The Big Game

My U13 Gold team had made it to the semis. We were going against the undefeated team in our league, Juan de Fuca. We were in second place overall this season behind them. We knew it was going to be a rough game and were prepared for the bumps and bruises that always seemed to happen against this team.

The ref blew his whistle for kickoff, and we started off by dominating and keeping possession. We were in JDF’s half for the majority of the time and had many shots on net. My team mate was battling for the ball, but all of the sudden the ref blew his whistle and warned my friend Brooke that if she continued to be too aggressive she would be yellow carded. Everyone was shocked because all she was doing was playing soccer. We continued to play, and one of my teammates was shoved over by a girl on Juan de Fuca. She came off the field in tears, and we all expected the shover to be yellow carded, and maybe even red carded. No card was put up, and everyone’s jaw dropped. We ignored this big issue and kept playing. We came off the field, walking proud, for half time.

As the next half started, we started losing our touch but were still dominating. Our best mid was knocked off her feet and had to be carried off of the field. A short time after, one of the strikers fell, and hurt her hamstring, and might have even torn it. We started falling apart. We had five girls that had ran off the field in tears. We were almost out of subs. The ref was obviously favoriting the opposing team. We weren’t able to stop three goals from shooting into our net and were losing hope. We finally got the ball out of our end, and I carried it up the field, beating all the defenders. I crossed the ball to my teammate, and she shot it into the bottom left. Just as we had gotten more motivated to win, the ref blew the final whistle.

Even though we lost, this was the best my team had ever played. Even though at some points we started panicking and were falling apart because the game wasn’t going in our favor, we never once stopped trying. We gave it 110%, and that was enough for me. It’s one thing to lose when you didn’t give it your all, but when you give it your all plus more, it almost feels like a win. Sure we were really upset that we wouldn’t be moving ahead to the finals, but we kept our heads held high and marched off the field and I have never been more proud to be a part of this team.

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Should Judged Sports Be In The Olympics?

A couple weeks ago in my communication skills class, we started learning about debating. We now have chosen a debate topic, and a partner to be on your team. In this post, I will be talking about mine.

Affirmative 

“Judged Sports Should Not Be In The Olympics”

I believe that judged sports should not be in the Olympics for many reasons. Firstly, there is a chance there could be favouritism regardless of how a competitor did. You can never really know if there was any bribery involved, or if maybe a participant and a judge were long lost friends, the possibilities are endless and that could stop the participants from receiving the medal they deserve. An example of the unfair scoring is when U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman completed her routine on the balance beam during the individual finals Tuesday, she hugged her coach and stared at the scoreboard, waiting to see whether she had done enough to medal. When the score finally flashed, a nervous Raisman became disappointed. “Oh, no!” her coach, proclaimed as he spotted the eerily familiar results. She had landed in fourth place – again – and just shy of the medal stand for the second time in the Olympics. What happened next would again thrust the judges, athletes and coaches into a heated debate over Olympic scoring. As Raisman tried to hold back her disappointment, shouts came from the crowd. U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi, her husband, Bela (who is no longer associated with Team USA but is a constant fixture), and vice president of USA women’s gymnastics Kathy Kelly shouted and motioned for Brestyan to file a protest. They believed that the judges hadn’t accurately tabulated her difficulty score, specifically the connections between a few of her elements on the beam. Having a judge causes a lot of unneeded stress. That is why I do not think that judged sports should be in the Olympics. Another example of when judging has gone wrong is when two dedicated Canadian figure skaters went to the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. They had an amazing routine, besides a small slip up at the end that wasn’t big enough for the judges to take points off. They ended up winning a silver medal, but everyone was suspicious because the Russian winners made an obvious technical error, and didn’t do as well as the Canadians. After lots of investigating, people found out that the French judge, “Marie-Reine Le Gougne” had been pressured by the French skating organization to vote for the Russian pair no matter how they did. She felt like the Canadians should have won, but was being bullied into voting for the Russians. If there weren’t judged sports in the Olympics, there wouldn’t be that kind of issue. In conclusion, I do not think judged sports should be in the Olympics for many reasons.  

Australia

Seventeen days. Nine planes. Four boats. A whole lot of walking. This was our lives for two and a half weeks and all the travel and early mornings were defiantly worth it.

