So recently I went to an event that was a smaller-scale, replica of the NFL Draft. It was so interesting, but I quickly realized that I knew nothing about the real draft. Although I would consider myself a pretty informed and enthusiastic sports fan and sports is the job field I am most interested in, I found my flaws.
Now I have educated myself, but here are 7 ways to help you not be illiterate about the NFL Draft:
It has been a special event since 1936. The aesthetics have evolved, but it has always been a major event.
2. Representatives from each NFL team is in attendance at the same time.
3. “On the clock,” is a common term referring to the amount of seconds teams have in between picks to chose their player.
4. There are currently 7 rounds, where 32 teams pick one player each round.
5. The pick order is determined from the previous year’s post season results.So the worse a team did the closer they are to the first pick.
6. If the President speaks that does not mean the President of the United States, so don’t look for Obama. It means the President/ Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell.
7. There are table runner, which I got to be at my event, who delivers the hand written pick to the Vice President to review and announce.
There are many many more details and rules to the draft, but they still confuse me so this is a start. My biggest advice would be to tune in to ESPN starting on April 28th at 8 P.M.
Keep choosing to learn about the fields you are interest in. Therefore, I’ll be watching too!
So March definitely brought the Madness that spewed over into April. This past month or so has honestly been one of the best times in my life! Although it was filled with every emotion on the spectrum: feeling like I would pass out before every game from nerves, going hoarse from cheering too loud (is there such a thing?), getting anxious before every trip, not mentally being there in my classes even when I was home, the excitement of adventures, the awkwardness of some events, the thrill of winning and celebration, the high of surviving to the next round, the hope that there is still a chance, the heartbreak and sadness, the deeper love now felt for my teammates and our team…the list could continue on and on.
Everything I was able to experience was absolutely UNBELIEVABLE! It is something so special that I cannot even begin to put it into words. I wish I could, but I do not think I could do it the proper justice.
And in these moments now where the traveling stops. the games end. and everything is supposed to just go back to normal when I am not sure what that is anymore I am kind of lost. There are so many things that I am feeling about my favorite basketball team ever and the end of a cheerleading career that I do not know how to express nor do I really want to.
I don’t have any profound words to say, because so many have already been said. So here are some links that best hint of what myself and many others are feeling.
“I’ve had some really, really good teams, and some really, really good players. I’ve never been as proud of a group as I am of this group right now….But I wouldn’t trade my team for anybody. “ – Roy Williams
“Well, the whole four years means the world to me. I wouldn’t trade any of the losses, any of the games… It’s hard to say, but even including this one, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s hard because at some point tonight I have to take this jersey off and I never get to put it back on. I just have to rely on all the memories I have with my teammates….
I’m telling you, this is the most fun year in my entire life.” -Marcus Paige
Do you see my emotion in this picture? It’s pure happiness! How could I not be that thrilled when I got to cheer for the best university and best basketball team in the National Championship!
I never dreamed this would be part of my life’s plan, but boy am I glad it was! Cheering at Carolina has provided me with the most unbelievable friends, supporters and experiences! This last year has truly been one for the books. I will forever cherish this team, my teammates who have become my family and all the memories!
The uniform may be off for good, but my heart will always be with UNC and this smile will always be here! Thanks to Roy’s Boys for taking us on the best journey of my life! So proud.
When I was a young teenager I was obsessed with Seventeen Magazine! I received their monthly issue in the mail for years up through high school. While I would study the magazine cover to cover, about three times and try every make up and hair trick they suggested (bad idea), my favorite section came on the second to last page. It was a comprised list of readers’ embarrassing life moments that I like to refer to as My Life is a Joke moments. These are moments that you had no control over, but were forced to reap the consequences. Sure, we are all dramatic at times but sometimes the world just does things to you that leaves you dumbfounded! Similarly, I have documented a few stories thanks to myself and some friends explaining the moment when the world clearly solidified this thought. Enjoy!
My roommate Sarah has always dreamed of having confetti fall over top of her head and fall effortlessly in place looking like the beautiful homecoming queen in all the teenager movies. One night we attended a birthday party with confetti poppers all around. This was her moment, her dream come true! Visions of windblown hair, big smiles and a touch of sparkly confetti danced in her head but when reality hit it hit hard! Instead of breaking apart and slowly floating down, when she popped the confetti ball it all stuck together and hit her directly in the face. Near by the birthday girl popped one which just happen to work flawlessly. Your life is definitely a joke when your dream nails you in the face!
