essay on why i like to play basketball

Why I Love Basketball

I will never stop playing what i love —​ this sport that is my comforter, my teacher and my companion in life..

Why I Love Basketball

The squeak of the court, the swish of a shot, the smack of a block, the shared laughter of teammates — these moments and memories last forever. Ever since the 7th grade, basketball has been one of my favorite aspects of life. I’m not an incredible player, but it has never made a difference. I was easily the worst player on my team in middle school, yet it never changed how much I loved the sport. Endless hours, which were well spent, were put into my practice with the school team, with friends or just by myself. Be it an actual game, practice drills, or imagining I was actually a great player hitting a game winning shot, I would always use my spare time to play.

Even though I love every aspect of basketball, there has always been one part of it that sits as king above all the rest — playing a real game. Those who’ve played on a team know exactly what I’m talking about. There is absolutely nothing like the nerves you get right before a game, the hype that rises within you as you listen to your music during warm-ups and the rush of adrenaline as soon as that jump ball starts. Once the ball goes up, you know what’s about to go down. All that matters in that moment is playing the game.

Reflecting on all this, it becomes clear to me that I love basketball not because it’s a sport but because it represents so much more. It’s my release, the opportunity for me to just set aside any worries or troubles, even for a moment, and to focus on just playing my heart out in a game that brings me so much excitement and joy. I get connected to those I play with, not only growing closer with teammates but also developing respect for those I play against. Basketball forces me to trust my teammates, teaches me to be a team player and pushes me to get back up and keep playing, no matter how bad the score may be or how bad of a game I might have had. The next game can always be different.

Even with all the losses, the injuries and the frustrations that may arise when playing basketball, there remain endless memories of sheer happiness, joy, contentment. I wouldn't trade any of it away because it has made me who I am today. Without basketball, I wouldn’t have had the determination to keep moving forward, the opportunity to meet new people or the feeling of freedom from burdens and responsibilities. To imagine my life without this sport and all that comes with it would be impossible.

I could simply go on forever about the reasons why I love basketball, which I’m sure by now is pretty clear. I dread the day when my body can no longer handle running on the court or handling the ball, but until that day comes, I will never stop playing what I love — this sport that is my comforter, my teacher and my companion in life.

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100 reasons to choose happiness, happy moments to brighten your day.

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Many people often think that happiness can be found by creating the largest social media pool, trying to be someone that they are not in order to be accepted or even having the nicest car or the biggest house. But happiness does not come from these material or “fake” things. It comes from strong connections with people you love, having gratitude and consideration for the people around you and finding happiness in the most unexpected and often overlooked places.

Constantly reminding yourself that your happiness is one of the most important things and sometimes having to put your happiness first is something that should be happening every day. Personally, my happiness comes from thousands of things ranging from reading a book all the way to vacationing to the ocean and everything in between. Also, I find happiness in the happiness of others and seeing others in content, but this also sometimes means that I do not put my happiness first.

Everyone has their flaws and many people are like me—forgetting to put their happiness before others. Therefore, in order to give you just a simple idea of how easy it is to find happiness in the smallest of places, here are 100 reminders of happiness that surround you each and every day. This list also purposes for each of you to think of your own reminders that make you happy and to tell yourself that your happiness is important and that you should always find happiness in every situation in the most unexpected places.