Melbourne. Our first sight of Australia. A city full of amazing architecture, and thousands of people. The cities rapid weather changes greatly resembled home. We spent a lot of our time in Melbourne travelling by tram, or bus to explore other parts besides downtown-where we were staying. On our third day in Oz, we hopped on a tour bus to the ultimate Australian wildlife experience. We went to an animal sanctuary where we got to feed uncaged animals. Later that day, we went to Phillip Island and watched nature in action. Every night on this island, tiny penguins make a long journey to their huts (that were built to keep their species from going extinct). We were watching hundreds of flightless birds swim up from the water to shore, and continue walking for a long, long time. It was something spectacular.

Byron Bay. This was surely my favourite destination on our trip. The little beach town, where everybody walked around in swimsuits and no shoes was a very interesting culture we weren’t exactly used too, but quickly adapted. My favourite moment on this leg of the trip was when my brother and I were sent to go get coffee for the parents on Christmas morning in the pouring rain. The rain was actually painful. We came back, (drenched-thanks mom and dad) and opened our presents. I would certainly go back to Byron Bay again.

The Whitsundays (Airlie Beach). This town is a little bit more of a tourist town-due to the Great Barrier Reef only hours away-but was quite beautiful. The view from our hotel of the marina was amazing, especially when the sun was setting. My favourite part in Airlie, was taking a long boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef. I saw fish with every colour in the rainbow. It was like I was watching National Geographic, and had to remind myself a couple times that this was real. Airlie Beach was overall pretty amazing.

Our last stop-Sydney. The Opera House, Manly Beach, The Harbour Bridge, and Rose Bay were where many of our sightings happened, but I think we can all agree that New Years Eve was stunning. When else were we going to spend New Years here. The food lines may have been long (two and a half hours…) but it was worth it to have such an amazing view of the fireworks flying above the Harbour Bridge. I also really enjoyed Manly Beach, it reminded me of Melbourne and Byron- a beachy yet urban town- and I loved it. As well as Byron Bay it was my favourite destination.

Overall this trip was quite the experience, and I enjoyed every second of it. Australia is the place to go.

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The Giving Tree Reflection

“Once there was an old tree…” That is where it all began. The 1964 classic, winning many awards, has captured the minds of old, and young people. This amazing children’s book, The Giving Tree, is Shel Silverstein’s most popular book, and one of the most popular children’s books ever. Today, I will be talking about the most important virtue and morals found in this book.

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For those of you who don’t know,
The Giving Tree is a book about a tree who happily gives what she can to a young boy. First, she gives him shade. Then apples. She even lets him carve initials into her. As the boy grows up, he needs more. So he takes her branches and eventually cuts down her trunk. At that point, the tree is alive, but nothing but a stump, yet the boy, now an old man, still needs more.

While unconditional love is a wonderful thing, if you give too much you may lose yourself completely. That is one of the most important messages this book gave to me. Some say the tree was a ‘parent’ figure in the boy’s life. Most parents will give and give and many parents would be willing to give their lives for their children. In the end, as long as the kids appreciate the parents, they are happy. But, in the book, it never says that the boy said thank you. The tree obviously felt happiness come from giving, even if she wasn’t appreciated. Would the tree have been even happier if the boy said thank you?                                 IMG_3256

The boy spent years of his life using the tree, without showing enough appreciation. My parents both work full-time jobs, that a lot of the time results in them being busy and away a lot. Because of that I get to go to a school like this, always have a plate full of colorful food, and a roof over my head. Even though there are dinners when we aren’t all together, I say thank-you. Did the boy not realize that not all people have their own giving trees?

The boy wants money. The boy wants a house. The boy wants a boat. He keeps coming back, asking for all these things and the tree provides them. Did the boy really need all them all? No. Finding the difference between needs and wants can be tricky, but learning to do so is one of the most important things you can teach yourself. When I’m in stores, especially sports related store, I usually want to buy everything. I want it all, but do I really need it all? As disappointed as I may have been, I didn’t need new cleats or a new soccer ball. Wanting is not needing, and that is an important thing to learn.

This story could be interpreted about abusing our environment. Our forests could be the ‘giving trees’, and the companies that use the wood could be the ‘boy’. The only difference, the ‘giving trees’ (forests) are not happy, and the ‘boy’ (companies) will eventually die because there is no more resources to survive off of, or in the companies cases, make money off of. Is this how this story is supposed to be interpreted?

