On July 4th, the United States was set abuzz, not only because it was Independence Day, but because Kevin Durant announced would leave his longtime team, the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the NBA record-setting Golden State Warriors.
Now I’m not the biggest NBA basketball fan, but I understand that Durant’s decision could have a big impact on the sport in the future.
A lot of basketball fans and analysts were angry with his decision, avid Thunder fans were furious taking to the streets to burn their “35” jerseys in anger and ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith was about as livid as a person could get. And Warriors fans rejoiced.
No matter how people felt, nearly everyone had something to say about Durant’s news, because it pins the health of competition against the business of the industry.
Much like when Lebron joined the Heat, fans across the nation took to the streets to burn their “35” jerseys in anger of the decision that Durant made.
Today is Inauguration Day for President Donald J. Trump and as Washington D.C., welcomes the newly elected leader of our nation, Americans all over the nation are feeling a wide range of emotion.
For millions of Americans, today marks the sad end to the Barack Obama presidency, their beloved Commander in Chief of the free world for the last 8 years. For others, today is an exciting new beginning to the next 4 years under the new Trump administration. And neither one of these two sides are very happy with how the other faces today.
The truth is, the United States is deeply divided and has been for some time now, and the 2016 election cycle only proved how nasty politics have gotten in this country. And its only getting worse.
After election day, the nastiness of both political parties continued to bubble over into public life. As millions of Republicans were overjoyed that their candidate pulled off one of the biggest upsets in political history, Democrats were devastated. The bandaid of politics had been ripped off painfully, and it exposed a nasty wound plaguing this country, a nasty wound that was making ordinary people into angry mad men.
Violence broke out. Arguments erupted across the nation in big cities, small communities, and all over social media. Protests arose, and supporters both red and blue took to beating one another to a pulp just because of who they voted for.
Half of this nation could not be any happier with the outcome of the election, while the other half was sad, scared, and angry with the thought of the new president. The chasm between these two groups is as wide as it has ever been. The canyon has pulled us so far apart, that we can’t even see one another as human anymore.
In fact, we have minimized the other side of the isle to stereotypical ideas of what people actually are. We often find ourselves thinking of the “other” as ‘Oh, those whiny liberals’ or ‘Oh, those closed minded conservatives,’ all the while forgetting that all of us hold our own opinions and biases. And when that happens we lose sight of what this country is all about.
At the end of today, one question will remain for Americans of all walks of life to ponder: where do we go from here? However you view the new era we have entered, the question is definitely worth asking.
Have things gotten so ugly that we can no longer look one another in the eye, even if they belong to a different party than we do? Will this election mark the beginning of no turning back from political strife, gridlock and hate? So many questions demand an answer, and through the test of time, they will be.
As the United States enters its 241st year as a nation, we all ought to remember that this country operates based upon the people that make up this country, not the president. Whether you like it or not, the fate of this country until 2021 does not ultimately rest upon the shoulders of Donald Trump, it rests upon the shoulders of the American people and it can be impacted by the way that we treat one another.
Love your neighbor. Take time to listen to those you disagree with. Remember that we are all human, we are all American, and that just because we believe we are right another person doesn’t have to be wrong.
2016 blinded us all to the common bond that we share together. We are all Americans, and that can’t and shouldn’t be lost in the monotony of political disagreements. Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian or other third-party, we still have to interact with one another 2017.
Politicians can hide behind their party, but common, every day people can’t. We will continue to go to work together these next 4 years. We will go to school together, raise families together, go to church, frequent the same businesses, and do life together. No matter how much you hate those “whiny liberals” or “gun-totting conservatives,” we cannot avoid one another, like the politicians can.
Stand up for what you believe in. Do not, however, needlessly quarrel with others for disagreeing with you. That does no good for anyone.
No matter who you are, you matter to this country. Without you, we will be exactly in the same place as we are now in four years. Maybe this country won’t look exactly the same as it did in 2016, but it will undoubtedly face the same problems we do in 2017.
Whoever you are, whatever you look like, wherever you came from, whatever you believe in, whatever emotions you may feel today, America needs you. It’s up to all of us to get through these next 4 years together.
Declaring that Donald Trump is not your president won’t fix this nation, and neither will rubbing the new presidency into the face of the other. Listening, building relationships, doing good for your community, and respectfully disagreeing with one another will.
