“Girls don’t understand sports”

I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached by a boy saying, “You are a Patriots fan, aren’t you?”

“I am,” I respond.

“I bet you can’t name ten players on the team,” They retort with a smug look on their face.

“I bet you I can name fifteen,” I say. Then, I name fifteen–and their positions.

After these conversations, I cannot pretend that I do not feel a sense of pride. I will admit I feel like I just won a little Super Bowl of my own on the inside.

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Sporting my throwback Tom Brady jersey at a high school football game.

But, then of course, the boy has to say something like, “I bet you just stared at the roster and memorized those names for when people ask you.” This just leaves me in a disarray. Boys are more consumed with themselves and their own egos than I originally thought. When they look at me, they see an unathletic, dumb teenage girl, but little do they know, I am one of the most competitive and biggest sports-enthusiasts out there. I love the feeling of supporting my hometown teams and cheering them on with all members of my family. When you grow up in the town of Foxboro, Massachusetts, your culture is consumed with sports.

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Me and my brothers watching Big Papi play for the last time at Fenway this past year.

Sundays are for football and only football. Summers are full of games at the famous Fenway Park with season tickets two rows behind the Red Sox dugout. Basketball is always on and ready to be analyzed by my collegiate athlete of an older brother and truly the biggest basketball fan I know– my younger brother. You might be thinking that I just enjoy sports because I am the middle child in a family of all boys. Truth is, you are probably right. But, my sport is–wait for it– hockey. Where did my obsession with hockey come from?  I have no explanation. Ever since the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team beat the Soviet Union to win the gold at Lake Placid, I have been hooked. Of course, I was not alive for that game, but Miracle is my favorite movie of all time (I can even recite Herb Brooks’ speech from memory). Anyways, I digress.

Boys say that they like girls who know sports. But truthfully, men hate when girls can analyze sports and know what they are talking about. High school boys get defensive when you show them up with stats and analysis because they feel inferior and like you just stepped over the line. They like girls who will watch sports, but not girls who actually know what a Pick-Six is and can spot a block in the back before the flag is thrown. It is intimidating. I have been dwelling on this for a while now because of how I am treated when guys find out how much I know about sports. They engage in conversation with me and will start pointing out flaws within my teams, which they assume I will have no response for. They are not prepared for me to my hold my own and once they hear my retorts, they immediately get scared– and defensive.

I recently read an article from a female ESPN sports writer, Stacey Pressman, who clearly has experience with being a woman in a “man’s world.” She wrote, “Guys can accept questions, corrections and explanations relating to the intricacies of the game from other guys. But there is very little patience, even slight annoyance, when a woman adds insight that extends beyond the color of the uniforms and the basic you’ve-got-four-chances-to-go-10-yards fundamentals.” It’s true. I even hear men speaking of female sports reporters as “dumb” and “not knowing what they are talking about.” The fact of the matter is that female sports reporters spend just as much time watching and analyzing sports as male reporters, but are still not given the respect that male reporters are given.

Why is it this way? Personally, I believe that sports, especially football, hold a certain degree of masculinity to them. Sports that girls cannot simply understand because they have never played them are “guy’s sports.” Admittedly, I have never played football (besides in the winter with my brothers), so therefore, I do not know of the conditioning and intensity of games that players go through. Nor do I know what it is like to go out on the ice and skate tirelessly for twenty minutes at a time. I learn what I know about sports from what I observe on the playing field and from my brothers and from watching SportsCenter on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I follow my favorite athletes on social media and stay up to date with the team Twitter for updates about games, injuries, and inactive lists. I watch sports for the excitement and suspense, just like any other person. The jitters you get in the final minutes of a close game and the glory of witnessing your team come back to defy the odds are what I enjoy so much as well. I do not watch sports to prove a point about feminism or to engage in arguments with boys about specific teams, but I watch sports for the love of the game. Doesn’t that makes us all equal? It is not who knows more about sports or who can defend their team best, but our focus should be why we watch the teams we watch and how they bring something new into our lives. Sports and our teams give us hope and give us something to believe in when times are tough. It should not matter if you are a boy or a girl, but that you hold the same interests and goals at heart. Sports can offer different escapes for everyone but at the end of the day, we spend our time watching and cheering on the teams we do all because of the love of the game.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Two of my favorite football players, Julian Edelman and Tom Brady.
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We have all been on The Edge of Seventeen

Movies rarely pull on my heart-strings. Truthfully, I have never been a fan of sappy chick flicks. But last night, I decided to see The Edge of Seventeen with a couple of friends and wow, I was in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions and realizations.