There’s often nothing that can bring more joy than trying to make someone else happy- and even if someone never gives back, and never seems to care for you, you should keep on doing what makes them happy, no matter how imbalanced the relationship is.” What if I rephrase this, There’s often nothing that can bring more joy to the Giving Tree, than trying to make the boy happy- and even if the boy never gives back, and never seems to care for the tree, the tree should keep on doing what makes them happy, no matter how imbalanced the relationship is.” This quote is trying to say that it is okay that the boy treated the tree like dirt.  Is it okay if both ends of the relationship are happy? I would say that it is not okay. I would not let somebody use me, then leave me, for decades. But, everybody has different opinions, and some people may agree with the statement that it is okay if both ends of the relationship are happy, but one end is getting harmed.

“And after a long time the boy came back again.

“I am sorry, Boy,” said the tree, “but I have nothing left to give you-

My apples are gone.”

“My teeth are too weak for apples,” said the boy.

“My branches are gone,” said the tree.

“You cannot swing on them-“

“I am too old to swing on branches,” said the boy.

“My trunk is gone,” said the tree.

“You cannot climb-“

“I am too tired to climb,” said the boy.

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.

“I wish that I could give you something… but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry…”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”

“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,

“well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”

And the boy did.

And the tree was happy.”

In the conclusion, the boy was very self-centered. He was selfish. The tree, however, was kind and patient. She was selfless. Are you going to be the Giving Tree or the boy?

A Chapter Closed

For the past seven years of my life, I have played Violin. The next years of my life may change a bit now.

A couple nights ago, my family and I sat at the dinner table. We were discussing that if I want to quit violin, I have to tell my Violin Teacher, Kathryn tonight.  I was supposed to tell her a month ago, but kept putting it off. I felt like I was letting her down. I felt like I was letting my mom’s parents down because of how much they loved to here me play.  I felt like I was letting my strings teacher down because I was the concert master in our strings class. After a long talk with my parents, I gathered up the courage to make that phone call. When Kathryn answered, I explained. “School isn’t becoming a priority and violin was just making me stressed out.” I said. Kathryn apologized. I felt like I should have been the one apologizing.  

The last two years I have spent with Kathryn were amazing. The lessons were fun! A lot of my friends couldn’t understand how I survived an hour and a half lesson twice a week when they couldn’t stand an hour long strings class. But when exams were coming up, and soccer tournaments, and track races, I lost it. I didn’t practice for the recital. I took my tiredness, frustration, and stress out on violin. It could’ve been soccer or track, but it was violin. 

In the end, I felt like a wight had been lifted off my shoulders. I spent a lot of time thinking of what I was going to say to her. I’m glad I told Kathryn, and not my parents because in my life at some point I will have to let people down, and this was good practice.  IMG_1868IMG_2547IMG_2841IMG_3184

Grade Six Added To My Memories

Grade six. The year that you go from being the oldest, big kids of junior school, to the little babies of middle school. Middle School. Last summer, it seemed like the two scariest words ever. However, I quickly learned that all those stereotypes that “Middle School is the Worst Years of my Life” kind of thing is all a lie. This year was actually one of my best years at school I have ever had. In this post, I will be writing about the highlights of this year.

The first day of school. The day when all my questions I had formed over the summer about this new school were answered. Who are my teachers? What are lockers like? Who is in my homeroom? What happens if you are late to a class? I was very curious, but at the same time more nervous than I every have been. When I took my first step out the car door, and into the pool of uneasy grade sixes, I felt a sensation of home. These are my friends, it will be okay. Then, the WEB leaders showed up. WEB stands for Where Everybody Belongs. Over the course of the year, a group of Grade Eights WEB leaders helped us “Weblings” or “Sixies” feel more welcome. That first day we spent with them, learning our ways around the new campus. That day was the day I first step foot into a place that seemed foreign to me, but now feels like home.