After all, Twitter wars and Facebook trolling is not what has made this country great since 1776, its been great because of the people that make up this nation.
There are two paths that this country can take from here. We can either learn to work together, or we can continue to drive one another apart.
Whatever path may be chosen by the people, we should all take time to consider the impending question we face from this day forward: where do we go from here, and what part will you play in getting us there?
There’s just something freeing about being out in wide open spaces.
About a month ago, I went on a hiking trip along the Virginia stretch of the Appalachian Trail with some other college students from my church.
For most of the three-day hike we weaved through the secluded mountain trees, hidden beneath the shade of the woods. But every once in a while, we came out of the woods and were able to witness something utterly breathtaking; the wide open space of a spacious mountain view.
Experiencing open space has become so rare in today’s society. It is a special experience that you can typically find only on a mountain top or driving alongside rows and rows of fields out in the sticks.
The truth is that we are all creatures of habit in a closed off world. We live each day cramped up in our tiny little secluded spaces.
We travel each day in tiny little closed off cars, to work in tiny little closed off cubicles, ride in tiny little closed off elevators, and come home to our tiny little houses with neighbors so close you could practically stick your head out the window and spit to your neighbors house.
We also love to develop areas and cram stores and shopping centers into a small space, losing the luxury of being able to be out in the open. Of course, being so closed off is not all bad, but the point its really truly hard to get out and enjoy the open space, because there seems to be even less of it these days.
“The quicker we humans learn that saving open space and wildlife is critical to our welfare and quality of life, maybe we’ll start thinking of doing something about it.”
–Jim Fowler, American Zoologist, Scientist.
As I stood on the top of Mt. Whitetop, the second tallest peak in Virginia, and I could see for miles and miles every direction, I knew that it was a special experience, and the solidarity of it all was breathtaking. There are few times when you get to experience the free feeling of pure, utter, and complete openness.
The point of this story is that sometimes you need to get out away from it all. As I stood on top of that mountain looking out as far as my eyes could see in every direction it was like therapy for me.
I got away from literally everything that was on my mind, and it was great. I needed a few moments to just sit, look, and not do anything else. And I want everyone to be able to have an experience like that.
So the takeaway here:
After that experience, I began looking for other wide open spaces in my day. I realized from that its possible to find them everywhere, and that open space exists even in the busy spaces we live in every day.
An open space could be as simple as laying out in your yard and staring out at the blue sky, visiting the local park, or even just driving out to get away from it all.
Everyone needs to find their open spaces. They don’t have to be twenty miles into the woods, or out in the middle of nowhere. They simply just need to be found.
For me at school, it was at the Coker Arboretum, at home its sitting outdoors, or watching the sunset. Wherever it may be, it’s important that everyone finds their spaces to just sit and enjoy!
So I encourage everyone, city folk, country people, and the indoor lovers alike, take some time to go out and find your open spaces. They’re out there. Once you find them you’ll realize how good it is for you, I promise.
I was texting a friend the other day, and we were talking about how quick the transition is between being a high school kid living under your parents house, and a not so much older college kid who has to learn how to be a “grown up.” He jokingly suggested that before we know it we will be college graduates and working in the real world. His joke, though funny, scared the crap out of me. It made me realize a few things about life.
The thought of how fast things have changed over the past few years, and even the past few months boggles my mind. Four years ago, I was a freshman at Lumberton High School lost in a sea of 2300 students, probably more people than I had seen in my entire life on a regular basis, not including sports games. At that time the thought of college was something I shied away from, mostly because it seemed so far away, but also because it scared me to an extent. And yet here at am in Chapel Hill, a freshman in college.
I also started thinking about how quick the time passes and managed to make myself a little gloomy in the process. Many experiences that I have had in life, like playing rec. league baseball, summers spent almost entirely outdoors, and learning how to ride my bike are already over. But then I realized that happens for everyone, and the fact that I am just 18 years old means that there are many life experiences that will be way cooler than many that I had in the past. My life has just begun. Ecclesiastes 3 also reminded me just to slow myself down:
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I realize that there is a time to reminisce about the past, and a time to worry about the future. But today is not that time. Right now its time to just live.
I’m sure that one day I will remember memories of college and wish I could go back. But in essence life is not about making memories, and living in the past. Life is about going out and enjoying life, making memories, enjoying the present, and appreciating and carrying past experiences with you.
