CBU Doesn’t Care if Your Socks Are Uniform

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 11.41.38 AMAs a graphic design and digital media student, a small fraction of my studies is devoted to the art of photography and digital editing. Craving more of it, I enrolled this semester in a brand new Commercial Photography class, where every few weeks I am assigned a new project having to do with an advertisement of some sort.

This past week, I brought my younger sister and cousin to school with me for a night so that they could model for my Saran Wrap campaign ad. Needless to say, we had a great time! While I left the experience with many wonderful memories, something that my cousin mentioned while in chapel on Monday has left a mark in my mind.

While in chapel, before the service began, she began telling me about a couple of the colleges she had been looking into. She definitely has a few years to think about it, so I applauded her initiative so early on. After listening to her list of UC schools, I asked, “Have you thought about any private schools?”

She laughed a little and shook her head as though it were an obvious answer, “No, definitely no private schools.”

In all honesty, her response had me taken aback. As I was soon to find out, though, my cousin’s understanding of a “private school” was that they are all uptight, uniformed and strict. She wanted to go somewhere where she could excel academically but also enjoy the uniqueness of a college social life.

So, I set to work.

Now let me be clear, I understand that private school is not the best route for everyone. Certainly, for many reasons, it was the best choice for me and my academic pursuits, but I am not everybody.

Regardless, I think that every high school student should have the benefit of a proper understanding of every option available to them when choosing a university. So over the next day, I was sure to show my cousin every in, out, wall and door that illustrates CBU’s well-rounded offerings. (Actually at one point, she poked fun at my enthusiasm and pointed out a rock and its supposed significance).

CBU teaches humility, not an understanding of uptight religion. CBU endorses plenty of room for students to make their own decisions and grow through that process of independence, rather than being overbearing and strict.  And, most importantly to some, CBU really doesn’t care whether your socks are uniform or not. In fact, CBU encourages God-given individuality and the decision to stray from “worldly” norms.

Certainly, there are a few “private schools” out there that may be considered uptight, uniformed and strict, but CBU is not one of them, and I made it my mission to help her understand that during her stay. And given her state of awe by the end of our time together, I would say that I succeeded!

All About an Email

Last Friday was the big reveal for student leadership applicants. By 5 p.m., all of the university offices offering positions sent out emails either congratulating you on your new job or thanking you for your interest. I had been waiting for this email for a long time, and each day leading up to that Friday added a little more doubt in my mind. I had to know, but at the same time I just wanted to forget about it.

Now I am not the kind of guy who stresses about homework assignments or worries about what they’re serving in the caf for dinner. If I have a week booked with projects, lab reports, ADC hours, blogs and intramural soccer games, I tend not to freak out. It’s not that I am immune to anxiety or naive about my time commitments. I just know that I need to do, plan out what I should accomplish each day, and get it done. That may involve some skipped meals and late night studying, but at this point I can push myself without thinking too much about it.

With my apparent lack of nerves or ability to feel stress, it doesn’t make sense why I would worry about receiving an email. There are a few things, however, that could explain it. The first was how much I had been talking with my friends about becoming an RA next year. I’ve been looking at the job ever since my freshman year when I met my dorm RA, Mike Teruel, almost two years ago. It was crazy how one night he could keep the hall laughing with the funniest stories and then the next convict us with a solid Bible study. He was the RA, but everyone saw him as a solid friend and role model. I respected him so much for that, and I knew that I wanted to do the same. I applied for and accepted the FOCUS Leader position for last fall and really enjoyed that experience, but now I felt ready for the next step. Again, though, I talked it up with my friends leading up to the reveal day as if I already had the job which only made me want it even more. The second reason I felt worried was from the group processing night. I wrote about this before, but to review I ended up missing the first series of RA group interviews due to the fact that I caught the flu and threw up all over the parking lot as I was walking to said interviews. That set me back right from the beginning. Luckily enough, my immune system pulled through the week after during my individual interview. The interview ran smoothly, and I felt good about it, but I still couldn’t believe that I missed essentially half of the interview process. I just knew that would come back to haunt me.

