Wait or settle?

Should I be settling down or waiting?

I’m a journalist.

I’m in sports and work nights, usually from 4 p.m. to midnight. Sometimes like last night until 2:30 a.m.

I think it’s an odd job.

But I love sports and make sacrifices as a result.

Working nights is tough. But it’s the job I’ve chosen. In my field of journalism, there’s a lot of turnover each year. I talked to a coach and he wished a reporter would stick around.

Unfortunately that’s the way it is. It’s a field where you have to start at bottom to get experience. In order to get experience, you start at a small newspaper, television or radio station. Then a year rolls around and they leave.

So I think in the last two years I’ve been out of college and in media field, I’ve seen journalists put their career ahead of the rest of their lives. They wait to get married and start a family.

I see others on my Facebook getting married. I’m happy for you, trust me.

But then I wonder what I’m doing with my life. I’m 24, and single. Should I be pursuing a family over my job?

My grandma, and know she was having fun, said how are you suppose to find a girl when you work nights?

I don’t know, grandma.

I do know, though, I am trusting God with his plan because he forgave me for my past, is with me today and knows what my future holds.

I enjoy my job, even though it’s stressful. I have to cover seven high schools by myself for a newspaper. Writing, taking photos and designing pages. It’s great experience. It’s hard. It’s teaching me time management. What I love most about journalism is the ability to tell stories and listen. I enjoy capturing moments for others to cherish and remember.

So while I want to get married someday, and have kids. I’m okay with waiting.

Habakkuk 2:3 says: (ASV) ‘For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’ 

The Message struck me, too. The heading read, ‘Full of self, but soul-empty.’

Verses 2 and 3: ‘And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie! If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.’ 

Sometimes I think I’m guilty of being selfish and trying to find what makes soul happy. We want to be successful. We forget. I forget. We sometimes let busyness of our lives forget God gave up himself for me and you. He said in Ephesians 5 to be imitators of him. To live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up as a sacrifice to God. Jesus is all our souls need.

I read further in Ephesians 5 and came to verse 14: ‘Wake up O Sleeper, rise from dead and Christ will shine on you.’

Daily I need to wake up and realize, it’s not my life, but his and he has a greater plan.

So how can I apply this to waiting? Well, I would like a wife or family. But I am okay with waiting for God’s timing. I am as a journalist and starting at a newspaper in a small town. I know God is with me. He has a vision. It may be slow in coming, but I know his plan is coming and it will come at right time.

It was hard moving away from Sioux Falls. It gets lonely. I miss my friends and family every day. (You guys know who you are).

I’ve wanted to quit and move back and live bachelor life with my bros.

But I think it was a step for God to tell me to trust him. It was a getting out of the boat experience. He’s teaching me to walk on water with him because I know every step I take, he’s right behind. He’s teaching me to know he’s in first place in my life.

I am eager each day to see what God has in store. I’m finding every day in my soul who God is forming me to be.

My soul is well. It is well with Jesus. All I am is his.

Young adult athlete sitting in bleachers

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How Big is My Brave?

Brave: (definition:) possessing or displaying courage. (Synonyms:) courageous, fearless, and gutsy.

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My dad’s always told me to chase my dreams, but in order to chase my dreams, it means showing people how big my brave is. The feeling of being brave can offer a great deal of accomplishment, and it can offer rejection, too. As a recent college graduate, I’ve had both. In fact, I’d say rejection is one of everyone’s biggest fear, but it’s those that use rejection as fuel to succeed in life that go far.

I gradated college in May of 2013 as a 22-year old with a journalism major. Since then, this first summer of the real world has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned I’m going to get rejected. I’m not going to get every full-time job offer I apply for and I’m not going to get a phone call back every time either.

Both of these things have happened this summer, and I’ve became frustrated, worn out, and tired.

But I haven’t given up, and won’t. I haven’t lost faith, and hope because I know that I’m not in control and that it’s not my plan, but God’s. I’ve had to realize that if I keep applying for jobs, or keep working hard at my present job, things will get better.