I will not give the entire movie away, but here is a quick synopsis. The movie is about your average seventeen-year-old girl, Nadine, who is trying to make it through high school after being hit with struggle after struggle. Nadine’s best friend (and only friend) begins dating Nadine’s older brother who certainly seems to have it all. Nadine’s mother does not understand Nadine and continuously blames Nadine for being so difficult and hard to read. Nadine ignores the boy who adores her and chases after the boy who will only bring her pain. Nadine’s father is not present in her life, which makes this journey through high school even more troublesome. Ultimately, Nadine reaches a point where she feels completely alone and hates who she is. Her entire world has collapsed and she has no one to confide in or assure her that everything will be okay. She cannot explain why she is lashing out and acting in these ways as she watches her life fall apart with no way to stop it.

Now, the majority of this is in the trailer, so I really did not spoil much for you. I will say this though– the movie had a happy ending, but not one of those predictable, cheesy endings. The Edge of Seventeen is a comedy, which made it so much more enjoyable than those depressing chick flicks. I laughed (a lot) and honestly, my eyes welled with tears as I related to Nadine’s hardships and pain. She tried to keep it in for so long and embrace her uniqueness, but that is so tough to do when everyone is telling you to be someone you’re not. Nadine was not the only one going through difficulties, her brother was too, but he hid it well until he reached his breaking point.

The Edge of Seventeen truly captured what it is like to be a seventeen-year-old journeying through some of the most challenging years of life. High school is a crucial time when everyone wants to conform to avoid standing out in the crowd. Nadine knew she was born to stand out sooner than most teens, which is something I envied about her. Nadine was honest with herself and others, and most importantly, she was real. She embraced her old soul until her entire world fell apart and she was forced to piece it back together. It got me thinking that maybe, it is good to feel like you are at rock bottom as a seventeen-year-old. Maybe, it is crucial to reach that point of a mental breakdown, the point in which you let yourself fall apart, so you can pick up the pieces and start over. The Edge of Seventeen conveyed a truth that is universally ignored, so it resonates in a way different from most movies. Teenagers get hit with a lot of crap (for lack of a better term) and are expected to accept it and move on. In reality, burying the pain deep inside causes more conflict and distress than just expressing it.

The Edge of Seventeen gets it. Teenagers will pretend everything is fine until they hit rock bottom and cannot pretend any longer. Once the smoke has cleared and they can finally get back on their feet, they are not the same person they once were. Through heartbreak and hardships, teens learn from their own personal experiences and can then choose to embrace who they really are. Whether you are an adult or you are seventeen now, you know what it is like to go through the hardest of times and make it out alive. This movie really brought it all together for me. We, seventeen-year-olds, are not alone. Even though we may not show it, we are each going through different things that are unimaginable and unnoticeable to others. So, be kind to everyone and sensitive to their emotions too. It may feel like the end of the world, but how we bounce back and find our true selves in the midst of everything is worth the battle. What matters is moving past the edge and knowing that things can only get better from there.

KIDS ARE FLOCKING TO POPULAR HOUSEPARTY APP

Meghan Pottle | Staff Writer

Students are just now joining the party – and it has been sitting in their back pockets the whole time.

In 2015, Developer Alexander Herzick launched the application Houseparty, a group video chat that allows up to eight people to chat together in one room, which is a group of people. The app syncs with the user’s contacts and sends them push notifications every time their friends open the app and are in the house.

Users are able to see with whom their friends are chatting and can join their room if they choose. Likewise, if two people are chatting in a room together, any of the users’ friends can join, even if one may not be acquainted with the other person’s friends on the app.

