January 10, 2014

i wasn't going to say anything

okay, humor me for a minute. think of three things that mean the most to you. i'll give you a second. you got 'em? okay, now pick one. any one. it doesn't matter which one it is. it just needs to be really really important to you. as in, you'd die on that hill defending it. ready?

now, let's say a bunch of strangers (and even some friends) start speaking ill of that thing. hurtful, negative, partial-truths...some intentionally hurtful, some accidental. is your blood pressure rising? heart hurts just a little? now imagine that this goes on for several months with no end in sight. one sucker punch after another.

you're officially in my shoes now, so let's take a walk together.

[credit: UNC's official seal (obvi)]

let's be clear. i'm not asking you to love carolina. i'm not even asking you to like it. i'm just asking you to hear me out. given all the jaw flapping that has gone on about carolina and its athletic department lately, i've been inclined to keep my mouth shut. i wasn't going to say anything. i don't want to pick a fight. i like to keep the peace. however, if you punch me enough times, i'm going to fight back. especially when you're talking about my family.

i can't speak for every carolina student-athlete, but i can confidently speak for myself and the few that i know well.

it was hard.

there were no free passes. i probably needed some tutoring. i took the carolina CREED. i went to class. i went to study hall. i met with my advisor and chose my own classes. it was, after all, my education. i also earned every C i was ever given. i even have my book report on the oxford english dictionary to prove one of them. i worked for my degree; it was not given to me. i juggled 15 credit hours every semester on top of weights, practice, meetings, conditioning, film sessions, rehab, more meetings, matches, and away game travel. like i said, it was hard. i could've used a free pass or two actually.

i, and so many others that i know, competed and studied with utmost integrity. so yeah, i take offense to blanket statements regarding fraud and scandal at my university and in my athletic department in the same way that i took offense to the daily tar heel editorial in 2004 claiming that "all unc athletes are dumb jocks and should take a modified EXSS course load" because that's all we can handle. try me. or better yet, try my pre-med, business school, journalism school, and honors program teammates. and don't even get me started on the gymnasts and their curve-wrecking selves.

here's the deal: i get it. i'm not naive. there are elements of truth to the recent allegations and i won't argue with you there. mistakes and poor choices were made. but please, don't throw us all in the same pot. these individuals are the exception, not the rule. of that i am absolutely confident.

i'm bekah brinkley, and i'm proud to be a tar heel.

live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally.

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