(God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and future – Ecclesiastes 3:11). ecc 3-11

And I’ve learned that striving for that “big boy job,” does comes with time. Let me explain…

About a month ago, I sent an e-mail to a mentor I met. He’s a national sports columnist for a magazine. He’s taken time to talk to me, given me applicable, and practical advice for a young journalist. In the e-mail I asked my mentor if he had any advice for a young journalist that was stuck, and needed some encouraging words. His advice was great. Some of it was difficult to swallow, but it made me want to chase after my dream of becoming a journalist. It’s made me want to work harder to become noticed. 

In the e-mail I sent to this sports journalist, I told him I love my job. I love to get the opportunity everyday to work in the sports media field at a local television station shooting sports games, or writing sports as a freelancer. Then, I went on to say that I want be the type of journalist that isn’t afraid to put in long hours on days, nights, and weekends. I want to be persistent in my work. So, I asked him, how can I be a writer that is passionate about his craft? How can I get better and become noticed even when there are days when it seems like there is no progress being made?

— Below are his thoughts —

“Hey, Sam. No worries. And remember—you’re young and new and fresh on the scene. This stuff takes time. It did for me; it does for most…keep in mind, I’m 41, and I was in your shoes two decades ago. But I freaking applied everywhere. Literally, every newspaper, every city … everywhere. If you REALLY want it, think about doing the same. Busting butt, going all in. It’s not easy; hell, it’s frustrating. But, generally, it separates you from the rest. Those who bust butt go far. It’s fact.

I suggest blogging your butt off, stringing high school sports for local newspapers, etc … etc. Get your name, and your work, out there.

— He responded in another email with some great advice on how to be a better writer —
Look, Sam, GREAT writing is about setting scenes; about bringing words to life; about finding the engrossing story and telling it. Take me inside the locker room; let me smell the sweat; feel the pain. Show me, don’t tell me. 

If I’m writing a story on the seniors, I’m finding crazy stories from their careers; low points; high points; suspensions; dazzling moments; whatever. I’m opening with: “She still remembers the smell. She was a freshman, young and dumb and unaware of the bowl of bleach that sat in the gymnasium closet …” Do you know what I mean, Sam? Make a commitment, at this very moment, to never write dull, cliched b.s. ever again. Take risks; take shots; read great writing and steal some devices. Break out of your cell, man.

J

As I reflect on my mentor’s advice, I’ve learned a lot this summer. First, I’ve learned to work hard where I am at, whether it’s at the television station or writing sports as a freelancer. These two jobs have have taught me how important it is to show people that you want to learn so future opportunities could present themselves down the road. Second, I’ve learned connections are everything. The more people I meet, and talk to, the more things I will learn. I’ve only been working in the media field for a year, and my employers have for years. Be willing to listen, and show up to work ready to work hard,  and be teachable. Third, apply, apply, and apply for as many jobs as you can out of college. Make the most out of every opportunity. Life is about chasing the dream, not waiting for it. Fourth, be thankful for what you have and where you are at. Fifth, God will provide. When hasn’t he? Sixth, God’s plan will be fulfilling as long as you trust and believe it.

In my closing thoughts, to sum up this blog post, I’ve learned to show how big my brave is.brave

I’m fresh out of college, I have a few jobs in the journalism field, and I’m learning to pay the bills. I’m learning to take chances, to grow in my strengths and weaknesses and to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve faced rejection head on, but I am not going to go down without a fight.

God, my mom, my dad, my best friends (you know who you are), my mentors, and my bosses have all pushed me, and encouraged me to make me believe that I am stronger than fear, rejection, discouragement, and failure.

Lastly, I’ve learned as a 22-year old college graduate, that I’m not the best. I’ve still got a lot of work to do and a lot to learn. I’ve learned that everyday I wake up, I will wake up with a smile. I will be ready to share my passion of journalism with my colleagues and with the audience I am connecting to.

All I want to be is brave, and I’ll keep praying that God makes me brave.