  • You are loved by more than you could ever imagine.
  • You have a home.
  • Flowers are blooming around you.
  • Summer is closer than it has been all year.
  • You talked to someone you love today.
  • You are beautiful.
  • Listening to the rain hit the roof when you fall asleep.
  • Freshly mowed grass.
  • Watching the stars at night.
  • Someone in your life wants you to be happy.
  • You have food to eat and water to drink.
  • Chocolate is still existing.
  • There are dogs to pet and to cuddle with.
  • You are talented and have a special talent that no one else knows about.
  • Listening to music.
  • One Direction .
  • You are able to help someone.
  • Volunteering for a charity.
  • Sitting on a dock.
  • Taking pictures with your best friends.
  • Going to a cabin.
  • You have cute clothes to wear every day.
  • Someone said, “Hi” to you today.
  • Someone thinks you are the most important person in their life.
  • Someone looks up to you.
  • You have a job or some other commitment.
  • You believe in something.
  • Someone believes in you.
  • Listening to the birds chirping outside.
  • Finding a dandelion in the middle of a grassy lawn.
  • Starbucks is a thing.
  • You have or will see the Northern Lights.
  • Vacations or camping or nights out.
  • Spontaneous road trips .
  • You can do anything that you set your mind to.
  • You believe in someone else.
  • Warm, melty chocolate chip cookies.
  • You matter.
  • Chicken noodle soup when you are sick .
  • Grey’s Anatomy/One Tree Hill/Gossip Girl.
  • Freshly cleaned sheets.
  • You have dreams and goals .
  • You are inspiring .
  • You are inspired by something or someone else.
  • Bright colored daisies.
  • Reading your favorite book over and over again.
  • Coming home and changing into an over-sized sweatshirt and leggings.
  • Going out and dressing up.
  • But feeling confident in both.
  • Sleeping in on Sunday mornings.
  • Getting up to watch the sunrise.
  • Surprising someone or being surprised.
  • Art museums.
  • Good nights and good morning’s.
  • Laughing, laughing, laughing.
  • Making someone else laugh.
  • Board games.
  • Rainy days.
  • Sunny days.
  • You are vibrant and radiant.
  • Bare feet in the sand.
  • Highlighting quotes in your favorite books .
  • Seeing others happy.
  • Seeing couples holding hands.
  • Your mother, father, sister, brother, grandpa , grandma, aunt, uncle, cousins, etc.
  • Putting your music on shuffle and having your favorite song come on first.
  • Did I mention One Direction?
  • Oh, and Beyoncé.
  • Saltwater and sea shells.
  • Loving something or someone with the strongest passion.
  • Being the only one on the court/field/track/ice.
  • Feeling invincible.
  • Adrenaline.
  • Conquering one of your fears.
  • Listening to someone’s heartbeat.
  • Talking to someone about their favorite things or memories.
  • Disney movies.
  • God , Jesus and your faith.
  • Girls’/Guys’ night.
  • Butterflies.
  • Airports and airplanes.
  • Acing a hard test or failing and learning from it.
  • Sleeping with the window open.
  • Being there for someone no matter what.
  • Trusting someone.
  • You are the best at something.
  • You are someone’s best friend .
  • Chocolate still exists.
  • You can move mountains.
  • Your happiness is the most important.

Remember The True Meaning of Christmas

“where are you christmas why can’t i find you”.

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas . Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.

What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ . Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.

The whole point of presents is not to be about receiving, it is about giving. Giving to those we love to put a smile on their face. But in today's society, it has become all about the materialistic receiving of gifts. People scoff at a homemade gift, and long for a PlayStation or another expensive purse that they don't really need. We live in an age where 3 year olds have iPads, and teenagers stare more at a screen than their actual surroundings. We are constantly entertained, and therefore forget to acknowledge the reason this holiday was created to begin with. Gifts tend to be exchanged rather than given and expected rather than hoped for. We need to be reminded that a gift is a privilege and a blessing, not a right. Jesus gave his life without expecting anything in return, so why can't we give a coffee mug without expectations of receiving a present in return?

Recently, Taylor Swift tried to trademark the term “Swiftmas.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Taylor Swift as much as the next girl, but she is no Jesus Christ. Taking the Christ out of Christmas takes the meaning out of the holiday. I understand that she is using the term for her giving presents to some of her fans, but that makes her Santa, not Jesus. Her generosity is admirable, but she is making it about herself, rather than the giving spirit.

It is sad to me that people feel that something as menial as a Starbucks cup represents Christmas, and the religious, the Christian, part of Christmas is completely disregarded. No holiday should be about a coffee cup, and if it is to you, you might want to reevaluate your morals. Who cares if the cup doesn't say "Merry Christmas?" December 25th will still come, you will still see the Chreasters (people who only go to church at Christmas and Easter) at the Christmas Eve service, and you will still be able to celebrate a wonderful holiday with your wonderful family.

Exploring the Best Dog Breeds: 11 Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Shine

Named for their heart of gold.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my dog . I am constantly talking about my love for her. I attribute many of my dog's amazing qualities to her breed. She is a purebred Golden Retriever, and because of this I am a self-proclaimed expert on why these are the best pets a family could have. Here are 11 reasons why Goldens are the undisputed best dog breed in the world.

1. They are beautiful!!

If you don't know a thing about Goldens, you at least know how beautiful they are. Their shiny, long-haired coat is a distinct trait that ranges from a very white, cream color all the way to deep red. Their dark noses, fluffy ears, and deep brown eyes make them a sight to fall in love with.

2. They are extremely gentle.

It is a true fact that a Golden Retriever can hold an egg in its mouth without breaking it. Their nurturing nature and calm demeanor is a very comforting quality that makes Goldens a joy to be around.

3. Goldens are very easy to train.

While they may be stubborn dogs , they are incredibly easy to train. This is mostly because they are people pleasers at heart ! (And they'll do anything to earn themselves a little treat for being a good doggy!)

4. They love to cuddle!

This may come as a shock to Goldens, but they are not lap dogs. While they may like to think its okay to lay on their human's lap and cuddle, they don't realize that eighty pounds of pure fluff can be a little harder to cuddle with. Even if they can be huge, cuddling with Goldens is worth the pain.

5. Goldens are America's favorite family pet.

Golden Retriever's make the best family pet. They are very patient and loving with babies and kids, and their love knows no bounds. Every person in the house is apt to adore their Golden, and their Golden is just as likely to love their family as well.