Friday finally came around, and for once I was quiet about any RA talk. I just needed to wait for that email and feel good about whatever it might say. Unfortunately, I served food in the ADC that evening and wouldn’t be able to check my email until my 10 minute break, which could be early or late into my shift. I served up meatball gyros and watched for anyone I knew who applied for leadership, as well, to ask if they received the email yet. Then I learned that it was sent out early, and I couldn’t handle not knowing. My friends came up to me to say how they got FOCUS Leader and RA and Community Life Intern, but all I could respond with was, “Do you want extra tzatziki sauce?”  Finally, my manager let me take my break, and I rushed over to a table and pulled out my phone. Some of my friends saw me, too, and came over to see the result. The pressure was on, and my phone kept failing to connect to the internet. My 10 minute break was moving fast, too, but luckily my girlfriend’s phone was equipped to deliver the results. I found the email from Res Life and scrolled through it without reading any of the text. For those first few seconds, I didn’t want to know. My eyes glazed over, and I was content with that. I had come this far, however, so I refocused and read the words. The email welcomed me to the Residence Life staff as a new North Colony RA, and I was speechless. My friends thought I was disappointed that I didn’t get Smith Hall, but I was quite the opposite. I honestly didn’t think I would get RA of anything. I walked back to my station still shocked, and then the excitement started creeping in. I would be an RA next year, and now I can talk about it with full certainty. Next year is going to awesome.

Sing to the King

There is one thing I have learned while being in choir. When you constantly have to sing for concerts on weekends, you are bound to get tired of the constant singing and traveling. Being apart of the University Choir and Orchestra has been great, but all of these concerts have made me look forward to a break.

After this weekend, UCO will have completed nine concerts in 15 days. Granted five of those concerts happened the weekend of mini tour, but, regardless, it is a lot of concerts in a short amount of time. I was ready for a break, but these concerts reminded me why we are doing this.

At both concerts I had family and friends in attendance, which means I was able to have good conversation with people who were in the audience and to see how they were affected by the concert. Everyone I talked to loved the time of worship that night.

This reminded me that we are singing for a greater purpose. We are not just singing to show people how great we are but to show people how great our King is. Our goal is to lead the audience in a time of worship. We have the privilege of partaking in a time of worship every weekend, and for the past few weekends we had the privilege of doing it more than once.

No matter how many concerts we do, we are doing them for a greater purpose. It is a great reminder to have when life is full of concerts. Entering into a time of worship each time we are in choir is a privilege that we are given and it is a privilege we should take advantage of to the fullest.

Procrastination and the God Badge

There is a reason I do not listen to lyrical music while doing homework.

I adore music as much as anyone, and believe the perfect song enhances any moment. I have learned that I cannot simply hear a song without attentively listening to it and making its lyrics my own thoughts. When music plays, I tend to hone in on the poetry within the sounds and lose track of what I happen to be doing.

This week, in an act of professional procrastination I turned on a Spotify station while trying to tackle some homework. I really should have known this wasn’t conducive to my ideal study atmosphere, but I found some way to justify it. While I was in the midst of typing out a thesis statement, Jon Foreman’s voice inconveniently propelled itself out of my speakers, grabbed me by the face and demanded my full attention. For the next three to five minutes, I knew that my homework would just have to wait.

The words that captured and interrupted my thought were “Put the God badge down and love someone. / Love alone was yours to carry, you can lay your gavel down… / There is no us or them, only people you do or don’t understand / Just put your God badge down and love someone.”

Talk about a pause for conviction.

The song I stumbled upon was the aptly named “God Badge” by Fiction Family. Jon Foreman heads up the duo in this song, and as we know from his solo work and work with Switchfoot, he is a smart lyricist who proves to exhort followers of Christ to a more reckless abandon in pursuit of Him.

This song directly addresses the command for Christians to lay down their pride and personal agendas and carry out the purposes to which we are called. I can only imagine Jesus saying something similar to the Pharisees who shunned opportunities for service to make more room for themselves on their pedestals. He gave his life to serve and save other people, and he made disciples whom he asked to do the same. Jesus proved that he cared little for the outward appearance and shiny visage of religiosity. He looked inward and found worth in those who loved and served purely for his Father’s namesake.

I’ll confess that after this song was over, I immediately hit repeat, grabbed a journal and spent time in thought rather than finishing my homework right away. Sometimes this is necessary, and schedules occasionally have to be modified and interrupted.