NFC North Training Camp Preview

Football is back. Most rookies and veterans are reporting to training camps today and fans can see their favorite teams, and players back on the gridiron in the heat of the summer preparing for a season that will hopefully end in a Super Bowl title.

In the NFC North, the division has four teams that could easily be playoff teams, and it may be the tougest division in all of football. The Green Bay Packers won the division last year, and the Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Green Bay and Minnesota played each other in the Wild Card, but the Packers moved on before eventually losing to San Franciso in the divisional playoffs. But now, with the 2013 season looming, every team has a 0-0 record, and is tied, ready to make a playoff run.

To get you prepped for your team’s training camp, and let’s take a look at what each NFC North team did in the offseason, with key additions, departures, and a brief season outlook.

Detroit Lions

After making the playoffs in 2011, the Detroit Lions took a step back and finished 4-12 in 2012 despited a stellar season from wide receiver Calvin Johnson, as he racked up 1,964 yards.

Departures: DE Cliff Avril, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE Lawrence Jackson, LB Justin Durant, OT Jeff Backus, OT Gosder Cherilus, OG Stephen Peterman, K Jason Hanson, and WR Titus Young.

Additions: RB Reggie Bush, S Glover Quinn, S Chris Hope, DE Jason Jones, DE Israel Idonije, DE (rookie) Ezekiel Ansah, CB (rookie) Darius Slay, K David Akers, RB Montell Owens, DT C.J. Mosley, OG Leroy Harris, OG Jake Scott.

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The Lions lose two big defensive linemnan, Avril and Vanden Bosch, but revamp a secondary that is key in a division that has to try to stop Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Christian Ponder. The Lions allowed 341.1 yards per game, and 27.3 points per game. Next, The retirement of Backus will put a lot pressure on the offensive line, and second-year player Riley Reiff, who should start at LT. Meanwhile, on offense, the Lions signed quarterback Matt Stafford to a megadeal, and get a versatile running back in Reggie Bush. Bush can help the team in the running and passing game.

 

 

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears were once 7-1 in 2012, but then fell apart, and injuries plagued their team. The Bears missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, and hired a new coach, Marc Trestman. Trestman is an offensive coach, rather than the defensive-minded Lovie Smith. The Bears finished 10-6, just missing the playoffs in 2012.

foteDepartures: LB Brian Urlacher, DE Israel Idonije, and LB Nick Roach.

Additions: LT Jermon Bushrod, TE Martellus Bennett, G Matt Stauson, G (rookie) Kyle Long, LB James Anderson, and LB D.J. Williams.

The Bears biggest task will be replacing the defensive presence and leadership of Brian Urlacher on defense, but the Bears did solid job of finding weapons for Jay Cutler and an offensive line to protect Cutler. Bennett at tight end should help Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery get open, but the additions of Bushrod, Stauson and Long should help provide stability for Cutler as well.

Minnesota Vikings

A year ago, the Minnesota Vikings exceeded expectations, and MVP Adrian Peterson was a big reason why. Peterson fell nine yards short of the single-season rushing record, but the progression of Christan Ponder impressed the Vikings organization and fans. Minnesota was 10-6 a year ago.

Departures: WR Percy Harvin, CB Antoine Winfield, and P Chris Kluwe.

Additions: QB Matt Cassel, WR Greg Jennings, LB Desmond Bishop, WR (rookie) Cordarrelle Patterson, CB (rookie) Xavier Rhodes, and DT (rookie) Shariff Floyd.

yaoo_ponderThe Vikings seem poised, and went out in the offseason to bolster Ponder’s offensive weapons, adding Jennings from Green Bay and drafting Patterson. But if Ponder struggles, the Vikings have a back-up plan now after adding Matt Cassel. On defense, the Vikings lost their leader, Winfield, and will rely on a younger secondary with second-year safety Harrison Smith, (104 tackles, one sack and three interceptions in his rookie year). At cornerback, fourth year player Chris Cook along with rookie Xavier Rhodes will look to provide stability against the division’s top passers – Rodgers, Cutler and Stafford.

