Athletes Do More Than Play Games

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People wonder why athletes are so “overpaid,” but the same people who say this are the same individuals who don’t take the time to realize all that entails being a professional athlete.  Yes, they play sports.  They play games for a career, but they also are crucial in providing work for coaches, managers, agents, physical therapists, news people, referees, concessions workers, and every other position that is related to a sports team.  Without athletes, all of these people would be out of work because there would be no teams to support and no games to watch.  Additionally, athletes are ambassadors and spokespeople.  Of course, there are the traditional endorsements for energy drinks, restaurants, and clothing brands, but athletes also do their part in supporting good causes.  There are plenty of athletes who tie their names to organizations and events that can help change our society into a better place.  So, yes, they get paid to play a game, but they also use their famous names and checks to give back to the community.  As opposed to being famous and doing nothing, they do what they can to help diminish the negativity in this world and, honestly, I think more people can follow their lead rather than criticize.

My brother-in-law specifically told me about Ray Rice’s efforts to stop bullying and here I am sharing the story with you.  Bullying was once just thought of as kids picking on each other by making up humiliating names with the occasional physical contact, but people need to start realizing that bullying isn’t so simple or juvenile.  Bullying is a serious issue in schools and anyone can be a victim of it.  Nobody is immune to bullying and the severe effects it can have on people.  Aside from the trauma and mental effects that it can cause in individuals (and I say individuals because childhood is not the only place where bullying is seen), which is enough to ruin a person’s life, bullying can literally lead to death.  Ray Rice, as well as many other famous names, have realized this and have decided to do something about it.  Just like how hate crimes and assault are punishable by law, there needs to be more support for protecting people from bullying.  It is not ok to let issues like this go unnoticed.

I’ve attached a statement that Ray Rice made on his Facebook earlier this week regarding the death of a twelve-year-old boy after he had been beaten by bullies.  If you would like to help Ray Rice’s anti-bullying campaign you can make a donation here.

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“A few weeks ago i shared a link to an article that a fan sent to me. It was about an 11 year old boy named Bailey who had been bullied at school. In the latest incident, Bailey was beat up on the school playground. Hit in the face and pushed to the ground, Bailey began to have severe seizures which required him to be placed into a medically induced coma.

After learning last Thursday that doctors said Bailey had no longer had any brain activity, I reached out to the family and was able to spend about 45 minutes on the phone with them. I could hear their sadness, worry, frustration and grief. They would be faced with removing their son, cousin, nephew, and best friend from life support.

Bailey passed away this morning, one day after his 12th birthday.

I don’t think I will ever be able to understand why kids bully each other and how we are all sitting here after yet another “bully death” getting ready to go through this difficult task of picking up the pieces and the even more difficult task of forgiving so we can heal.

I don’t know if we will ever get to a point where bullying is actually considered a CRIME, rather than “kids being kids” or a “playground incident.”

I don’t know if the kid that did this to Bailey will be punished severely enough or if he will receive the help I know he truly needs. Bullying doesn’t happen for no reason…we have to figure out what the underlying cause it and treat it like the illness it is.

I don’t know when parents, teachers, elected officials and administrators will sit up and take notice…and ACT.

But, I DO KNOW THIS: I will NOT give up my fight. Everyday I will continue to fight AGAINST bullying and fight FOR kindness.

Bailey – my little buddy, I will not let you become just another bully statistic…you are my inspiration and one more angel that will help me continue the fight for kids everywhere. You are going to help me save lives. RIP my little friend.”

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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