While looking through the Gospels and dwelling on these lyrics, I thought of how perfectly these ideas apply to events occurring in my life at the moment. I’m in the midst of experiencing ISP training, and my team and I have spent a lot of time recently focusing on the purposes of our trip. We have come to the conclusions that all people are image bearers of God and are, therefore, sacred beings. While we are going to experience a completely different culture, we recognize that the differences are not important, and we are bent on showing the non partiality of Christ through the way that we shamelessly love on them. There really are no boundaries in the Kingdom, and all should experience the love that Christ showed us. This is something to apply in our everyday lives as we go through work, class, and whatever else, as well as to bring over to an overseas experience.

Music this week served not only as a time consumer for me, but a priceless reminder to carry throughout my day. While life has picked up and commitments are demanding, remember to treat others as sacred and love them the way Jesus showed us. Thanks for sticking with me, readers. I’ll see you next time.

Smith vs Smith

            With the arrival of spring semester comes the one men’s freshman dorm event that the whole school can be a part of: Smith vs Smith. No event quite focuses around the competitive fervor of freshman males battling in a series of challenges quite like Smith vs Smith. The premise of the competition is simple: CBU’s Smith Hall vs APU’s Smith Hall in a contest of five events that determines the who is best. In the last four years, hundreds of CBU freshman males have faced the trials that await the brave of heart. I stood among the chosen to represent the rightful Smith Hall only a year ago, and from my experiences competing, I knew that I would have to be there to cheer our boys on.

Every year the location switches, with last year falling on APU’s side. I remember the bus ride over with many of the guys rocking blue and white face paint and a number of freshly cut mohawks. Leading up to my year, APU held the winning record of 3-0, which increased our drive to win even more. I can’t describe how much built up anticipation resonated through the halls leading up to that fateful day. Our slogan became “All Streaks Must End” and we rallied behind those words with every event. To keep the focus on this year’s Smith vs Smith, I’ll keep my heroic war stories to a minimum and just say that after several hard fought battles the CBU Smith team finally added a victory to our record. We hoisted the cup and celebrated throughout the night, psyched to know that our year finally added a number to the score.

It’s not hard to believe, then, why I needed to watch the Smith Hall team compete at home. All five of the events this year (Dodgeball, Buck Buck, Spike Ball, Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros, Soccer) were played out on the front lawn which gave us fans plenty of room to watch. I wore my Smith Hall Champions shirt from last year and joined the group of veterans on the sidelines for the first event. Dodgeball is every man’s sport, and this year’s action did not disappoint. Five teams from each side played against each other and after countless quick dodges and bullet throws, the APU side took the early lead winning three of the games. Buck Buck followed, which is all about technique. Ten bases lock on to each other in a line while the rest of the team takes turns running and jumping to stack on top. My experience with it left my head and lungs feeling crushed beneath the weight of too many freshmen, but for the victory I endured the hardships. Watching was a different feeling entirely, more of pity than pain. Surprisingly enough, the traditionally strong Buck Buck team from APU did not pull through this year giving CBU the win. Spikeball replaced ping pong from last year which worked out better since the game is meant to be played outside. Unfortunately, even with our shouts and chants, APU took the win after several drawn out rounds. The Super Smash Bros competition took place on two inflatable projectors at the far end of the field which doubled as a pizza break for many of the competitors. Smith Vs Smith wouldn’t be a freshman dorm competition without the inclusion of a video game, and Super Smash Bros delivered. Again, though, even with several great KO’s by a CBU Kirby, APU added to their increasing lead.

At this point it would all come down to the last event: Soccer. I couldn’t help but analyze every detail of the match and, of course, wish that I was playing, too. APU scored early and CBU couldn’t mount a strong attack. The CBU Smith team put up a great fight, and the fans faithfully supported them throughout the games. The purpose of Smith vs Smith, however, is bring the two universities’ freshman together in healthy competition, and that’s exactly what happened. Winning is great, but just being there to experience the excitement of it all its just as good. Well done CBU Smith Hall.

Mini Tour 2014

This past weekend was packed with bus rides, concerts, and staying in strangers’ homes. This weekend was mini tour with the University Choir and Orchestra. What is mini tour, you ask? Mini tour is a weekend where UCO traveled to Arizona and put on a weekend of concerts. Mini tour is just a quick version of the two week tour the choir takes at the end of the school year, hence the name mini tour.