Last year I was seeing a specialist for allergy trouble and the doctor casually asks me “Has your voice always been that raspy?” Hmm… I have never had this question before so I didn’t know how to answer because this just seemed like my average voice. She proceeds to take a camera down my passageways to look at my vocal cords. Then looks at me and says “Yep. You have vocal nodules.” Okay I get that this is not the end of the world or anything, but excuse me I have NODES like from Pitch Perfect?Then the doctor’s treatment plan was to have me not talk for SIX, yes 6, months!!! Last I checked this would be a major problem because 1. I am a girl who loves to chat. 2. I am in college. and 3. I am a cheerleader who literally yells for my job! I’d say that classifies as the world playing a joke on me!
For UNC Football there is a rivalry between us and Duke that whoever wins in football get to have the cherished victory bell. Each game the bell is pulled in front of the team with two girl cheerleaders riding and ringing the bell as they run through the tunnel. It was the last home game of the season and my two teammates were getting set to ride the bell out…well so they thought. The boys pulling the bell rounded the corner too quickly without the girls having a steady hold, shooting their bodies through the air to land on their backs in front of the student section and in the middle of the end zone. To make matters worse the boys didn’t realize they had fallen off and continue moving only to run over the girls with the wheels of the couple of hundred pounds bell. With paint, grass stains, tire marks and all the girls hopped right up to cheer the game like nothing happened. Congratulations your life was a joke for thousands of people to watch! Sadly there was no documentation, but just imagine from the picture below.
Additionally, at football games the guy cheerleaders are lifted in the air on a push-up board after touchdowns to complete as many push-ups as the team has points. It was one guy’s first time on the board, which apparently is much harder than it looks because the 60-some push-ups he had to do proved to be too much for his arms to handle. He fought and pushed and shaked until he gave in to a quick rest on his belly before completing the rest. Lucky for him it was all caught on camera!
While I hope these stories gave you a good laugh, the point is that sometimes life will throw at you ridiculous circumstances, but you’ve just got to know how to handle it. Sometimes you have to choose to roll with the punches and laugh at the joke that has become of your life! Let your stories provide entertainment, and if you are able to find the joy in them it helps lessen the sting!
Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I have been thinking about tomorrow, February 29th for a while now, and honestly I am dreading it. Besides the fact that it is a Monday and everyone dreads Mondays, it is going to be a really strange day for me.
Tomorrow I cheer my last game at UNC. Meaning I am one step closer to completely ending my career as a cheerleader forever.
To give you a little background for the magnitude of the above statements, I began cheerleading at age 4. The rec program in my hometown did not accept athletes until they were 5, but my mom begged the coach, I shed some tears and they let me in. Since that day, I have not gone a single day without being a cheerleader marking 18 years altogether. I went through the normal progression of recreational cheer, middle school team, plus one year of competitive, high school and now college. So I do not really remember a time where I was not a cheerleader.
But that moment is approaching quickly, too quickly.
Clearly I have always been drawn to the sport, and it was a point of motivation for me to pursue competitive gymnastics for 9 years (which I too found a passion for) in order to secure that I would have enough skills to make the varsity team in high school as a freshmen. I made that goal when I was 6. From then on I filled my weeks with countless hours of gymnastics practice, cheer practice, tumbling class and games year round, never giving my family or myself a break. But for me that was exactly how I wanted to spend my time, and I am beyond thankful that my parents supported it.
To say I have loved every second of this journey with cheerleading would be a lie. I often explain it to people as a love hate relationship.
Prior to college cheerleading was a hobby and the sport that I excelled at! I pushed myself so hard in the gym to learn and perfect new skills, both as a team and individually, many things that my peers or audience would never see. But it did not matter to me that most people would never understand the the sport I loved and the talent I had been gifted with, because conquering fears and mastering skills gave me a thrill I never wanted to lose. My experience with this sport taught me about self-discipline, teamwork, confidence, perseverance, enthusiasm, overcoming adversity, mental and physical strength and so much more.
