Michaels: Supporting your friends in life and flag football

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Over the past two months, I have spent every Tuesday night bundled up, trudging through turf and cheering on my friends as they played on an intramural flag football team here at Rowan. We nicknamed the team the “Flag Fiends” and I spent hours cheering them on, baking brownies, buying cookies, making signs and putting together goodie bags for them. 

I took something my friends were passionate about and helped to amplify it. Going out and supporting them meant a lot to me, and it was fun for me. I did these things for them because I enjoy seeing the smiles and joy on their faces as I watch them doing something they love. 

It reminded me of high school when I would go out to every hockey game to support my best friends play the sport they love. I went because it filled my heart with bliss to support them. It did not matter if a game fell on my birthday or if I was under the weather — I was still there, cheering as loud as I could. 

This got me thinking because I obviously support those I care about because I want to. It brings me joy to know I can give someone a little push if they need it or to give them a person that will always give them that extra bit of support. 

But what does it mean for those friends of mine to have that support? Do they need it and do they appreciate it? Does it help them to follow the things they are passionate about? 

So, after multiple weeks of being called the “team mom” and screaming my lungs out in support of them — I pondered this more and more. Were I and my other friends helping the team make it to the championships? Was our support the push that they needed to win these games? 

I spoke to a member of the team and a friend of mine I have had since high school — who happened to end up at the same college with me — Zak Van Riper, a senior majoring in law and justice, who shared that while having a “team mom” boosted the morale of the team, there is something much more beneficial to learn from this type of support. 

“Having support from a person is the counterpart of a friendship,” he said. “It is awesome to have support from a friend in anything I do because I believe it will help me succeed more prosperously in whatever the task at hand is.” 

Support is an incredibly vital aspect of any relationship and support often does not go unnoticed. Taking that extra step, whether it be a word of encouragement or a full-on cheer, helps in the end. 

I know I am speaking on support for sports right now, but support spreads so much further than this. Giving your friend an extra push to reach out to their crush could help grow a love they never thought possible. Hyping your friend up and helping to ease their nerves before a big job interview, could be what they need to land that job. 

Sometimes, friends need support in tougher matters as well. If your friend is going through a hard time, support may be what can help put them back on their feet sharing smiles. Sometimes, relationships may not be the healthiest and your friend may need support to get out of it. Sometimes, life just gets too overwhelming and your friend needs to be reminded of their strength. 

Giving support in any way, no matter the context is important. It can make you happy to be there for another — and it will make those around you happy as well. Life gets hard and sometimes you and your friends may need each other’s support. So, appreciate and share thanks for it. 

Support goes far beyond friendship as well, it doesn’t take much to share a smile or a few positive words to boost the stranger who wears a frown. Or the person sitting across from you in class, who visibly appears to be upset. Drop them a note, tell them it will pass, give them a smile — it could be what they need to turn their day around. 

Another fellow Flag Fiends member, Tucker Gabrich, a sophomore exercise science major, shared that having someone there in support despite win or lose, rain or shine — with snacks in hand — was a major piece to the accomplishments of the team. And I think that is something that is important to all aspects of support and friendship in totality. 

Life is full of highs and lows and there are days when you feel gloomy or you feel bright. No matter the day, sharing your support and accepting others will do so much more than you know. And, when all else fails, grab that comfort food and let that be the support when life feels like a bad storm.

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