is. The ballpark also seems like a really fun place to be at. Honestly, I’d love to visit all the Major League Baseball ballparks.
#3: Cedar Point Amusement Park. My eighth grade math teacher showed my class a video of a very iconic ride at Cedar Point. Before getting into the lesson, she described the Top Thrill Dragster and her experience before showing us a YouTube video of the ride. Since it’s a very fast, very high ride, I will have to experience one of the most notorious roller coasters in my state. There are some other roller coasters that I’d love to ride on.
#4: Pro Football Hall Of Fame. First things first, congratulations to the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2021! I’m a girl who loves sports. Professional football has fascinated me since I was six years old. I grew up watching the Denver Broncos, who are my favorite football team. Some other teams I enjoy include the New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, and the Seattle Seahawks. I’m really interested in learning about the amazing achievements of some of the most beloved athletes in American Football.
#5: Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. About a month ago, I attended a concert consisting of four acts, the final act being Green Day. My sister and I decided to watch some videos of the bands performing live to “pregame” the concert. One of the videos was a live performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where they are living their best lives. I grew up on music such as The Beatles, Deep Purple, and Moody Blues. Just thinking about this attraction has me headbanging!
#6: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Asking me if I want to go on a trip to the zoo or aquarium is a surefire way to put a big smile on my face. Doing both in the same day really makes me happy. This is where the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium comes into play. I can make a trip to see the smart, adorable elephants and the joyful, friendly stingrays all on the same day. It’s a big bonus, in my opinion.
#7: Cleveland Botanical Gardens. I’m kind of a plant nerd, honestly. I love going around and identifying flowers. Some of my favorite include sunflowers, daisies, and tulips. I grew up in a community of gardeners, so that inspired me. Plants and trees are so pretty to look at.
#8: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. In high school, social studies was my favorite subject. I’d like to take the time to thank my tenth grade geography teacher for that. Therefore, I enjoy the prospect of visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. I just really like museums.
#9: American Sign Museum. Speaking of museums, the American Sign Museum sounds like a really fun place to be. It would be so cool to see the different signs for restaurants, tourist attractions, things like that. There’s something about neon signs that is really endearing.
#10: Cuyahoga Valley National Park. As much as I enjoy museums, I enjoy national parks even more. In fact, visiting every single one of the national parks in the United States is on my bucket list. Visiting this park will not only let me connect with Mother Nature’s beauty, but let me get closer to crossing an item off my bucket list.
What places in Ohio would you like to see? Do you have any attractions in the state that you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.
My favorite thing about moving is the opportunity to change and grow into a new person in a new place. The thing I hate the most about moving? Packing. At least from my perspective, it feels like a chore that I wish I could get out of doing with a few Harry Houdini illusions. However, during my experience packing for my move that will be happening next month, I have learned some things that have made my life easier. Here are fifteen tips for packing for a move that I have learned.
#1: Use leftover shipping boxes to your advantage. Do you have leftover Amazon boxes? Walmart boxes? Target boxes? These are going to be lifesavers. Use them to pack your shoes, books, medications, art supplies, or any other items you want to take with you. Make sure to black out the address, though, in case you do recycle these boxes when you finish your move.
#2: Be prepared to donate quite a few old items. Of course, you won’t be taking everything under the sun with you. You might have some clothes that you have outgrown, don’t want to bother wearing anymore, or are too damaged (ripped/broken) to wear anymore. You might have some batteries that don’t work anymore or headphones that don’t play sound anymore. Be prepared to donate/recycle these old items. It will make your life much easier, plus your heart will be full from assisting the environment and fellow community members.
#3: Label boxes. This is just me, but I am not a fan of wondering what is in boxes when I move. This is where labeling boxes will be a lifesaver. If you have a box full of vitamins that will go in the kitchen cupboard, label the box “vitamins kitchen cupboard.” If the box is full of plates, bowls, and mugs, label the box “plates, bowls, and mugs.” Do the same if the box is full of saucepans that are holding baking ingredients. Speaking of that:
#4: Use pots and pans to your advantage. Of course, in the new place, saucepan collections and Dutch ovens will be your best friends. Why not make them your best friends now? If you’re like me and need to own every bottle of vanilla extract under the sun, you can put them in the Dutch oven. Your handy dandy saucepan collection will be very useful to store other cooking ingredients, from liquid smoke to parsley flakes.
#5: Use shipping bags to store shower toiletries. Little did SheIn know that when they shipped me my adorable apparel, that I would find an amazing use for the zipper baggies that they send the products in. I am using them to store soap, cosmetics, skincare, nail polish, and other similar items. That is one of my favorite packing tips/tricks I have used.
#6: Use your shoes. Shoes pair well with socks and tights, correct? For that reason, I want to place them in my shoes. That will make my packing experience much better. I actually learned that in an American Girl book that I have since donated to a thrift store: use your shoes when packing.
#7: Be realistic about the space in the new place. If you’ll be moving from your childhood house to a one bedroom apartment, be advised that you’ll probably have less room for what you think. What I did was look at floor plans with measurements for the unit that I will be living in. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that the floor plan of the model apartment may or may not be very different from the unit you will actually live in. If you tour a unit with a balcony but will be living in a balcony with a patio, be prepared to have differing wall spaces.
#8: Search for moving services. Packing is already stressful enough in my opinion. Finding someone to help get your belongings from A to B sounds like the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. Thankfully, moving services are here to help. I actually have found a moving service that I look forward to potentially hiring to assist with my move. Finding a moving service will help ease the stress of moving altogether and give you plenty of time to finish packing up.