6. They love the water!

Because they carry a heavy coat, the summer heat can be hard on Goldens. As a result, they are quite the swimmers. They love to play around in the water and feel the cool sensation on their long hair, as well as dropping all their toys in the pool and making you dive to the deep end to get them.

7. They are obviously very photogenic.

As you can see, Golden Retrievers are very photogenic. They love to be the center of attention, and always want recognition. That means trying to get a great shot for the 'gram won't be a problem.

8. Goldens are super playful.

Any time is play time! Goldens are professional fetchers. Whether it's a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, field hockey ball, soccer ball, or bowling ball-a golden will try to play with it. Except, sticks, leaves and other animals serve as great distractions to the great game of fetch.

9. There is no argument that they are the CUTEST puppies.

Golden Retriever puppies are essentially balls of fluff with big brown eyes that scream "hug me". The little rascals will get into anything, but its SO hard to say no with that little puppy dog face!

10. Golden are extremely loyal.

Goldens will lay by your side when you're sick in bed, they'll bark when a strange car pulls into your driveway, they'll even cry when you arrive home from the grocery store. No other dog shows so much affection and loyalty as a Golden.

11. A Golden Retriever will always love you more than you love them!

To any Golden Retriever, you are their whole life, their whole world. They live for when you come home from work/school, and they grieve when you leave. Golden's are a gift sent from God as a reminder that there is good in the world-in the form of your dog.

Boyfriend's Christmas Wishlist: 23 Best Gift Ideas for Her

Here are the gifts i would like to ask my boyfriend for to make this season unforgettable..

Recently, an article on Total Sorority Move called 23 Things My Boyfriend Better Not Get Me For Christmas , was going around on social media. I hope the author of this was kidding or using digital sarcasm, but I am still repulsed and shocked by the lack of appreciation throughout this article. I would like to represent the girlfriends out there who disagree with her standpoint -- the girlfriends who would be more than happy to receive any of these gifts from their boyfriends.

1. Bath And Body Works

A girl could never have enough lotion or perfume. You could never go wrong with some Bath and Body Works.

2. An engagement ring

Well, obviously, we're too young to get married, but if you bought me an expensive engagement ring, I would never ever expect you to spend any more money on me for an extra gift. 😉 🙊

3. A promise ring

How could I get mad at you for getting me a ring to show our love for each other? 💍

4. Any sort of ring

Any sort of ring is expensive and thoughtful and I would most certainly wear it with the utmost appreciation.

5. Lingerie

Not only are bras and underwear expensive, BUT any guy who braves going into Victoria's Secret by themselves deserves an award. LOL! 👀

6. Any kind of exercise gear

Lululemon , Nike , and Under Armor , are even more expensive than lingerie. It's not cheap being a girl who lives in yoga pants. 🧘🏻♀️

7. ...or any kind of clothing at all

I get you clothes sometimes, so it would be perfectly reasonable if I got some from you too. Again, any guy who braves any type of dreadful clothing store deserves an award too.

8. Chocolate

A girl can never have too much chocolate, and a guy who gets a girl chocolate obviously knows the way to her heart . 🍫

9. Anything that can't be exchanged for store credit

I love everything about your style, and since we even have similar style, I am sure I would love whatever you pick out.

10. A gift card

A Chipotle or even Starbucks gift card and I am yours forever.

11. Something handmade

How adorable, nice, thoughtful and utterly fantastic it would be if you gave me something handmade. It would surely be a present I would never forget and keep forever.

Walking to class in winter is never fun, more gloves would be much appreciated.

13. Fake earrings

To be honest, I would much rather you get me fake earrings than spend way too much on diamonds.

14. A picture

Any picture you would give me, whether it's of us or you or a place we've been, I would hold very close to my heart.

15. A watch

Again, why would I be mad if you got me a watch? Another perfectly reasonable gift that I would be more than happy to receive.

Michael Kors Women's Pyper Stainless Steel Quartz Watch with Stainless-Steel-Plated Strap, Rose Gold , 16 (Model: MK3897)

16. Anything you also bought your ex

How would I know every present you got for an ex-girlfriend? You may think we know. Trust us, we don't.

17. Tiffany

Another expensive brand that I would be more than grateful to have.

As an avid book nerd, I would be more than happy to receive a book. That's a golden gift in my eyes.

City of Thieves: A Novel

19. Anything sports related

A jersey, comfy sweatshirt or sports team t-shirt I would definitely put to great use.

New York Yankees Women's Ballpark Distressed V-Neck T-Shirt (as1, Alpha, m, Regular, Regular) Navy

Maybe even fuzzy socks? Is this Heaven? 🧦

21. Donations to charity

How could I get mad at you for donating to charity? Someone who gives back to the community, especially during the holidays, is a true angel.

