Montana Malburg- When I came to the Yampa Valley High School you would never hear me say that reading was one of my favorite hobbies. In fact if you asked me how many books that have been assigned to us at the High School that I actually read you’d be disappointed to hear none at all. Little did I know that reading would become one of my biggest guilty pleasures. What gave me this love for reading? I was given the choice to read what I wanted and not what I was told was important. This is a key factor in getting more people into reading. However, regardless of if your book is assigned to you or not, reading is very important. Reading can expand your imagination and knowledge as well as relieve stress. This is how reading has helped me.

Books encourage imagination by taking you to new worlds and adventures that may of never occurred to you in your wildest of dreams. Whether you love romantic novels, horror, or fantasy there is always a book for you. With books you can imagine people and places just by the way they are described and you can even imagine yourself in the same situation. This gives readers more perspective on everyday life. Instead of seeing things in the box that is reality you can begin to draw outside the lines. I have personally experienced this through my love for fantasy novels. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite series of all time! Every time I open the pages I get transported to “the mountain walls of Mordor looming like a black bar of rugged clouds floating above a dangerous fog-bound sea.”  

Books are also good for gaining knowledge on an extensive number of topics as well as enlarging your vocabulary. They are always helpful whether you are just reading a textbook for a world history class or looking for information on a type of skill you’d like to acquire like cooking or learning how to knit.  Reading can also improve your concentration, memory, and writing skills. The National Center for Education Statistics said in April 2001 that students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reported having fewer reading materials. The more books you read the more you will open your eyes to new things you have never imagined. You also never know when your knowledge will come in handy.  It is a strong belief of mine that knowledge is one of the most powerful things to have because it can never be taken away from you; It can only grow.

My favorite thing about reading a good book is escaping from the real world even if it’s just for a little while.  Research conducted in 2009 at the University of Sussex showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress. Instead of being a 17 year old going to school and having work on top of everyday drama and dilemmas I can be an explorer traveling the world or a detective solving a mystery. Books relieve stress as well as give you a different perspective on life. Articles can also distract you and make you present in the moment while forgetting about your worries. Some make me thankful that I am just a normal girl who has an immensely blessed life compared to others out there.

Some may argue that reading “Isn’t their thing,” but I would say that you just haven’t found the right book yet. There are some books that I instantly know aren’t for me and some that I will finish in a day. My best advice would be to read at least a chapter or two of any book you choose to try. Get a feel for the characters and plot before making up your mind.

I’m not telling everyone to become huge bookworms, but, rather to be open-minded. If  you catch yourself wasting a lot of free time or get sick of attempting the same video game then think about expanding your mind with a good book. George R. R. Martin once said “A reader lives a thousand lives before they die.”

Chase Adams- One thing I love about tennis is the ability to kick somebody’s behind. Being competitive has always had an impact on me. Trying to win everything that I play has always been something I love to do. Tennis is a game where you will always face an opponent who is better than you. Therefore, the more work I put into my game the more success you gain from the sport.

Tennis gives me the chance to battle by myself and not have to rely on a partner to win a match. When playing tennis I can push myself to the best of my ability and achieve greatness. No matter how hard you practice and compete in tournaments, there will always be one opponent that can beat you. I love being on top of the USTA brackets, so others won’t forget how strong I am as an athlete. So when they read the name “Chase Adams” on their tennis bracket, they will know the competitiveness they need to beat me. Seeing other opponents with larger USTA points than me, hurts. Especially when I know I am a stronger athlete than them.

Tennis is a great sport with plenty of tactics to learn. One tactic that is hard to learn is to play the tennis ball and not your opponent. This means always try to stay on offense and in control of the ball. Don’t let your opponent control the game by running you around. Find your strong points in your tennis game and use them to the best of your ability.

I as a tennis player I do not believe in pressure. Pressure is a made up feeling that only you can tell yourself if it’s real or not. When I get into intense rally’s, I keep my cool and I play smart. I don’t wonder where my opponent’s ball is going to land. I capitalize on the shots that I know I can hit. I focus on the point, not the pressure that’s assigned with the point.

Playing for my high school tennis team has been a blast, especially when you do extremely well in tournaments. Getting asked questions by your local newspaper reporters makes me feel important to the team. Another great feeling is when your peers read your newspaper article and congratulate you based on how well you did. What matters most is that people actually care! That excitement only makes me want to push my game further and show them how well I can do.

While my high school career is over, playing tournaments all over Colorado will increase my USTA points, and increase my ranking in the community. The higher USTA points you are able to collect, the more difficult your opponents will turn out to be! Anyone has the capability to play tennis for fun as they grow old, but I will choose to carry on my competitive spirit  through many upcoming USTA tournaments.

Tennis is a sport with many perks to help you with your everyday emotions. Some people enjoy tennis for taking time out of their day to get out and exercise. I enjoy tennis after a stressful day of work or school, so I can take my aggression out on the tennis ball and not others!