#9: Use any furniture that you’ll be taking with you to your advantage. I have three sets of plastic drawers that I plan to take with me. I plan to store my SheIn toiletry bags and personal care items in the drawers. If you’ll be taking your dresser with you (I plan to keep my current dresser at my family’s house for when I come over for special events), then it will take the clothing packing stress out of the equation.
#10: Leave any jewelry in their rightful places. If you have a jewelry box, the jewelry prep stress has been deducted from the packing equation. Your earrings, bracelets, rings, and chokers are safe there. I vaguely remember seeing in a video that you can put necklaces on a hair comb to keep them from getting knotted up. I think I will want to do that, and then see if I can place them in my jewelry box.
#11: You can wrap your silverware containers in plastic wrappers. If you have a little box with all your cutlery in it already, then that’s one less thing to worry about! I would recommend wrapping them with aluminum foil or Saran wrap, however. That way, the silverware won’t fly around all over the place in transit (and potentially get damaged, too).
#12: Paper products are great for fragile items. Wine glasses and candles and vacation mugs, oh my! By no means does the idea of these items shattering while driving to the new home. Paper products are recyclable, and they will keep your items safe. That’s reassuring, since I have multiple Bath & Body Works candles that I keep on display.
#13: Pack early, pack often. Waiting until the last minute to pack your belongings is neither a friend nor a frenemy, even if you’re like me and have a Juris Doctor in Procrastination Law. Start as early as you can and pack as often as you can, but don’t make it the bane of your existence. If you have eleven weeks to pack, try spending at least six hours a week on packing each week, that way, you’re not under intense pressure.
#14: Ask for help if you need it. There is no law that requires that one single person packs all their belongings themselves. If you’re stressed out about packing up your kitchen, see if you can have coworkers and siblings come over to give you a hand. If the thought of packing your favorite books makes your stomach sink like a rock, reach out to your family and friends to see if they’re willing to assist. Never be nervous to ask for help with packing if you’d like a helping hand.
#15: Make sure to take a breather from time to time. Packing early and often is your friend, but your life is not required by law to revolve around packing. Feel free to take a break to listen to an audiobook or take a brisk walk. If you want to leave the house to get some Wendy’s or window shop at Walmart, feel free to do so. Having a strong balance between your mental health and moving preparedness is essential.
Do you have any other questions about packing for a move? Let me know in the comments below.
Restaurant meals are what get me through a craving, a tricky day, or a celebration. There’s just something about a feast of breadsticks, chicken, molten lava cake, and strawberry lemonade that just brings a smile to my whole face. Maybe it’s the cravings being satisfied. Maybe it’s knowing that I will be in a better mood with tasty food in my belly. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m enjoying a delicious dining experience while celebrating a wonderful event in a family member’s or friend’s life. Here are ten of my favorite restaurants to patronize at. These are based on my service experience, quality of food, and menu items available.
#10: Old Chicago. Two words: Spaghetti. Pie. If I could have spaghetti pie for each meal, I would do so in a heartbeat! They also make delicious pizza, and yummy berry lemonade. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had Old Chicago. I’d like to have it again. It sounds like a great meal to celebrate good things.
#9: Noodles & Company. Meals of buttered noodles and macaroni and cheese are heaven on earth. The best part of all is chicken topped on top of the buttered noodles. It’s a carbohydrate and protein heaven. I never had the desserts, but I would love to have it one day.
#8: Village Inn. Very delicious pancakes. Very delicious chicken tenders. Very delicious chocolate pie. I had Village Inn for the first time back in May. From the first bite of my meal, I fell in love with the food. I know for a fact that I want to have a Village Inn birthday celebration for my birthday in January.
#7: Freddy’s. Chicken tenders? Check. Chicken sandwiches? Check. Delicious French fries? Check. Fry sauce from heaven? Check. Chocolate custard with cheesecake bits and cookie dough pieces? Check, check, and check! It’s some of the most delicious food that anyone could ever enjoy.
#6: Culver’s. Heaven in restaurant form. They have delicious cheese curds, barbecue sauce, custard, and chicken. I get an amazing aura. Also, their customer service is fantastic. I love them very dearly.
#5: Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Before I went pollotarian, I enjoyed bacon cheese dogs with ketchup, barbecue sauce, and lettuce. Now that I don’t eat red meat anymore, my new go-to is the grilled cheese sandwich with a side of Cajun fries. Might I mention they have tasty milkshakes? Shout out to Five Guys for being awesome.
#4: IHOP. Tasty pancakes? Check. Mood-boosting hot cocoa? Check. Delicious milkshakes? Check. A variety of the tastiest breakfast and lunch options one can have? Check! I just love IHOP. IHOP, I SKIP, and I JUMP for their yummy meals. Sorry not sorry for the attempted pun.
#3: Olive Garden. Unlimited breadsticks for every single meal! Who here is with me? Also, their fettuccine alfredo is so delicious. Also, am I extra bizarre for considering their after-dinner Andes candies dessert? Olive Garden is so cozy and delicious.
#2: Chili’s. Oh baby Chili’s is back! Baby back baby back! There’s a Chili’s location in the city where my sister attended college that has been nothing short of amazing! Also, I wish I had tried their honey mustard before December of 2019. I am itching to try their skillet cookie and their molten lava cakes. Plus, I could eat their tortilla chips and guacamole on a regular basis.
#1: Texas Roadhouse. Give me ALL the Southern hospitality, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, chicken critters, and bread rolls with honey cinnamon butter! They have some of the most delicious food I could have ever had. The staff are amazing and light the day up. They have some of the best water ever. I also love their strawberry lemonade. It’s the fabulous trifecta: great food, great drinks, and great service!
What are some of your favorite restaurants? Let me know in the comments below.