UCO left for Arizona on Friday morning, making only one lunch stop along the way for the five and a half hour drive. You may be thinking, five hours on a bus sounds awful. The ride really isn’t all that bad. Sure, sitting on a bus for hours can get uncomfortable but spending hours on a bus allows for many things to happen. I personally like to read when I am on the bus and since I finished all my homework before tour started I was able to do some reading for fun. With a heavy homework load I never get to do my own personal reading but hours on a bus allows me to finish almost finish two books. There are also movies that are played on the bus and a lot of sleeping going on, traveling is hard work.

Throughout the weekend we performed a total of five concerts: one on Friday, one of Saturday, and three on Sunday. Each concert was unique and incredible. We have the amazing opportunity to minister to a multitude of people, young and old. Some of my favorite memories come from the young members of the audience. From the little girl raising her hands to the little boy with his hands rested behind his head enjoying the concert.

At this point you are probably wondering where we stayed this entire weekend, especially since I mentioned something about strangers’ homes earlier. Well, during tour we stay in host homes. Families in the church volunteer to take in all of us. We are randomly paired off with other members of the choir and then randomly placed in a host home. We always joke that it is like we are being auctioned off. Getting placed into host homes is always slightly nerve racking because you never know who you are going to get.

During this tour I was blessed with two great homes. The first night I was with an extremely down to earth family that joked and laughed with us the entire night. The second night we ended up spending an extended amount of time with the family because our concert on Saturday was in the morning. That night my host family had planned a barbeque with four other families that allowed us to hang out with other members of UCO. Staying with host families also allows you to get to know other members of the choir better, which is always great.

Mini tour was a crazy, packed weekend. It was great getting to know people in the group better and getting away from campus for a few days.

The Best of the Best

There are several things in life that prove to round each of us out and make us who we are today. These things include defining moments and experiences as well as each interest and passion. Some of the biggest things to enrich and shape my outlook were astounding mentors, reading the Harry Potter series with my dad, discovering the unending goodness that is British literature and television and finding out that the world is much bigger than my small town had led me to believe.

Being a student at a university is one way that life expands and becomes all the more expansive. Since embarking on my ongoing journey at CBU, I’ve acquired more knowledge and experiences that have further enriched me and that I know I will look back on later and recognize as huge blessings. So, for my time thus far at CBU, here are snippets of the best of the best.

I learned that the world is (still) much bigger than I can imagine. I remember at first being astounded by the sheer number of genuine individuals I encountered. We all had a free pass to start fresh and come into our own. So many people from all over the place come here, and each one has a rich history and ongoing story to share. I find that each person I encounter has an unbelievable amount of depth to them, and this notion continues to strike me and inspire me daily. All people are sacred masterpieces – our job as believers is to treat them as such. This is something that can only be learned when immersed in a completely new environment, and university life has been so apt at doing so.

A Godly community reminds us of the only constant things. I found so many authentic Christ followers at this school; I wasn’t even sure that this many existed in one place, as I hadn’t seen anything like this type of community before. Plugging oneself into friendships, mentor relationships and group scripture studies is key to personal and spiritual growth. It reminds us that God is constant in an ever-changing world, and that he is the best thing we could strive for. Stumbling closer to his company and following him in service is so much more possible when done with others who are along for the ride. Share the difficulties, the heartache, the triumphs and exclamations of praise. Life is greatly enriched when it is shared.

I realized the importance of seeking out each and every opportunity. Education is a privilege, and one way to take full advantage of it is to extend your learning outside the classroom. Get to know your professors and keep up with them when class is over. They can cue you into all kinds of events and advice that will take your learning experiences farther than if you leave it all in class. It’s no surprise that we become more like those we surround ourselves with, and I tend to see the truth of this repeatedly over the past three years. Check out the clubs and the volunteer opportunities, and cling to those who share and deepen your interests.

As I have said countless times, we are at a time in life where the decisions we make now will come to shape us later on. The habits we build, relationships we make and opportunities we seek will affect us years beyond now, and it’s best to dig our wells as deeply as we can during this time. CBU has provided me with countless avenues of doing so, and I find the need to continue to invest more fully with each moment I have left. After all, life is short, but so much beauty can be packed in.

Get Out and Take Advantage, Lancers!

When I learned for the first time that a college student only has, on average, three hours of class every day, I definitely romanticized that to mean that they must have so much free time. In fact, I was almost worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill all of that time with productive activities.