22. Stuffed animals

Bringing out our inner child is something we both can't hold back from. Having a soft, stuffed animal to cuddle with when you're not there is a perfect solution. 🧸

Aurora® Playful Pompom Penguin™ Mini Stuffed Animal - Vibrant Companions - Endless Fun - Gray 6 Inches

23. Nothing

And I would still love you. 🥰

All in all, my point is that any gift that is given should be greatly appreciated by whoever is receiving it. Whether it's from your boyfriend, best friend or parents -- knowing that someone gave their thoughts and spent their hard-earned money to get you something is more than enough . Remember to thank those who gave you gifts this year during the holidays.

Odyssey may earn a portion of purchases made via links on this page.

25 Things Kids From the 2000s Will Be Nostalgic About

The highlights of your childhood..

The 2000s were a time that many young adults today can look back on, joyfully reminisce and somewhat cringe at the trends and the fads that we all used to love and adore. Here's a list of things from the golden 2000s that will have one feeling nostalgic about all of those times.

1. Wonderballs

One of the best candies that always seemed to catch your eyes at grocery store checkouts, leaving you begging your parents to get one.

2. iPod Nanos

The coolest and most colorful way to download your favorite boy bands and Hannah Montana jams.

This magical shoe that made it fun to run errands with your parents.

4. Dance Dance Revolution.

The game that made the ultimate slumber party.

5. Silly Bandz

The more you had, the cooler you were.

6. "I love boobies" bracelets

The breast cancer bracelets that caused quite the controversy in middle schools.

7. Crimped hair

Because why wouldn't you want your hair to look as stylish as Lizzy McGuire's?

8. The "Muffins" or " Shoes " Youtube videos.

So stupid yet so funny.

9. Club penguin

You had the best pet puffles.

10. Skip Its.

Every garage had one.

11. Bratz Dolls and Polly Pockets.

What's better than oversized eyes and rubber clothing?

12. Baby Bottle Pops

Everyone's favorite cavity-causing candy.

13. Myspace

Where you lied about your age to get on and frequently rearranged your "top friends" lists accordingly.

14. Abercrombie models

Pictures like these were hanging in your room or your Razor phone background if you are a girl, and your inspiration if you were a boy.

That creepy animal thing that everyone seemed to love.

16. Nerf guns

17. game cube.

Where you played Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers, and more.

18. Slip 'N' Slides

The most fun you've ever had took place on one of these things.

19. Easy Bake Ovens

Where real baking did not take place.

20. Dunkaroos

The sugary snack that fit perfectly in your lunch bag.

21. Nintendo DS

The life changing device you probably used to play Nintendogs.

22. Drake & Josh

You strived to be as cool as them.

23. Play-Doh

A parent's worst clean-up nightmare.

24. The Sims 2

A legendary computer game.

25. Razor scooter

There was no cooler way to get around.

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essay on why i like to play basketball

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Student Essays


Essay on Basketball | Brief History, Why I Like Basketball Essay

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Basketball is very wonderful and popular game across the world. It is the sport of sprit, excitement and joy. The following essay talks about the basketball, its brief history, why basketball is famous, world’s renowned basketball players along with why I like basketball as the best sport to play. This essay is very helpful for children and students in school exams and written tests.

List of Topics

Essay on Basketball | Why Basketball is Best Playing Sport

Basketball is considered by many to be one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. It is a sport that takes a lot of athleticism, skill, and teamwork. Basketball is a sport that can be played by anyone, regardless of their size or physical ability.

Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith. He was working as a physical education instructor at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He wanted to create a game that could be played indoors during the winter months. His first game was played with two teams of nine players each. The goal was to throw a ball into a peach basket attached to a 10-foot high pole.

Since its inception, basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world. There are now professional leagues in over 100 countries. The sport is also played at the collegiate and high school levels.

Aspect of Basketball 

There are many different aspects to basketball that make it so captivating. These include its physicality, its teamwork aspect, and its simple rules. Basketball is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and ability levels.


One of the most appealing aspects of basketball is its physicality. The sport is very demanding on the body, and players must be in excellent shape to compete at a high level. Basketball is a physically demanding sport that requires a lot of athleticism.

>>> Read Also : ” Paragraph on Value of Games in Life “

Players must be able to run, jump, and change direction quickly. They must also have the stamina to play for an extended period of time. Basketball is a full-body sport, and players use all of their muscles to perform.

The physicality of basketball can be seen in the way that players move on the court. They are constantly running, jumping, and changing direction. Players must be able to sprint up and down the court for an entire game.

The physicality of basketball can also be seen in the way that players defend. They must use their bodies to block shots and steal the ball. Basketball is a very physical sport, and players must be prepared to take and give hits.

Another aspect of basketball that is appealing is its teamwork aspect. Basketball is a sport that requires players to work together to be successful. Each player must know their role on the team and play their part.