Sophomore Sunny Patel said he uses the app every day.

“When I first got it, everyone was still new to it, so it was just a couple of my friends and we would talk,” Patel said. “Afterwards, I started using it for homework too. For homework, I get on like every night after football because a lot of sophomores get on to do homework together.”

Senior Destyni Dulin said she spends about seven hours on Houseparty on school nights and 12 hours on the weekends.

“You to talk your friends; you see what’s up with them,” Dulin said. “Last night, I made my friend feel really good. She had a breakup, so we were dancing on it and jujuing.”

Freshman Jensen Adleta said she had a strange experience when on Houseparty.

“I didn’t know that you could Facetime someone and Houseparty at the same time, so I answered and I thought it would just go out of Houseparty, but it didn’t,” Adleta said. “They could hear me talking to her, but I can’t hear them, so I can only hear the person on Facetime. When I was talking to my friend, they could hear everything I was saying and then I hung up with the girl on Facetime, and I realized I was still on Houseparty. They were like ‘What the heck were you saying?’”

Because users can see who their friends are chatting with on Houseparty and have the ability to join their room, they may meet new people from MHS.

Dulin said she met several people in the grade below her through Houseparty.

“Before I never talked to them, but now we are pretty good friends,” Dulin said. “My other friend was talking to them, so I just jumped in on their conversation and we started talking. We became friends on Houseparty and now, we are friends in real life.”

Senior Joey Bowlin said he has been able to catch up with friends he has not spoken to in years.

“Since high school started, I haven’t talked to a lot of people,” Bowlin said. “But then, I added them on Houseparty, so we have just talked even though we don’t talk that much (in person) because the school is so big and you don’t see them every day.”

Patel said he became friends with two MHS students he had not spoken to before when they joined his room.

“I met those two from another friend of mine and we were just talking, then they joined in,” Patel said. “That’s what I like about it. You can be open with anyone. Most people are always welcomed in as long as you are not too shy or too awkward. I am an open person, so I get to meet all these people, and they are chill and all fine.”

On Houseparty, there is a feature that allows users to lock the room they are in, so that no one else could join.

Patel said that because users can lock the room, other people on the app could possibly take that as social exclusion.

“Sometimes, me and my friends will be talking about something personal that we don’t tell anyone else,” Patel said. “These are things that happen in high school life. It could possibly have that effect on some people if they don’t realize what we are talking about, so they feel that way.”

Adleta said her boyfriend wants her to delete Houseparty because it takes up too much of her time, and he does not like how users can lock rooms.

“When you lock something, it makes people suspicious,” Adleta said. “It makes people feel like you don’t want them to come in because you’re afraid they are going to hear what you’re talking about. That’s why I don’t lock a room anymore because I didn’t realize that’s how it makes other people feel. Now, I realize I feel the same way when I see my friends in locked rooms and I am like ‘What are they talking about?’”

Dulin said if she could give any advice to people on the fence about getting the app, it would be this.

“If you do not have Houseparty, get it,” Dulin said. “I know some people are like ‘I don’t want to join the trend because I am so cool.’ But, you’re not cool. You’ll be cool once you get Houseparty.”

mpottle.chronicle@gmail.com

Snapchat Addict?

As of today, my longest Snapchat streak is 598 days. That means I have snap chatted the same person for 598 days straight without ever breaking the streak or spending a day away from the application.

But, I have a reason for snap chatting this same person for 598 days straight. Her name is Jacey and she lives in Foxboro, Massachusetts, my hometown. She has been my best friend since I was three years old and still is to this day. We snapchat to keep in touch, to see what each of us are doing that day, and to chat about our lives. Just because we snapchat constantly, does not mean we do not FaceTime, call, and text either. I FaceTime Jacey about once a week and visit her in Foxboro a couple times a year.