Looking back now I say… ha ha ha.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about “my 18 pairs of shoes” – all of my different commitments inside and outside of school that keep me plenty busy. But as I’m learning, the average student at CBU has the opportunity to own 18 pairs as well, just within the school itself!

My Residence Assistant for example, is not only an R.A. but she is also a member of CBU’s worship team and works some hours in the International Center. I’ve heard a couple of people say, “I feel like I’ve seen her everywhere!” So opposed to what the rumors may say about limited on-campus jobs in college, CBU definitely offers a plethora of job opportunities to keep their students busy!

But if you’re not someone looking to work, there are so many other activities to keep students busy. If you’re an athlete, recreational sports teams are being formed all throughout the year for different sports and seasons. That’s a fantastic way to get out and meet people with similar interests as you! I just realized last week that I missed soccer signups, which was a definite bummer, but I’m sure I’ll be out to watch a few games!

If you wouldn’t necessarily consider yourself an athlete but enjoy working out and staying fit, the Rec Center could become your new home! My roommates and I have a magnet on our fridge with the daily classes offered by the Rec Center. Every day, at least once if not twice or three times, the center offers group classes such as spinning, and you can also request a personal trainer for no additional cost, who will work with you throughout the semester. All of these services are already included in tuition, so be sure to take advantage of them!

Perhaps you’re not job-hunting, an athlete or someone who particularly enjoys trips to the gym. Well, outside of all of these are CBU’s nearly constant social events. Just last Tuesday, ASCBU hosted a movie night out on the lawn to kick off elections for student offices. Students were invited to come watch “Monsters University” together, and stands were set up with coffee, popcorn and Krispy Kreme donuts! What better way to bond college students than to serve them food?

Also last week, Tower Hall hosted a spaghetti night for Valentine’s Day. Tables were set up out front on the Tower Hall lawn, students came dressed in formal wear to enjoy a fun meal together, and sweet Italian music filled the air. The ambiance was a beautiful spectacle to see!

Even outside of all of these are the academic and spiritual seminars CBU offers nearly every week. If students are looking to be further spiritually replenished after chapel, CBU often brings in speakers to give talks on faith-based subjects such as dating, manhood and womanhood, and so on. I receive emails nearly daily announcing yet another academic seminar of some sort, covering subjects such as choosing a major, finding internships in your field, balancing academics with your social life…

And, the list goes on, and on, and on.

No CBU student ever has any excuse to be bored. CBU keeps on its toes, every minute of every day, so that students will receive the best that this education and atmosphere have to offer. So, get out and take advantage, Lancers!

About the Twenties

I’ll be honest and say that lately, I’ve been feeling old. All too many mornings now begin with the consequences of waking up after a night of staying up an hour later than I should have – including a sore back, head and seeming inability to move. I also find my days filled with hurried trips from one place to another, hair a wreck and coffee stains on my jeans, unable to cram 24 hours of stuff into a short 14. Too often now, I find sleep is an unbelievable blessing, and my idea of a great time is a night in pajamas with a movie for company. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am beginning to feel legitimately beyond my years. I thought for certain this wouldn’t happen until much later in life, but I’m seeing symptoms of overstretching myself already.

Given all of this, I must say that being a 20-something has proven to be one of the biggest adventures for me thus far. As with any era, there are both perks and downsides. The perks include fresh passions, an ability to study what we love, and a world of possibilities. We have our entire lives ahead of us – which brings me to the responsibilities that can be daunting at times. With so much ahead, we constantly ask ourselves what we “should” be doing, or what we “can” or “cannot” manage. Life begins to move so much more quickly than it did before, and we may have a tendency to see this as a negative rather than a simple change that can be embraced. As my life continues on in a flurry of events, I’ve been reminded of the key elements that continue to make this time of my life so impacting.

