The elephant in the room has to be addressed… and it's a huge elephant.
It's going to take a minute to unpack this issue but stay with me.
Parents, teachers, principals and coaches preach the perils of social media. Kids are tired of hearing the lecture, I get it. But if you are ever going to listen to anyone… listen to the MEDIA.
It's a learning curve. Over the past several years, it's seems like teens have learned to not self-sabotage themselves on front-facing social media platforms. What that means is that all of the stupid stuff kids want to show off is on their PRIVATE STORIES and ACCOUNTS and DIRECT MESSAGES. It's not for everyone to see, but it can still be screen-shot. Duhhhhh.
This isn't just for athletes, but for cheerleaders, band, theatre, dance teams – it cross-cuts every part of the high school food chain.
College kids, you know better, so you are on your own.
Unfortunately for some premier athletes in our area, they have learned the hard way. But there are thousands of others who have felt the wrath, who are not as high profile.
First things first -- kids are kids. I get that also, but you have TO DO RIGHT. You are the face of the PROGRAM – a QB on the No. 1 team; a District MVP and a DI-commit. You have so much to lose.
We aren't going into the details because it's all been well-documented.
Here's the new life we live in. Everything you say or do when a camera phone is in the vicinity – can be Snapchatted, Tweeted, InstaStoried or Tik-Tocked. It's like having an ESPN or TMZ camera in your face all the time. After a game, in the locker room at a party, in your car – all the time.
Do you understand that? Read that again and let that sink in…
People are looking for followers, people like to stir the pot, people are looking to bring others down. KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS. You better know who's around you and what their agendas are… and that is virtually impossible.
I'm all about pranks. I'm kind of that person – a jokester. But I'm old and know where the LINE is. You don't.
I love a little smack-talking too, but it's a double-edged sword. You don't know when ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
So, what is the answer?
Don't be that GUY or GIRL. The best defense from being brought down by social media is DOING THE RIGHT THING, ALL THE TIME.
It's so simple.
If you are going to act like an idiot, think twice, because everyone is watching. When you or someone else clicks send, you better be ready for the onslaught of social media trolls because it's coming 10-fold. You've opened yourself up for truths and lies of the mediasphere.
Save yourself and take my advice.
Former Woodlands High School volleyball player Claire Cantrell trades her court shoes for the sand following continuous knee injuries.
Cantrell has played volleyball all her life saying, "Its always been a common denominator." After years of repetitive knee dislocations and conditionally straining her knees further with training, Cantrell decided to slowly transition into a different form of the sport.
She initially started playing sand volleyball in 2012 and soon hung up her court shoes in 2017. Cantrell, out with another knee injury, decided she wanted to share her love for the sport with her peers and the opportunity to coach. In 2018, Cantrell then took steps into creating a Beach Volleyball Club.
"There was so many steps that went into the creation of the club but it was all worth it," Cantrell said.
She first had to find sponsors, find a facility, get signatures of possible members and finally get approval from The Woodlands High school's assistant principal.
Next, Cantrell had to create bylaws, get waivers, get travel cards and get officers for the club to be official. She got Revolution Volleyball to both sponsor and host the club using their facility and equipment.
"I am so grateful to have found the best teacher-sponsor ever, Mrs.Steele. She lets us do our thing while also keeping us in line regarding our club regulations," Cantrell said.
She filled her six officer positions with people who either had previous volleyball experience or great leaderships skills.
"I made sure my officers could help me keep the club in order by both coaching and keeping events organized, while also contributing ideas to further grow the club, Cantrell said.
Once the club was approved towards the end of Cantrell's sophomore year, she prepared for next the school year by sending the word around about the new club. Once school started again in August, she publicized the club throughout school using posters, announcing it during daily announcements, and using every social media possible: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
The clubs first official meeting was September 10 from 3:30-5:00.
"It was great seeing so many people from such different backgrounds come together for one common goal. We had 13 members show up to the first meeting and 25 registered, which will only grow as the club does," Cantrell said.
Currently the club is only open to The Woodlands High School students based on school rules for liability. The club was a practice and fun environment, but Cantrell hoped in the future to extend it further with tournaments against each other .
"We were planning on having a tournament with another sand volleyball club at Magnolia, but it go shut down because they didn't have a sponsor," Cantrell said. With players ranging from beginners to advanced, practices include coaching, drills, and scrimmages. "It's a fun environment to get dirty in the sand with your friends learning about beach volleyball," Cantrell said.
Cantrell hoped in the future to have a better date and time for practices, since many students couldn't come due to other activities.
"Going into my senior year, I'm hoping to find someone I can trust and depend on to continue the club. It's currently my little baby," Cantrell said. She hoped one day sand volleyball would be popular enough to have it included as a school sport.