On the contrary, cheerleading is hard. It sometimes frustrates me to my core. It is a sport based around appearances, which is quite frankly just plain shallow. Because of this, there have been times when I have felt unloved, too flawed, inadequate, pressure to conform, angry, judged, judged and judged some more, etc. There were most definitely times in my life were I made cheerleading an idol. I have been guilty of placing too much importance on cheerleading and therefore let it determine my self-worth and value. Like many other cheerleaders, I made numerous sacrifices such as skipping a senior prom, missing social gatherings and vacations, working my body until it will forever be injured because it all seemed worth it. This is slightly embarrassing, but I even prayed harder for things involving cheerleading than anything else in my life.
Oftentimes I have questioned whether the good really out weighs the bad. Finding the balance can be hard and it did not get any easier in college. Instead cheerleading became my job, a responsibility that carried a heavy weight. At times it lost some of the fun, but do not worry I found it again!
The joy that I have experienced throughout my cheerleading journey rose above everything else which led me to choose this athletic path year after year.
Cheerleading has been one of the most constant things in my life; while the teams, atmospheres and situations changed the sport was always present. But soon it won’t be and I am honestly terrified of that. What emotions will I feel? Remember back to the first post I wrote, I am not a feelings person so makes me all the more nervous. Am I going to feel sadness, relief, peace, apathetic, excitement for a new stage of life or emptiness because I am losing such a large part of me? Will I experience an identity crisis? Maybe I will feel a mixture of all these emotions at some point, but who knows. All I know is that I am hopeful that I became a cheerleader because I am an encourager and not the reverse that way when this chapter fully closes I can be known as “Carly the encourager of life,” not just “Carly the Cheerleader.”
Know that when or if you say goodbye to something that once helped make you into the person you are, it is NOT all that you are!
My mom called a few hours ago and said “Tomorrow will be bittersweet won’t it?” I know many of my teammates and their families are feeling the same way. But yes, bittersweet seems fitting for now.
As time runs down you hold your breath and grab on to whoever is around you for dear life. The buzzer sounds, the crowd screams and colorful confetti falls. But it is not for you.
The visions of the victory quickly fade and you are left with an emptiness. While everything around you is in a loud uproar, somehow it is drowned out because you are in a daze. For me, I feel like I have been a part of too many of these moments. Yes, this topic is weighing on my mind because of the heartbreaking loss UNC endured this week, but that is not all. I have cheered at many big games and championships in both high school and college and more times than not received a discouraging ending. (Although the games that have ended miraculously have been added to the ‘Highlights of my Life’s’ list.)
A moment that is supposed to be filled with a spectrum of overwhelmingly happy emotions never happens. How do you prepare for this? You don’t, really. I mean technically you are always aware that it could happen because if not then you are too cocky, but if you focus too much on the negative outcome confidence is loss. There has to be a healthy, productive balance leaning a little more towards winning.
Disappointment is not only limited to sporting event. The atmosphere of having both ends of the spectrum (some people’s highs in the midst of other’s lows) in one place just makes it more visible. Unfortunately, this feeling has no boundaries; it can affect any person in any situation no matter the race, age, gender, etc. Whether it comes in the form of missed job offers, breakups, failed test, etc. we will all face it at some point. So why not stare it right back in the face when it comes your way?
Moments like these have the possibility to defeat you, but only if you allow it. Like many things in life, I believe it comes down to a choice. A choice to use these disappointments as motivation.
When you face these trails take time to reflect on the situation, usually many lessons can be learned. But do not dwell on it! Be aware of how your mind is recalling the events and processing them. If it is all a negative and hyper-critical tone then stop yourself from getting to that mental place, putting yourself down more will not be helpful. If you are sill struggling with this on your own ask a friend to keep you accountable, or write down every time you think about it in a nonproductive way in case you do not even realize it.
After reflection comes appreciation. Be thankful for the opportunity to fail; without the opportunity there is no option for growth! Then it is time to swallow your pride and get to work. Use these gut wrenching feelings as motivation to improve in a variety of aspects.
Currently, I am still waiting on my Peyton and Lucas moment from One Tree Hill, but until then I am going to try to enjoy the roller coaster of life. As cliche as it sounds do not let the disappointments of this world dull your sparkle, continue getting up time after time to chose to be triumphant. Sometimes being victorious is just a mindset, and I think we can all be winners!