Players must be able to trust their teammates, and they must be willing to sacrifice their own individual stats for the good of the team. Basketball is a sport that cannot be played well by one player. It requires teamwork and cooperation.

The teamwork aspect of basketball can be seen in the way players pass the ball to each other. They must be able to read each other’s movements and pass the ball in the right direction. Players must also be able to communicate with each other on the court.

The teamwork aspect of basketball can also be seen in the way players defend. They must work together to take away the other team’s best player. Basketball is a team sport, and players must be willing to sacrifice for the good of the team.


Lastly, one of the things that makes basketball so captivating is its simplicity. The rules of the game are very easy to understand, and they can be learned in a matter of minutes.

>>>> Read Also : ” Paragraph On Basketball For Students “

Basketball is a very easy sport to play. Players only need a ball and a hoop to play. There are no complicated rules or regulations to learn. Players can start playing basketball right away. The simplicity of basketball is one of the things that makes it so popular. People of all ages and ability levels can play the game. It is a sport that anyone can pick up and enjoy.

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I Love To Play Basketball Short Story Essay

Just Like Yusuke Mahiro Fukushima PD4-5

“Do you want to play basketball?” That was a question that changed me. Since that day, I’ve been playing ball for 5 years. I sometimes wonder, “What would I be doing right now if I didn’t start playing this sport?” I remember the first day I met someone that played basketball, and was interested. I was in second grade, in Japan. I didn’t play any sports. I wasn’t athletic or tall. I had been thinking about playing a sport, but the decisions were between soccer and baseball. Then, one day my classmate, Yusuke Kudo, came up to me and said something shocking. “Do you want to play basketball?” he said. Basketball wasn’t a popular sport in Japan. I knew what “basketball” was but I didn’t know if I was interested in it. “I don’t know… I’ll think about it.” I replied….

When I got there, I was startled at what I saw. People were running around the gym, doing pushups, situps and 100 dribbles. I could hear the loud bouncing sounds of the orange balls and feel the whole gym shaking. There were 2nd to 6th graders. As I was worried about what I just saw, the coach came up to me and greeted me. “Hi, Im the coach of this team! Nice to meet you.” The team did their ordinary handling and shooting drills for warm up. I was very excited to be on the team, but was also very nervous. Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum. I could hear the sound of my heartbeat. I didn’t get to practice with the whole team because I was new. I was practicing my dribble in the corner, when the coach yelled, ?Everyone come to the center! We’re playing a…

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Basketball Essay for Students and Children


500+ Essay on Basketball

The game of basketball has truly become global in the last few years. The game is currently popular in the United States. Also, it is described by many as an American game because of the fun and competitive element in it. Also, this is one of the games which is played indoors and still caters to billions of fans around the world. This game was Dr. James Naismith from Canada. Initially, he invented the game by using a rectangular pitch which was 6 feet wide and 4 feet high. Additionally, the court includes a free throw line which is 12 feet long. In basketball essay, students will get to know about the different components that make the game of basketball special.

Basketball Essay

It is a team game that has gained immense popularity. Also, the game is played with the help of a ball and the ball is shot into the basket that is positioned horizontally. So, the objective in the game is to shoot the ball and score the maximum points. This game is played by 2 teams that constitute a total of 5 players each. Also, the game is played on a marked rectangular floor that has a basket on both the ends. 

Originally, basketball was played using a soccer ball. Also, it was James Naismith that used a peach basket which ha ad a nonhollow bottom. So, this basket was nailed at a height of 10 ft. above the ground and on an elevated track. If you consider the manual removal of the ball from the basket a drawback then the bottom was removed to and it took the shape of modern-day baskets. Also, dribbling was not part of the game initially. Eventually, it evolved till 1950 by which the balls got better shape due to manufacturing. 

Additionally, the orange ball was evolved from the brown ball. The brown ball was used in the beginning as it was thought that the ball is more visible. By 1996, the peach baskets used were replaced by metal hoops on the backboard. 

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Basketball Game 

At the start of the game, a referee tosses the ball at the center of the court between two players. One player from either team try to get their hands on the ball and the ball is passed on to the teammates. For scoring a point, a team needs to shoot the ball through the basket. If a shot is scored from a distance that is closer to the basket than the 3 point line than it fetches 2 points. Also, if the ball is shot from the distance behind 3 point line, it fetches 3 points. So, the team that has a maximum number of points is declared the winner. 

In case of a draw, there may be additional time allotted to both the teams. In the game, a player is cannot move if he is holding the ball. The player needs to dribble, otherwise, it is considered as a foul. Likewise, when there is a physical contact that affects the other team then it counted as a physical foul. 

Basketball is game played with a maintained and carefully marked court. It is a team sport that is commonly found in many different areas. 


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How the development of women’s soccer is fueling Cal Lutheran’s NCAA rise

Cal Lutheran women's soccer players celebrate after a recent victory.