  1. My parents really do have the answers. They are also unbearably cool. It is one thing to grow up knowing that parents care and are there to support you, but I’ve seen this so much more clearly upon entering college life. I got the chance to see my family this weekend, and I was reminded again of how much I can learn from the people that raised me. They have wisdom to offer and a constant willingness to talk me through any obstacles I may encounter. They’ve gone through this stage before and readily offer help because they want me to thrive. Blessings abound through these people on all levels – from spiritual and emotional support to choosing to buy the groceries for the month. Oh my word… such goodness.
  2. Post its and To Do Lists are my best friend. When life picks up, it becomes so hard to keep up on everything I need to. We juggle work, school, friends, chores, errands and whatever else life throws our way. All of this is so much more manageable if a few minutes are taken to write everything down. More gets accomplished when time is budgeted, and this leaves more room for peace of mind. Also, I am convinced there is no greater feeling than that of crossing an accomplished task off a list.
  3. Focusing on what is directly in front of me saves a world of trouble. Yes, life picks up and does not wait, whether we’re ready or not. Schedules are filled quickly, free time is limited and it’s easy to miss the ease of simplicity. I’ve noticed that the best way for me to gain it back and keep myself sane is to focus on the beauty of the here and now. When I do grab lunch with people, I invest fully in that time. I put homework, grocery lists and that exam I didn’t do very well on out of my head and try to share fully in the company I keep. This allows me to enjoy things more, so that I can study feeling refreshed and able to focus on what needs to be accomplished.

I know life won’t stay perpetually busy, but it does increase with the current times. While in this moment, it’s so helpful to remember that we’re not alone, this, like all things will pass, and there is still beauty and wisdom to be found in the midst of the time that seems to be constantly speeding up. Friends, we will make it, and it will be worth it. For now, invest fully, bless God, and enjoy the world he put us in.

Goals for a Goal

Intramural Co-ed Competitive Soccer. It’s strange to think that I’ve actually been anticipating this 2014 season ever since my first exposure to the league last year. Growing up in a third world Latino culture where every young boy is brainwashed to believe that they will lead their national team to the next FIFA World Cup, I can confidently say that soccer has always been a huge part of my life. I joined a team my freshman year with that same drive to represent Peruvian soccer to my best ability and bring glory to its name. After the first couple games, I realized just how unprepared I was to achieve such a dream. My classes conflicted with the game times, my team did not share my competitive vision and my “freshman 15” literally held me back from my peak performance. Now I made some great friendships through the team and had a blast playing each game and watching the finals, but I knew that next year would be different.

I started recruiting for intramurals early on, starting with my good friend Derek Kouns, who was the doubles ping pong partner I mentioned a few posts ago. He’s a solid defender and, with his helpful study sessions and late-night donut runs, easily became my co-captain. The rest of the team came together through the fall semester as I randomly brought up the idea to individuals who looked like they could kick a soccer ball. My main goal as a captain was to avoid becoming the annoying, ultra-competitive guy who only cared about winning. Obviously, I would like to someday hoist the Lancer Cup after a close final match, but that wasn’t why I joined intramurals. If I made someone on my team feel like they would rather be somewhere else, then I would have failed as a captain and friend. I like to play soccer and playing with others who are having a fun time makes it that much better.

After a captain’s meeting and receiving the Peruvian flag from Community Life, team Peru was ready to go. Our first game of the season was on Monday, and I was a bit nervous. Our team had practiced just once before the game and that was only with half of them. Derek had class, too, which left my defense lacking. I even showed up early just to find every other team that had a game at 3 p.m. already practicing. By kick off we had enough players to start, and I met two of them only minutes before. We were up against Ivory Coast, and, as I recall, they destroyed my team last year. Maybe this would be different.

And, surprisingly, it was completely different. In the first half, our team organized a strong defense and set up a few good through passes in the offense. Then early in the game, Cody Clark, our striker, took a throw in and threw it right at their keeper. The ball bounced off her finger tips and went right in the goal, followed by my shout of excitement. The ref quickly crushed my spirits when it was called a goal kick instead, and then Ivory Coast scored before half. Luckily for us, the call wasn’t final, and the head ref called the captains over at half time to discuss the call. According to the rules, it should have been a goal, and we were awarded the point which tied the game at 1-1. That psyched up the team for the next half, and it showed. Our offense turned up the pressure, and Austin Leonard, who I recruited simply because he wore Adidas sweat pants and an Arsenal FC jersey in the caf once, scored the deciding goal. Our defense held off the attack, but most of the credit goes to Taylor Parker for sure. She asked me if she could play goalie before I even knew her name, and she dominated. At one point it was a one-on-one situation between her and the opposing striker, and she showed no fear. I don’t think anyone else on our team would have committed to defending the goal at that point, but she accepted the shot and blocked it accordingly. MVP for sure.

Team Peru won the game 2-1, and we all felt excited about the season. I couldn’t have been more proud of my team. This could be the year…

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