Track. I have always loved to run, but never have taken it seriously, as in joining a track club or train every day. I have always known I am good at running, but never knew I was good enough to come in the top three for every race I ran, qualify for the Island Championships for every event I did, and break two Island records. The events I ran in for the qualifiers were the 400m, 1200m, 800m, and 100m. Overall in the qualifiers, I came first in the 800m, second in the 1200m, third in the 100m, and first in the 400m. Sadly, we were only allowed to choose three events to participate in.  I chose the 400m, 1200m, and the 800m.  Finally, after restless nights, The Island Championships came.  The 1200m race. This is my favourite race.  I ended up winning that race by 50m and broke the record by eight seconds. Next race, the 800m.  I won that one as well. After a lunch break, I had my 400m race. A short one lapper that most people can’t quite sprint the whole way, but I can. I won that race by 100m. This years track season was quite the accomplishment for me, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my fantastic coach and teacher, Mrs. McQueen.

They always make the students choose a favourite class and teacher at the end of each term in our “Student Survey”. Every single time I chose the same teacher. My Humanities teacher, Mrs. Lee. I don’t exactly know why I like her so much, but she treats us as friends as much as she treats us as students. She always wants our opinion on issues in the world, or even in our classroom. I enjoyed every millisecond I spent in that classroom, even when we were getting scolded for talking when we weren’t supposed to. This is why Mrs. Lee was my favourite teacher this year.

The Wizard of Oz was quite the experience for me this year. I have performed before, such as the opera last year, but this was a whole lot different as there were only 40 kids in the Opera, and over 250 in the musical. If you want to read more about The Wizard of Oz, click here.

This post was pretty difficult to write, as this past year has been really interesting. I can’t wait for Grade Seven!

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Closing Ceremonies!
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Me winning the 400m
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Choir Concert
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Field Hockey
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Soccer Trip to Vancouver!
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Strings Concert! (I’m the Concert Master)
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Me and my munchkin friends, we look a lot happier than we really are, it was hot in the costumes…
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Book Battle!


The Wizard of Oz 2015

As some of you may know, the SMUS Middle School has recently put on a production of “The Wizard of Oz” I’m sure some of you are already thinking, “Oh, its probably just a little play put on in the school gym with cute little costumes..”. Well, you are wrong. We preformed at the McPherson Theatre, had over 200 cast members, 50+ backstage crew members, 30 set painters (including me), 15 foot high sets, amazing costumes, Fog Machines, A full on orchestra, and much more. This production was put on bye the same director as the Gypsy Baron, the opera I did last year.

I was cast as a Munchkin and a Poppy. I know these weren’t very big roles but they both serve a very important part in the play. The Munchkins are the first glimpse of Oz, and the Poppies were a major delay in Dorothy’s hunt for Emerald City.  There were a lot of munchkins (about 60), and some of them were too tall to be on their knees (Dorothy was quite short…) the “too tall” kids were put in the houses that were 6 feet in the air, we popped our heads out and surprised everyone!

What I enjoyed the most, was probably that suspense when I was lying down on the bridge the “too tall” munchkins were during the Munchkin scene, trying as hard as I possibly could to not show any of myself while hiding behind the houses, waiting for the queue to pop my head out and smile the biggest, cheesiest smile ever. I love being on stage, and being able to be myself, through a different character. What I love about acting is that you aren’t judged about who you are, because you aren’t your real self.

What I didn’t enjoy during the production is really difficult to choose, because the whole thing was so much fun! But if i had to choose, it would be the endless repeats of the scenes I was in. It may have been two scenes, but I can recite those two scenes from memory now!

I loved this production. I became friends with people I may never have ever had a conversation with, and met some amazing people that helped make this production receive raving reviews. I learned how to die gracefully. I learned how to smile a really big smile. I am grateful that I go to a school where things like this isn’t only thought of, they happen and we have our Middle School Broadway show. Mr. Frater, the director had quite the courage, brains, and heart to spend five months preparing us, and teaching us our lines and character traits. Arabella, the choreographer spent hours, and hours choreographing the dance routines (especially for the almost professional grade eight dancers), and teaching them to us. These people are amazing. I know that working with teens and tweens is pretty hard, but they make it seem easy.

I really enjoyed this production and can’t wait for two years! (To see more photos click here)

IT'S A TWISTER
IT’S A TWISTER
Glinda and Dorothy
Glinda and Dorothy
Munchkin Land!
Munchkin Land!
Me in my house
Me in my house
Tin Man Scene
Tin Man Scene
Alive Poppies...
Alive Poppies…
Dead Poppies!
Dead Poppies!