 

Green Bay Packers

Two years removed from winning the Super Bowl and bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy home, the Packers have fell short for two years in the divisional playoffs. Hopefully, the Packers have a short memory and have forgotten their 45-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers (they play in Week 1), and are ready to get back to the playoffs and make another run at the Super Bowl.

rodgers

Departures: WR Greg Jennings, S Charles Woodson, C Jeff Saturday, and LB Desmond Bishop.

Additions: RBs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin (rookies), and DE (rookie) Datone Jones.

The Packers didn’t make many moves, but built through the draft, General Manager Ted Thompson’s strength. Green Bay’s focus was on the draft, but also on the re-signings of Aaron Rodgers, and Clay Matthews, both of whom are locked up for the future. The running back position has to be the most exciting for Packers fans, as Rodgers finally has weapons in the backfield that can take pressure off the passing game. DuJuan Harris showed promise last year, rushing for 257 yards and four touchdowns (including playoffs), and draft picks Lacy and Franklin, who should see lots of playing time. Meanwhile, on the offensive line, transitions to new sides during training camp will be key. Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton were moved to the left side, and T.J. Lang and Marshall Newhouse went to right side. Lastly, the defense has to get better. B.J. Raji is playing in a contract year, while Nick Perry returns to play opposite Matthews. In the secondary, cornerbacks Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, and Davon House return along with safety Morgan Burnett. The Packers defense will have to work hard during August to avoid another defensive letdown last January vs. the 49ers when Colin Kaepernick passed for 263 yards, and rushed for a another 181 yards.

Now, enjoy football again with training camps open and remember Week 1 is only six weeks away.

 

 

Sports Have An Image Problem

One afternoon a kid sat at Wrigley Field in Chicago on the third base line above the Cubs dugout. He wore a Cubs hat, his Sammy Sosa t-shirt, and his baseball glove on his left hand. He was ready to watch his childhood baseball hero, “Slammin” Sammy Sosa. It was one of the coolest moments of his life when he saw Sosa run out of the dugout and into right field that afternoon at Wrigley Field. Today he won’t forget watching Sosa, but it’s difficult to think that his childhood baseball hero used performance-enhancing drugs to smash home runs over the ivy at Wrigley Field.

sosa12

 That person was me, and today, there has to be other adults, and kids that loved Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, or now athletes such as Ryan Braun.
In 2013, moments like mine as a child have been frequent. Sports have been a year to remember, and to forget. Alabama won back-to-back BCS National Championships, Ray Lewis retired with a Super Bowl ring, LeBron James won another title and MVP, and the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup.
However, no matter how much sports have shown moments to remember this year, there are moments to forget and learn from. So far in 2013, executives, coaches, teams, programs, and players have learned they are not invincible from the law as every week it seems like someone from either the collegiate or professional level is either being arrested, suspended, or being kicked off the team.
Let’s take a closer look.
In 2013, it all started when former Notre Dame linebacker admitted to Katie Couric that he briefly lied to the media and the public after his online girlfriend didn’t exist, and was part of a hoax. Then, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong admitted he cheated, lied, and doped using performance-enhancing drugs. Next, during the NFL offseason, there have been 33 players (via NFL Arrests Database) that have been arrested, including Aaron Hernandez alleged murder charges, or multiple NFL players and executives getting arrested for drunken driving. In fact, yesterday, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller found out he could face a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, even though he said, “I did nothing wrong.” Meanwhile in baseball, the constant speculation of performance-enhancing drugs took the stage again yesterday as Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs, and was suspended 65 games after saying he was innocent in the spring of 2012, and winning the National League MVP in 2011.
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Whereas professional sports have an image problem, collegiate sports have shown their not invincible, either.
Earlier in the year, Rutgers fired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice for verbally abusing his players, and yesterday, Ohio State suspended senior running back Carlos Hyde, who is a person of interest in the investigation of an assault against a woman in a bar in Columbus, Ohio.
Every year, athletes get arrested, suspended, or kicked off teams, but it seems like in 2013, it is happening more often. As a result, sports need to take a look at what image they are sending because right now in 2013 because they are sending the wrong image to its fans, parents, and young kids/athletes.
Commissioners in these professional or collegiate leagues/conferences, such as the NFL, or MLB, or the NCAA, should be worried. For example, if a collegiate institution is known for players that are constantly getting arrested numerous times, parents may be the deciding factor for a child. From a professional sports standpoint, kids look to emulate professional athletes from their backyard to their high school gym. Athletes have to learn to be smart.
When it’s all said and done, Justin Tuck of the New York Giants said it perfectly in the New York Daily Times earlier this month when talking about the NFL’s image problem. “I think you always worry about the image of the NFL. But the only way I can control that is the things that I do. I can’t control what other people do. I can only control what image is Justin Tuck and the New York Giants…all I can do is control what Justin Tuck does and help the younger guys understand that hey, they’re role models and they have to watch how they act.”
Tuck gets it. He controls his own image, and it’s part of his job to help other athletes, especially rookies find out that they are role models. Other athletes should take notice of Tuck.
Collegiate and professional athletes have to realize that if they decide to lie, cheat, or break the law, they are not only affecting their own lives and reputations, but the lives of young children, athletes, and their fans. That’s the realization athletes must come across, as they have jobs and free time, like the average Joe. Athletes have to learn to find out what they prioritize and how to balance their priorities. Obviously their job should be their top focus, but their family, and developing healthy hobbies should be goals that they would want to have. After all, an athlete that has received a college scholarship or an opportunity to play professionally has worked hard, and why would they want to throw it all away and waste it?
Next time, think before you cheat, lie, get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking, and avoid breaking the law.