It is true that with each pressing moment I’m getting closer to becoming a “grownup” and further away from being a kid. Sometimes I wonder where the time went. But I realize continuing to contemplate the past, regretting all the naps I missed in elementary school, and how cool it was to just enjoy being a kid does not do me (or anyone really) any good.
I have decided that rather than internally complaining how much its going to suck having to pay bills, work every day, and having an increasing number of people start to call me “Mr. Frederick” instead of just “Jack” in the next few years, I’m going to use this epiphany to set a few goals for myself over my college career
Enjoy living in the moment. I realized this week that memories are good reminders to keep making them. Not everything will be a positive experience for me, but everything will be meaningful. I hope to enjoy life in the moment more.
Travel the country. As much as I love the South, I want to be able to experience other parts of the greatest country in the world. Hopefully by the time I graduate I will have at least witnessed visiting the West Coast, if not take a grand road trip one of these days, or maybe even get over to Hawaii or Alaska one day.
Travel to another country. I’m not much of a traveler, but I want to be able to see what at least one other country is like. (For some strange reason the top of my list is Australia.)
Do something I could never see myself doing. I’m not really thinking on the level of doing something illegal, or getting myself arrested, but enjoying an experience that I never could have imagined myself doing. Its good to get outside the box sometimes
Learn a new sport. I consider myself a sports fanatic, but even considering little league sports I haven’t ventured much beyond the big three, baseball, basketball, and football (with the occasional ultimate and racquetball mixed in). Even if I don’t fall in love with another sport, I want to learn how to play something else. Who knows, maybe even golf.
Take time to develop new skills. While I am good at some things there are many more others that I am no good at, amongst them is being organized. By the time I graduate I hope to have honed some new skills for life.
Keep writing. I like to write, and I hope that no matter if I continue in journalism or pick a completely different career I don’t give up writing.
I know my goals are not especially noteworthy or meaningful to most people, but they mean something to me. Hopefully everyone can find some goals that mean something to them and go after them.
I think every once in a while its good for everyone to take a moment and look back on the past, and use that time to set some goals for yourself in the future.
The impending crisis of adulthood looms over us all and leaves us with two roads that we can pick from. We can pick the road to grumbling, complaining, and awaiting it to get here, or we can choose to enjoy our time just how life is right now in this awkward stage between childhood and adulthood. The second option sounds a lot more enjoyable to me. As memories have reminded me, life will never ever be like it is right now again. I’m going to grab life by the horns and let it take me where it does.
I also promise that even though one day I may officially become a “real adult” I will never ever ever grow up. Always set goals, but never grow up.
“That’s the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.”-Walt Disney
If nothing else was worth it for you to read, here’s a Sarah Palin and Donald Trump video for you to enjoy for your trouble. https://youtu.be/0pinZNYxQeo
In merely 2 days, the year 2015 will be over and a branding spanking new 2016 will begin, which calls for a bit of reflection from all of us upon the past year. News organizations have released their “Year in Reviews:” which capture the highlights of 2015 in a few events, which has sparked me to draft my own.
According to ABC New’s “Year in Review” 2015 was a year of death and destruction that included events such as the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, police brutality, prison escapes, and the Charleston Church Shooting. Understandably, ABC News followed the “If it bleeds it leads” journalistic practice.
Biography.com had slightly less depressing highlights that were much more interesting for me to read than to think about all the bad things that have happened this year. They focused on events like the United States Women’s National Soccer Team winning the World Cup, the royal delivery of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and the U.S and Cuba restore relations.
You can access both ABC News and Biography.com Year in Review at the bottom of my post.
However, truly the year 2015 was neither simply good or bad, but lies somewhere in the middle between the positive and the negative. There were plenty of events that have inspired humanity in all of us this year, but also many that have been depressing. How we choose to remember 2015 is a collective effort, but also a much more personal remembrance than ABC News and Biography.com tend to let on.
For each person, 2015 should mean something differently. For many, 2015 marked a year of loss of friends, family, and loved ones. For others, it was the start of a new beginning at a new job, a new school, or simply just a much needed fresh new year. Each person should reflect upon their 2015 and compile a list of a few meaningful events of 2015 in preparation for what might come in 2016.