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Shannon Pennington has spent more than half her life with the Cal Lutheran women’s soccer team , first as a player, next as a graduate assistant, then for the last quarter-century as an assistant coach. And CLU has accomplished a lot during that time, winning 16 conference championships and making 16 NCAA tournament appearances.

But Thursday, when CLU faces Tufts in the Division III semifinals, will bring a new experience because for all the team’s success the Regals have never made the final four of an NCAA tournament .

“You know, it is still kind of hard to believe,” Pennington said. “Every year you set out to win your league, make it into the NCAA tournament and the further you go, the better. But it was never anything like this.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14, 2023: Bryan Ortega, standout soccer player on the Cal State.

‘I didn’t want to be a bad person.’ Soccer gave Cal State L.A. star a second chance

Bryan Ortega got kicked out of high school, jailed for robbery and ended up homeless. Now he’s a star for the Cal State Los Angeles men’s soccer team.

Nov. 17, 2023

It wasn’t a fluke. At 18-1-5, this year’s team is the best in school history. The Regals outscored opponents 43-12 and posted 14 shutouts. The only loss was a 1-0 result against Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC tournament final, one they reversed in the second round of the NCAAs before upsetting unbeaten and top-ranked Christopher Newport University on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals.

“We’ve had some good teams. We’re always competitive,” said head coach Frank Marino . “But to go deep into the playoffs, it’s about the margins, it’s the details, the little things. And this team just has the blue-collar grit. They play for each other and that’s made a big difference.”

Shannon Pennington (14) stands on the field with five Cal Lutheran teammates during her senior season.

Pennington, 48, has waited a long time for this. She played her first game for the school in 1993, five years after the program was founded and three seasons after it left the NAIA for the NCAA. That was also just two years before the second women’s World Cup, where some games were played in the equivalent of high school stadiums before “crowds” of fewer than 700.

Last summer’s tournament in Australia/New Zealand drew an average attendance of more than 30,000 and was watched by a global TV audience estimated at nearly 2 billion. That spectacular growth in just a generation, Pennington said, has trickled down to programs like CLU’s.

“The facilities, like we didn’t have any of this when I played,” she said. “I’ve told the girls you’re so lucky to have strength and conditioning. You have a spring season. We had to do that on our own and be self-disciplined.”

The increase in popularity and participation in girls’ and women’s soccer has transformed the sport at the small-college level. The number of girls playing prep soccer has increased by more than a quarter-million since Pennington graduated high school and more than a thousand NCAA schools now field women’s teams — 441 at the Division III level. That means more players and more places for them to play.

Cal Lutheran's Avery West, left, and Hana Sawan, right, celebrate after a recent game.

And successful lower-division schools such as Cal Lutheran, located in soccer hotbeds like Southern California, have benefited the most.

“What we’re seeing is Division I kids that have either started at a Division I and they’re not winning, they’re not playing a lot, they’re not enjoying their experience and they go, ‘I want to play and I want to win’,” said Marino, whose roster includes two Division I transfers. “A kid that comes here, legitimately we have a chance to win a national championship. For some kids, that’s more fun. And the environment is good. Players are supportive, they care about each other.”

That last point has been key to CLU’s success this season, Pennington said. The Regals’ roster is not only deep — 18 players have scored at least once — but extremely close as well.

“They have good relationships on and off the field. That helps,” she said. “They’re there for each other. They just have a really good sense of family. When you have a team like that, that’s close on and off the field, that definitely helps contribute to the level of play.”

Thomas Rongen exclaims and spreads his arms during the premiere of "Next Goal Wins," at the Princess of Wales Theatre

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That will be tested Thursday when CLU, unranked in the latest United Soccer Coaches national top 25, faces Tufts (11-5-4) in the national semifinals in Salem, Va. And if the Regals get past that, they’ll face the winner of the other semifinal between second-ranked Washington University (17-1-3) and Messiah (21-2-0), a six-time Division III champion, in Saturday’s title game.

Pennington said she’s not sure what to expect since neither she nor her program have been here before. But CLU’s approach, she promised, won’t change.

“We just keep saying ‘it’s a beautiful day to play soccer,’” she said. “We have this good feeling behind us. It’s incredible. Quite an experience for everybody.”

essay on why i like to play basketball

Kevin Baxter writes about soccer and other things for the Los Angeles Times, where he has worked for 27 years. He has covered seven World Cups, four Olympic Games, six World Series and a Super Bowl and has contributed to three Pulitzer Prize-winning series at The Times and Miami Herald. An essay he wrote in fifth grade was voted best in the class. He has a cool dog.

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LAFC heads to Seattle with odds of a playoff win always slim

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Emma Hayes is selected coach of U.S. women’s national soccer team

Nov. 14, 2023

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2023 Big Ten Championship Game: Michigan opens as huge favorite over Iowa, eyes College Football Playoff berth

The wolverines hope to punch their third straight ticket to the college football playoff.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan

No. 3 Michigan locked up a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game after handling No. 2 Ohio State 30-24 for its third straight victory over the rival Buckeyes to win the Big Ten East. The Wolverines will face off against Big Ten West champion No. 17 Iowa at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana . 

