Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Question of Independence for 16-year-old Scots

This past week, Scotland held a momentous election - to vote whether or not it should become an independent nation after 300 years of living under British rule. But after the vote on Thursday, Scotland maintained its position as a part of the United Kingdom (55% no, 45% yes).  Alex Salmond, now former leader of the SNP, had specifically lowered the voting age to 16 and 17 year olds, primarily because the younger generations of today tend to be more progressive and open minded when it comes to breaking old traditions and accepting new ones.  He had been sorely mistaken.  A majority of the teenagers had voted against Scotland's independence, their decisions shocking both Salmond, as well as myself.

As a 16 year old myself, I can understand why many of the teenagers voted against such a huge change to their country.  These voters have the most at stake in this situation.  Their youth means that they will have to live with the consequences and implications longer than any other voter. "I'm part of the next generation of young people who will be left with the legacy of this referendum where the ramifications of the result will be felt throughout our lives," said Stephen Anderson, 17. Their youth also means they still have an authoritative figure making decisions for them and taking care of them-- sort of like how Britain takes care of Scotland in a sense.  They're not ready for "independence" as 16 year olds and their votes show similar feelings for Scotland.  Putting myself in their position, I would have voted against independence as well, opting for the safer choice.  It's easier to chose what you know rather than the unknown, especially when it determines the fate of your own country.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

She's done it again.

Today I was able to witness the "legendary" Serena Williams take home her 18th Grand Slam at the age of 33 years old. (Her first win at the young age of 17).  Everyone knows that Serena is a great champion of the sport, but the more I thought about it, I was staggered by how someone can be at the top of a highly competitive sport for so long.

First of all, tennis is highly competitive sport.  Especially when you're number one; everyone wants to knock you down.  There's always someone younger, someone just as good as the more seasoned players, with just as much focus and drive.  Serena has dealt with people like that for almost a generation now, yet she manages to stay on-top, constantly fighting them off as they seem to get younger and younger.  As a dancer, I can relate to that feeling of not only competition against your self as well as competition with everyone surrounding you.  There are the younger girls slowly creeping up from the levels beneath you, as well as the higher levels where the girls know they're better than you and love rubbing it in your face.  There's so much more that goes on underneath the surface between tennis players and ballet dancers that the 'audience' never discovers, although I like to think of competition as a healthy way to keep you going.  

Something I truly admire about Serena is the singular drive that she possess to keep her going, even when the game isn't going in her favor, she always manages to push foreword.  Many stars her age feel they can only push themselves for so long, until they've reached their tipping point.  They'll decide when they've had enough, retiring from the exhausting lifestyle of tennis.  Serena on the other hand has accomplished pretty much everything she's ever wanted, yet still strives for more.  She's never been ready to throw the towel in, to call quits and say "eh, I think I've had enough".  Watching her play tennis is so incredibly inspiring, showing the world what a fighter she is, each game at a time.  

Serena is truly a one of  kind athlete, the kind who always accepts a challenge, the kind of athlete who always  pushes herself to be the best she can possibly be, the kind of athlete who doesn't just quit while she's ahead.  After watching her play, Serena showed the world today how amazing she is, for the 18th time.  There are many reasons as to why Serena Williams is who she is, but the main reason why she has been untouchable for so long, is that she is fearless.  She doesn't let anything get in her way from what she wants, and its that razor sharp drive for success that lead her to where she is today.