Am I addicted to Snapchat? I would not say so. I am not on the app every second of every day, but I do check it every few hours to respond to friends. Actually, as I have gotten older, I am on the app less and less. If one of my friends breaks our Snapchat streak, will I hold a grudge? No, but I know people who will. Breaking a snapchat streak might as well be saying you do not want to be friends with the person anymore to some people. I will say it is crazy how far people will go to keep Snapchat streaks though. When people go on mission trips without phones, they give friends their Snapchat usernames and passwords to keep their streaks for them. With technology constantly growing and evolving, I have no doubt that Snapchat will become more popular as the company updates the app and adds more new features. My only concern is that Snapchat allows teens to be social without really being social. Snapchat certainly does not constitute conversation most of the time and is just an exchange of selfies between individuals. I sometimes wonder if people who hold long Snapchat streaks can hold a real conversation in person. I know I can, but younger generations have it cut out for them when it comes to socializing in the real world.

Snapchat has been around for quite some time and it does not seem to be disappearing any time soon. While I don’t think Snapchat is a real addiction for me, it certainly poses as a threat to those who want to socialize without having to start conversation.

Bittersweet Goodbye

Today, I said goodbye to my favorite coffee shop– Kidd Coffee on Tylersville. Yes, there is another Kidd Coffee in downtown Mason, but it is just not the same. At the Kidd Coffee on Tylersville, the baristas always greeted me with a warm smile and knew my order without even having to ask. I typically went through the drive thru on my way to babysitting, a friend’s house or school function, but today, I decided to bring my laptop, sit inside and work on college application as it was Kidd’s last day of business. I ordered a milky way frappachiller, took a seat and pulled out my laptop. After one hour of working on college apps and witnessing regulars walk in and out to say their final goodbyes, an old man with glasses and thin, white hair strolled in. His name was Bob; all the baristas knew him by name. He ordered a cappuccino and Tiffany, a barista and chef, cut him a piece of her homemade tiramisu. Bob offered to order the girls a pizza for their last day of hard work, but they respectfully declined. After retrieving his coffee and dessert, Bob took a seat across from me at the long, wooden table with a for sale post-it note sticking to it.

“I’ve never seen you here before,” Bob glanced at me. “Do you come here often?”

“I do,” I responded politely. “But, I usually go through the drive thru.”

“Oh, you shouldn’t do that all the time. Sometimes you just need to take a second for yourself.”

He was right. In a simple greeting with a stranger, I was hit with a much needed realization. I am so consumed with accomplishing so much in one day that I never take a second to breathe. I’m always working, doing homework and college applications, traveling from place to place and trying to please others that I never take a second for myself. It’s hard in this day and age to just stop what you’re doing and reflect on yourself, but we all need it.

I chatted with Bob for almost an hour about college, traveling the world and experiencing as much as I can when I’m young. Truly, living everyday to the fullest.

“I can tell just by talking to you in this short amount of time that you’re so open-minded,” Bob told me.

When he said that, I took it to heart. I try my hardest to keep an open mind and open heart because this world is constantly changing and there is so much of it I haven’t seen yet. There are so many people I have not met, so many places I have not seen and so many memories I have yet to make. My conversation with Bob got me really excited for my future because I have no clue where I am going to attend college or what I am going to end up doing in life, but I know I am excited. I know I need to reflect on myself and what I want before I figure out where I am going to end up. It is a confusing and stressful time, but I am excited about it.

As we were departing, Bob said to me, “Good luck, Meghan. Maybe, I will see you at another coffee shop in the future.”

I don’t know what my future holds, but I am sure of one thing: I will find another coffee shop to relax inside and just take a second for myself to breathe.

Who are you?

When “they” say that high school is all about discovering who you are, “they” are completely and unmistakably right.

High school has a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns, curveballs that you never saw coming your way. Expect the unexpected. Speaking from three years of experience, I can definitely say that I’ve had my fair share of surprises– good and bad. I’ve also had my expected trials and difficulties, like the stress of aiming for an 89.5% to get in A in that one grueling class or the voice inside my head telling me I need to fit in with all the other teenagers. But, the truth is high school is not all about the grades, the popularity, and the sporting events. It’s about a lot more than that. It’s about a lot more than the present.