What Message is the ESPN Body Issue, or SI Swimsuit Edition Sending?

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I wrote a paper for my college class, Media Issues, entitled, “The Media’s Influence on Body Image.” Recently, ESPN came out with their annual Body Issue, and Sports Illustrated came out with their Swimsuit Edition in February.  ESPN has primarily men and women athletes posing nude for their magazine, whereas SI has supermodels and athletes wearing swimsuits or body paint. Both magazines sparked an interest in asking why athletes pose nude or with minimal clothing on and if the media’s exposure on body image affects the way a man or woman perceives themselves. The goal of this article hopes to ask the question, is there anything wrong with posing nude or with minimal clothing on for a magazine?

First, and foremost, ESPN and SI aren’t the only magazines that publish men and women without clothing or with minimal clothing on. Magazines such as Maxim, or GQ are just a few of other magazines that have had athletes, or supermodels, etc. pose with or without clothes on.

So, as magazines have published men and women posing with or without clothes on, many people ask why create the ESPN Body Issue or the SI Swimsuit Edition?

Chad Millman, ESPN Editor and Chief, was interviewed on SVP and Russillo on Thursday on ESPN Radio, (listen to the bit of the interview here: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=9470468) and said the ESPN Body Issue is about a”relationship with the athletes, and it’s still about sports and the beauty of their bodies and the work they put into it.”

Millman discussed with Scott Van Pelt that the workout regimen the athletes go through, and the idea that athletes such 77-year old Gary Player, “champion fitness all over the world,” are the some of the reasons to show these athletes posing nude.

A few athletes that have posed nude for the ESPN Body Issue shared why they did it:

Athletes like Stephanie Gilmore, said why not pose nude. 279417-stephanie-gilmore

“Why not? My thought was, Do it while the opportunity is there. Honestly, I was a little bit nervous, but I spend most of my time in a bikini anyway — although, posing naked goes a bit further than that. Of course, I was like, “Ahhh, I’ve got some insecurities,” but it was actually quite liberating.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to pose nude for the Body Issue because he didn’t want to be the typical quarterback.

kaepernick

” I’m not your typical quarterback. I don’t like when people say, “Quarterbacks aren’t supposed to run” or “Quarterbacks aren’t supposed to work out a certain way.” Quarterbacks can still have good bodies. I’m always conscious of the stereotype. I want to change what people think. There’s a lot more to it than what you see on the field.” (ESPN the Magazine – Morty Ain).