The Wolverines enter the title game as 21.5-point favorites and are searching for their third-straight crown. Michigan has not won three consecutive Big Ten championships since a stretch of six straight between Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller from 1988-92. 

Iowa is back in the title game for the second time in three seasons after edging out Nebraska 13-10 to reach 10 regular-season wins. The Hawkeyes had one of the most unbelievable seasons in recent memory, somehow reaching double-digit wins despite ranking last place nationally in total offense at just 246 yards per game. The mark sat more than 40 yards behind the next-closest power conference opponent ( Michigan State ). 

Since the current divisional alignment began in 2014, the Big Ten East is a perfect 9-0 against the Big Ten West. This also marks the sixth straight year the title game spread has reached double digits. However, this is the final year of the divisional alignment before four new teams push the Big Ten to 18 teams in 2024. Here's what you need to know about the 2023 Big Ten Championship Game. 

Series History

Michigan has won three straight matchups against Iowa, including a 42-3 whomping in the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game. The Hawkeyes last beat Michigan 14-13 in 2016 to keep the Wolverines out of the College Football Playoff with a 10-2 regular season record and controversial loss to Ohio State. However, Iowa has not beaten Michigan outside of Iowa City, Iowa, since 2010. 

Keys to the Game

Michigan has vastly outplayed its competition this season, but Iowa presents a unique challenge. The Hawkeyes rank No. 7 nationally in total defense and hold opponents to 4.04 yards per play. Michigan will be able to generate some offense, but it won't come easy. The Wolverines would benefit greatly from some chunk plays; Iowa is not built to play from behind. 

For Iowa, simply playing straightforward offense won't be enough. The Hawkeyes average just 18 points per game and were blanked against Penn State , the only ranked opponent on their schedule. Star defensive back and punt returner Cooper DeJean is out, too, meaning that Iowa will have to find different options to score points. Punter Tory Taylor will, as usual, play a critical role, but it might not be enough to stay competitive. 

Stakes for Michigan

Michigan is playing for its third straight trip to the College Football Playoff after finishing 12-0 in the regular season for the second consecutive year. The Wolverines have failed to pick up victories in either of their College Football Playoff appearances, but the 2023 squad has a case as the best of the Jim Harbaugh era. Speaking of Harbaugh, he will be back on the sidelines in the Big Ten title game after serving a three-game suspension for violating the Big Ten's sportsmanship policy amid the sign-stealing investigation. 

Stakes for Iowa

Iowa has put together an elite run under coach Kirk Ferentz, but the Hawkeyes have not won an outright conference championship since Hayden Fry's team in 1985. Ferentz's Iowa team have co-championships in 2002 and 2004, but a conference championship game victory has eluded the squad. Beating Michigan would give Ferentz the elusive win and send Iowa to a New Year's Six bowl for the first time since 2015. 

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College football playoff rankings predictions: what conference championship week could look like.

essay on why i like to play basketball

Conference championship week is here and the penultimate College Football Rankings are approaching. Before the CFP committee unveils the rankings, I predict where the top 25 teams will land.

The fifth of six CFP top 25 reveals happens on Tuesday, Nov. 28 ( here's the full schedule ). Ahead of the announcement, here's a prediction of how the committee could rank its top 25 teams. Note that these are my predictions and mine alone. I take a look at head-to-head results, schedule strength, games against ranked teams and more to help rank the teams how I think the CFP committee will do so. You can read the CFP committee's official protocols here.

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: Week 14 Top 25 projections

These predictions are as of Sunday, November 26. 