Who we are and who we decide to become in high school shapes us for our entire future. Sure, people can change, but high school is the time to change. We’re faced with challenges everyday and how we respond to them is important. Though it may not seem relevant at the time, these are your choices you’re making and you have to be able to live with them.

It starts with the littlest thing. Someone could ask you to send them the answers to the homework and even though your mind is telling you no, you send the answers anyway. Is this who you are and who you want to be? Peer pressure is extremely impactful and is hard to say no to. When everyone is drinking and doing drugs, it seems easy to comply and join in. But, all in all, what’s the point?

What’s the point of doing things that you hate just to fit in? High school is only four years, so make them count and make a difference. Stop wasting time on people that don’t care about your well-being. Stop chasing boys (or girls) that will only lead you down the wrong path. Stop hating yourself for your mistakes.

This is what I think: screw up, make mistakes, and burn bridges now if that’s what you want. Because once you graduate and join the real world, you have to get it together. I find myself asking time and time again, “Who am I?” And now that I have suffered through the pain and fear of being myself, I let go of the popularity contest and stopped trying to be a perfect person in an imperfect world. I started to find happiness and joy in the things and people that I love.

The next time you look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Who am I?” I hope you find your answer. Stop chasing pavement and start living. Find joy in what makes you happy. Because in the end, no one is going to remember you when you fit in with the crowd and couldn’t make the decision to be yourself. It may take time, but you will find yourself after all the heartache, pain, and suffering has passed. High school may be the most difficult four years of your life, but finding yourself will be worth it all.

SEARCH FOR COLLEGE ROOMATES SIMILAR TO ONLINE DATING

Meghan Pottle | Staff Writer

It’s the next eHarmony, Match.com, and OkCupid–it’s the search for a college roommate.

Every year, incoming college freshmen have the choice to be randomly matched with a roommate or search for a roommate online on their own. The thought of being randomly assigned with a roommate scares some students, forcing them to go out on their own in search for someone with similar interests and routines.

Toni Greenslade-Smith is the Director of Housing Administration at the Ohio State University and said that OSU offers students the opportunity to go out and search for roommates, but many come back and decide to be matched randomly.

“We have profile questions that we ask them to complete in the housing contract that we will use to match them with a student if they don’t find a roommate,” Greenslade-Smith said. “We ask their preference for overnight guests: are they neat or messy, are they an early morning person or a night person? Based on those responses, we put students together.”

Several colleges, such as the University of Cincinnati and OSU, have Facebook pages and groups that incoming freshmen can join in hopes of connecting with other students online. Incoming students can post short biographies and information about themselves, similar to the kind of information you would find on an online dating website.

Senior Maddie Solimini plans to attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall and is rooming in a quad with three roommates that she found online.

“After I applied, I just joined the Facebook pages just to kind of look around and see what people were posting and get an idea of what I should say,” Solimini said. “It was actually really nerve-racking because I didn’t want to say something and make it sound weird or wrong and make people not want to room with me. But, I just said some of my hobbies and what I like to do and my personality in a nutshell.”

Senior Brooke White is attending Miami University next year and said she found her roommate by putting her basic information on the Miami Facebook page.

“It’s just kind of a weird experience because you will have random people message you and they’re trying to get to know you, but it is over messaging so you don’t really know what they are like,” White said. “You put a profile out and then people start messaging you and I think that’s what they do on online dating, so it’s very similar to that. It’s scary how similar it is.”

Greenslade-Smith also said that searching for a college roommate is somewhat like online dating because it is about students finding the right fit and being more upfront.

“For example, we had an issue that developed where we had two students that met each other on social media, thought they got along real well, asked to be roommates, we put them together. Well, one has to sleep with the window open. She never told her roommate that, which if it doesn’t come up in conversation, it might not be something you think about, but it drove the roommate crazy. We ended up having to process a room change,” Greenslade-Smith said. “It’s just one of those things, the more forthcoming students can be about their habits, what they’re like, what they’re looking for, and that kind of thing, the better off they’re going to be as we look to put them together.”

mpottle.chronicle@gmail.com

Search for college roomates similar to online dating