Meanwhile, the SI Swimsuit Edition has brought in 35 million in advertising sales (2005), and makes seven percent of Sports Illustrated’s annual revenue. It is huge for advertisers, bikini and jewelry designers. (Business Insider – The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: A $1 Billion Empire)

People read these magazines, and it’s a business. ESPN and SI create the Body Issue and Swimsuit Edition to increase readership, revenue, and attract advertising.

Most people that read SI, and ESPN are males, and a study was done by Sports Business Daily in November of 2007 that ESPN and SI were number one and two, respectively. Maxim was number five on the list. 7.1 million male readers were found to read ESPN the Magazine, while 6.6 million read SI.

But as people read these magazines, the negative effects of comparing oneself to an athletes or supermodels’ bodies can be frightening.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders has compiled the following statistics of men and women that suffer from eating disorders:

  •  24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder) in the United States.
  • Students suffer the most from eating disorders, as 95% of men and women are between the age of 12 and 25.
  • When comparing men and women that struggle with eating disorders, it is much more common for women. Only 10-15% of men struggle with eating disorders.
  • In the perception of magazines and body image, 47% of girls in the grades of 5th through 12 grade want to lose weight because of magazine pictures. 69% of girls in the grades of 5th through 12th grade say that magazine pictures influence their idea of a perfect body shape.

Many will argue that ESPN, SI, Maxim, GQ, etc. have athletes, supermodels pose nude or in swimsuits/body paint to glorify their bodies and to show the hard work that they have achieved in becoming professionals in their respective sports. Fans of athletes that take part in the Body Issue could respect an athlete more for the hard work they put in to eating healthy, and working out, etc.

Elena Hight posed nude for the Body Issue, and said that taking care of her body is her life. elena_hight_hamilton-600x552

“Your body is all you have in this lifetime, so taking care of it and honoring it is a huge part of my life. As an athlete, you ask so much of your body all the time, so what you do to get that response is important.” (ESPN Body Issue)

So, for these athletes, their bodies are all they have, and ESPN and SI uses art and photography to show the hard work athletes have achieved to create beauty in the bodies that is important to them.

However, do these magazines realize that they could be over-sexualizing male and female athletes? Not every male and female athletes bodies looks like a athlete in the Body Issue, and it could mislead the typical teenager. Many athletes, like Hight, begin to think that all they have is their bodies and they make their bodies their idols.

Second, the ESPN Body Issue could teach young teenagers or athletes improper ways to become healthy and toned. Young teenagers and athletes may just see that they need to be constantly working out and then, as a result not get the proper nutrition and struggle with eating disorders.

Third, as a young teenager or athlete strives to be the best, they will become dissatisfied with their bodies. Denver Nuggets Kenneth Faried and USA women’s soccer player Sydney Leroux were photographed in the ESPN Body Issue, but told the magazine that they struggle with their bodies, have insecurities, and have work to do, too.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets

Faried: “It was a surprise for guys in the NBA when they realized how strong I was. With most people, you see the brute strength. With me, you don’t see it all. I’ve always had problems keeping weight on. I wish my thighs were thicker; it’d be better if I could move people out of my way instead of having to jump over them all the time.” (ESPN the Body Issue)

sydney-leroux

Leroux: “I think it’s a big deal to be an athlete and feel confident in your body and show it off. I wasn’t confident in high school where there were no people of my ethnicity. Everyone was blond and skinny, and I was different. It made me want to be something I wasn’t. But I’ve reached a point in my life where I am happy with who I am.” (ESPN the Body Issue)

Gilmore went on to say she is insecure about her body.

“You look at these beautiful women in magazines or the muscly and toned athletes in the Body Issues … you feel those normal insecurities like any young girl. But in the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about how to treat my body and how to value it. I got to a point where I didn’t stress about my insecurities.” (ESPN W – the Body Issue)

Kerri Walsh-Jennings posed nude for the magazine while being pregnant, and not pregnant, and said she still has work to do with her body.