  • Georgia (12-0) | LW: 1 — Georgia defeated a good Georgia Tech team on the road. The Bulldogs have picked up a string of ranked wins in prior weeks that will let them hold on to the top spot.
  • Michigan (12-0) | LW: 2 — Michigan can argue for No. 1 with the best win in the country over Ohio State, but the Wolverines will have to settle for No. 2 in these rankings.
  • Washington (12-0) | LW: 4 — Washington moves up one spot after an Apple Cup win.
  • Florida State (12-0) | LW: 5 — Florida State moves back into the top four since it's undefeated, even though the Seminoles looked underwhelming with its backup quarterback.
  • Oregon (11-1) | LW: 6 — Oregon should be fifth in these rankings after Ohio State's loss and a dominant ranked win. The Ducks just have to win and they're in.
  • Texas (11-1) | LW: 7 — Texas should be above Ohio State in the committee's eyes after blowing out Texas Tech ahead of the Big 12 championship game. Texas' win over Alabama still holds a lot of weight.
  • Alabama (11-1) | LW: 8 — Alabama stays behind Texas after a close win over Auburn. The Crimson Tide could stay behind Ohio State here, but the committee will see ranked wins over Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU and maybe Kentucky as reasons to knock the Buckeyes a spot below.
  • Ohio State (11-1) | LW: 2 — Ohio State falls six spots to No. 8 after its loss to Michigan. There's still a chance to rank as high as No. 6, but I think the committee will keep a team that doesn't control its destiny at the bottom of the one-loss team order.
  • Missouri (10-2) | LW: 9 — Missouri remains the best two-loss team in the country after a win over Arkansas.
  • Penn State (10-2) | LW: 11 — Penn State moves back into the top 10 after shutting out Michigan State.
  • Ole Miss (10-2) | LW: 12 — Ole Miss won the Egg Bowl to move up one spot.
  • Oklahoma (10-2) | LW: 13 — Oklahoma blasted TCU, but it'll miss out on the Big 12 title game. The Sooners won't have a shot at entering the top 10 before bowls.
  • Louisville (10-2) | LW: 10 — Louisville falls three spots after losing to an unranked, five-loss Kentucky team.
  • LSU (9-3) | LW: 14 — LSU and Heisman candidate Jayden Daniels will finish the regular season as the top three-loss team in the country.
  • Arizona (9-3) | LW: 15 — A 500-plus yard day from Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita has the Wildcats peaking at the right time entering bowl games.
  • Iowa (10-2) | LW: 17 — Iowa continues to look like the most unimpressive 9-2 team in the country and a 13-10 win over Nebraska won't move the needle.
  • Notre Dame (9-3) | LW: 18 — Notre Dame handled business against a lowly Stanford team and it'll move up one spot.
  • Oklahoma State (9-3) | LW: 20 — Oklahoma State needed two overtimes to defeat BYU for a berth in the Big 12 championship game. It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win for the Cowboys.
  • Tennessee (8-4) | LW: 21 — Tennessee blasted Vanderbilt and should be the highest-ranked four-loss team for another week.
  • NC State (9-3) | LW: 22 — NC State has a better record than Tennessee, but that was the case last week. I don't think a win over an unranked North Carolina team moves the Wolfpack in front of the Vols.
  • Oregon State (8-4) | LW: 16 — Back-to-back losses to top-10 teams will knock Oregon out of the top 20.
  • Tulane (11-1) | LW: 23 — Tulane holds on for another week above Liberty, but it can't afford any slip-ups in the AAC championship if it wants a New Year's Six bowl.
  • Clemson (8-4) | LW: 24 — Clemson defeated rival South Carolina and will move up one spot in the rankings.
  • Liberty (12-0) | LW: 25 — Liberty will need to send a statement in the C-USA championship game to surpass Tulane in the rankings for a shot at a New Year's Six bowl. The committee hasn't been impressed by Liberty's undefeated record yet, only coming in at No. 25 a week ago.
  • Toledo (11-1) | LW: NR — Past rankings make it doubtful the committee ranks another school outside of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or SEC, but I think this week the committee ranks Toledo to give a clearer picture of the New Year's Six Bowl picture.

New Team: Toledo Team to drop out : Kansas State (19)

CFP🏆:  College Football Playoff rankings release schedule

Notable College Football Playoff rankings questions

Can Michigan get the top spot for a week?

No team has a better win than Michigan's win over Ohio State. Will that be enough for the Wolverines to hold the No. 1 spot this week? It seems like a given that Georgia — if it beats Alabama — will be the No. 1 team entering the playoffs if both teams win, but maybe Michigan can hold No. 1 for a little bit before that happens.

GO BLUE:  Michigan edges Ohio State 30-24, claims Big Ten East crown

How far will Ohio State fall?

Even with a loss to Michigan, there are still a few scenarios where Ohio State can get a College Football Playoff spot. All of the scenarios likely require a Georgia and Michigan win and a Florida State and Texas loss, but there's a chance. That said, where Ohio State ranks entering conference championship week will show how much of a shot the Buckeyes have.

UNDEFEATED TRACKER:  Here's a look at all of the undefeated FBS teams

Is there anything Liberty can do to move past Tulane?

Liberty is undefeated while Tulane has one loss. Yet, Tulane has — and likely will — rank above Liberty for another week. With a New Year's Six bowl on the line, one has to wonder if there's anything Liberty can do to move beyond Tulane in the rankings if both schools win.

essay on why i like to play basketball

2023 SEC Championship Game: Date, time, history

essay on why i like to play basketball

2023 Alabama football schedule: Dates, times, TV channels, scores

essay on why i like to play basketball

College Football Playoff rankings predictions: What Week 12 could look like

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Colleges with the most overall No. 1 picks in NFL draft history

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17 of the best walk-ons in college football history

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The longest college football field goal: What we know

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Here are college football's 9 all-time winningest teams

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College football national championship history

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