2015 was the Year of Becoming a Tarheel
In late 2014, I was accepted to college from several different places, but I ultimately decided to attend Carolina. 2015 marked a new era for me, not only as a college student, but also as a brand new tarheel fan and Chapel Hill resident. After my first semester I learned a lot of lessons some of which extend beyond the classroom, and hopefully 2016 will make me a wiser adult, spender, and student.
2015 was the Year of Recovery for me
On August 29, 2014 I tore my ACL playing football which ended my senior season of football. While the end of 2014 kept me in a wheelchair or on crutches, the start of 2015 marked the beginning of my recovery in hopes of being able to play some baseball by the end of the spring. I had to wear braces, work hard, and exercise hard every day to regain the strength and stability in my knee. Eventually, after working hard, I was able to make it back and played the second half of the baseball season.
2015 was the Year of Graduation
To a high school Senior nothing is more important than finally graduating and getting out of highschool. While high school was fun, I am glad to be done with high school and moving on to bigger and better things beyond Lumberton North Carolina.
2015 was the Year of Anniversary
On April 1, 2014 I started dating Brittany Hubbard and April 1, 2015 marked one year dating. Whether she realizes it or not, I am lucky to have her in my life, and I can’t imagine what I would do without her. She definitely keeps me in line, puts up with my awful jokes, and keeps me around. I am very thankful for her. I love you Brittany.
Brittany and I
What will 2016 be?
I have no idea what might be in store for me in 2016. I am glad to be starting a new year, with new opportunities and glad to see what the future has in store these next 366 days. Goodbye, 2015 and Cheers to the New Year. Bring it on, 2016. Happy New Year everyone!
I generally have been no good at this kind of stuff but I’m gonna give it my best shot. Here goes my first blog post entitled “I’m No Good at Titles” because if you couldn’t guess I am no good at titles.
Here goes nothing!
My name is Jack, and I am just a lowly freshman in a big place with lots and lots of people. I like to call this large place Chapel Hill and although it is filled with lots of people it is still awesome. It is an awesome place where lots of 18-22 year olds like me learn how to grow up. This blog will serve as my freshman year reflection upon my first year of college, and learning how to grow up. I plan to use this blog to talk about what’s going on in the world, the Tarheels and other sports teams, what is going on in my life, and other random things that come out of my mind. I dedicate this first post to random facts that people should talk a lot more about. Here are just a few:
1. People are absolutely freaking crazy! There are lots of crazy people in the world and they just so happen to be everywhere. They cannot be avoided, and not a day goes by that you won’t come into contact with at least one crazy person. When you accept that fact it is so much easier to deal with people. And if you find that you don’t interact with someone crazy every day then the odds are that you are either living in fantasyland, or you are that crazy person. Sorry for that, but that is a fact.
2. Various vegetables such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, and broccoli are a detriment to society. They are gross, and we should keep them away from women, children, the elderly, and heck pretty much everyone. We need much less gross green veggies and a whole lot more meat. Steak and chicken rock, and serve as much better food than the stuff growing in the ground. That is a fact. But seriously, broccoli is bad for you.
3. The UNC football team is wrongfully getting overlooked by the CFB Playoff Committee. They may not have had the most intense schedule of all teams but they are deservingly (9-1) and should be much higher than 17 on the list. They deserve to be a lot closer to making the top 4 than they are now. They may not deserve a spot right now, but if they win out against VT and NC State, then beat Clemson in the ACC championship, then they should at least get some consideration. Come on man. That is a fact.
4. UNC is way better than Duke. I am only a recent convert to Carolina Nation but I have already developed a hatred for the Blue Devils. Growing up hating the Alabama Crimson Tide as an Auburn fan makes an easy transfer to hating Duke. Its simple. I just think of Coach K as the Nick Saban of Basketball. Duke sucks. That is a fact.
5. Let me just reiterate: anyone in the entire world > Duke. But most importantly UNC> Duke. That is and always will be a fact.
6. Growing up does not live up to all the hype that we all thought it would. Many of the taken for granted luxuries of childhood like nap time, Saturday cartoons, and a carefree attitude are unheard of to an eighteen year old. College life is filled with stress, lack of sleep, and the endless of Monday-Friday classes, and lots and lots of stress. Did I mention tons of stress? I would gladly fork over the power to manage my own bank account to be able to relax and watch Rocket Power all Saturday. Life passes by quick, and that is a fact. But I guess that is just a part of growing up.