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“I’m supposed to be tight and toned and strong, but I have a lot more work to do.” (ESPN W – the Body Issue)

Like Faried, Leroux, Gilmore, or Walsh-Jennings, athletes struggle with their appearance and many young teenagers, and athletes do too. The difference the media, athletes, schools, coaches, teams need to do a better job helping young teenagers and athletes cope with body image. Young teenagers and athletes must recognize that no body is perfect, and each body is different. Appreciate the body that God has given you, and that God has made you unique and in his image.

In conclusion, whether ESPN’s Body Issue or SI’s Swimsuit Edition is selling sex or not, have the mindset that these individuals have worked hard to create beauty in their bodies. As an individual, respect the athletes, and know that they have struggled like you may have. Know that you are unique and different.

Finally, the biggest addition the magazines may make is to show athletes that aren’t as muscular, or as strong because there is no perfect body.

Please feel free to comment!

carry on.

Today, three things happened. It was these three little things that turned into three eye-openings for me.

First, I must say that I love writing. I love sports. I love writing about sports. This piece, however, reflects what I believe and what I want to be known as a journalist. I’m not the type of guy that shows emotions, or wears them on his sleeves. I don’t usually tell them to others, but I instead write them. Here is my heart.

The first little thing I saw today began this morning at church, at the Ransom. I knew that it was going to be awesome because the worship made me feel God in that place. We sang this song, “Revelation Song,” and the lyrics sunk in.

“Filled with wonder. Awestruck wonder. At the mention of Your name. Jesus your name is power. Breath and Living water. Such a marvelous mystery. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is still to come.”

Wow. God could be felt and I knew that God was moving. God moves in these mysterious ways, but in powerful ways. Ways we don’t understand. Ways that make us wonder his plan, but I know that a God so powerful wouldn’t let me down. He never has, and never will.

I know God’s ways are hard to understand, but at the same time, I know God has a plan for me.

For one of first times, I thought I was clearly beginning to see what God’s plan for me was, and it had all started in the beginning of 2013. It started off as one of the best years. I was having a good last semester, I had the best friends, I had two opportunities in the media field – one at KDLT-News shooting sports and the other writing sports for ESPN 99.1.

But then I graduated. It was exciting, but frustrated. However, life isn’t supposed to be good, right?

And as life became frustrated, I freaked a little. I freaked everyday whether I really showed it on the outside or inside because I like to cover things up. I guess I don’t know why I don’t tell people how I really feel.

I freaked because I couldn’t find a full time gig and I didn’t know why? I doubted. I questioned. I was stuck. I kept freaking out daily.

But in the meantime, I was learning to use my doubts, and questions as opportunities to grow, to get better and to meet new people. For example, I met an Argus Leader sports writer, I was shadowing reporters, or got a new opportunity to write “Game of Week,” articles for ESPN 99.1.

Little by little God was working, I had just not seen it. That bothered me because I wanted results. I wanted an audible voice from God to say, “Sam, I have this job for you.” Realistically, it doesn’t work that way, and it takes patience.

That’s where the message today from the Ransom comes in. The message was how Jacob wrestled with God, and with life we all wrestle with God. The key to the message was am I letting my wrestling with God lead to blessing? Am I wanting MORE of God, and being dependent on God? I needed to break the popsicle sticks, and break down to God to say, “Break me.”I needed to grab hold of the God who created me, and let him work. That needs to be my prayer every day.

The second little thing has to do more with sports. I was watching SportsCenter Featured piece called, “Carry On.”

You can watch it here: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9456327. It was a story told by Tom Rinaldi and former ESPN producer Lisa Fenn about the story of Dartanyon Crockett, and Leroy Sutton. The video showed how Fenn, Crockett, and Sutton formed a family and how they altered each other’s lives.

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Fenn showed how you can’t count these men out and that they let their goals be greater and did anything and everything to chase them.

While watching this video, I realized I want to be a journalist that tells stories, and stories that tell people not give up. I want to be a journalist, a person that you can count on to carry on to bring good, beauty from pain, light from darkness, and truth from lies.

I will do anything to help people succeed and chase their dreams. I love listening and telling people’s stories. That’s why I became a journalist.

The third little thing happened tonight. It stormed and rained and after the storm, I went for a bike ride. There was a sunset in the distance and I rode so could see it nice and clear. I love sunsets. Sunsets give me so much joy and because of them, I know my God is so much bigger than my problems and that he creates beauty out of storms.

Because of these three little things, I know the little things matter, and that God puts even the little things to make a difference in our lives. The little things often make us see what really is important.

I want to carry on an attitude that is the same as my God, that puts others above myself, and attitude that wants to be passionate in what I believe and in my job – journalism.

As a journalist, I want to win listeners, viewers, and readers with honest, truthful, and compelling stories that are intriguing and show a passion.

Now, help me carry on, and never lose hope.

Celebrating Jackie Robinson and Wendall Smith: American Baseball Heroes

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Jackie Robinson’s teammate Pee Wee Reese once said, “Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42 so they won’t tell us apart.” Today, Reese’s famous quotation became true for African-Americans.
In fact, today, and on every April 15 all around the Major Leagues, baseball players will wear the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. However, African-Americans should be celebrating another person today, too.
Wendall Smith was the man that wrote about Jackie Robinson breaking history. Smith went to every game Robinson played with his typewriter in his lap because he wasn’t allowed in the press box due to the color of his skin.
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Smith was the sports editor and columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier. The Baseball Writers Association of American didn’t recognize him until Robinson’s second year in the Major Leagues, and he was later elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the writer’s wing in 1994.
 
Smith felt the highest of his colleague he wrote about. “He never backed down from a fight, never quit agitating for equality.”
For Robinson, he was more than just a first-baseman in the Major Leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a pioneer for African-Americans to be able to fulfill their dreams to play professional baseball.
Robinson’s story begins 68 years ago when Dodgers owner Branch Rickey gave him a chance. Rickey told the 26-year old African-American ballplayer, “People aren’t going to like this, they are going to do anything to get you to react. Echo a curse with a curse, and they will hear only yours. Follow a blow with a blow, and they’ll say the Negro lost its temper. Your enemy will be out in force and you cannot meet him on his low ground.”
Robinson responded and said, “Do you want a player that doesn’t have the guts to fight back?”
Rickey then told the young ballplayer, “No, I want a player that has the guts not to fight back.”
Rickey wanted Robinson to turn the other cheek, and he would quickly learn that fighting back wouldn’t be an option as teammates, opponents, managers, baseball executives would show their opposition. Robinson would hear insults, get kicked out of games, get hit by pitches, and hear threats from his opposition that said they wouldn’t play if he did.
Like his doubters, Robinson had plenty of believers, too. His owner, Branch Rickey, his wife, Rachel Robinson, his own teammates, his writer Wendall Smith, and African-Americans alike. These people all believed that he could be a not just a successful ballplayer, but a pioneer for the game of baseball.
The day had finally came on April 15, 1947 for the 28-year old Robinson, when he would walk up to the plate for the first time at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Robinson would show his believers and doubters that he did it. He would go 1-for-3 against Boston, and scored the game-winning run.
It’s because of that day in 1947 that ballplayers will wear the number 42 on the back of their jerseys on April 15 every year, and celebrate the man who had broken the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Robinson is in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and is the only ballplayer with his number retired. He broke baseball’s color barrier, and it is a moment that forever changed sports.
It’s hard to argue either that Smith wasn’t going to give up on his dream of becoming a recognized journalist that wasn’t judged by the color of his skin.
Robinson and Wendall Smith’s story were recently told on the big screens that hit theaters last Friday, and is worth watching for everyone – not just baseball fans. It’s a movie that shows how these two brave men replaced hatred with their love for the game, and job. Robinson truly let his talent do the talking, and Smith let his writing do the talking.
Both these men should be remembered, and recognized, not forgotten.