The hobby queen

Image for post
Image for post
Doing bridges in beautiful scenery is my vibe.

My journey with blogging in the cyber world began on Tumblr. My page was more of a vision board of interests, history, culture, and social causes that I care about as opposed to being an outlet for my written thoughts. After Tumblr-ing, I moved to WordPress and finally decided to join Medium. When it comes to expressing myself, I do it best when writing. I keep a lot to myself, yet I have a lot on my mind. …


Image for post
Image for post

A brief history of how humans have tracked time

What if I told you that I have plans to celebrate the New Year in February?

Depending on where you’re from, that last sentence may be confusing. Or you may conclude that what I really meant to write was January. In reality, I was talking about the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year.

When you’re around those who celebrate this day, you wouldn’t say “Happy Lunar New Year!” or “Happy Chinese New Year!” You’d simply say “新年快乐!” (xīn nián kuài lè), which translates to “Happy New Year!”

In other parts of the world, when the calendar switches to the 1st day of January, people won’t say “Happy Gregorian New Year!” or “Happy Western New Year!” …


Today we acknowledge you

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Wanda Sabir

Kwanzaa is an annual celebration that honors African heritage and African American culture. This holiday started in the United States in the late 1960s as a way to unify the Black American community after the Los Angeles Watts Riots and other social and political changes during this time. This 7-day celebration is observed from December 26 to January 1. Each day represents one of the seven principles that are recognized in both the Swahili and English language.

Day 1: Umoja (Unity)

Day 2: Kujichagulia (Self-determination)

Day 3: Ujima (Collective work and responsibility)

Day 4: Ujamaa (Cooperative…


As an adult living in a new country

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

A month ago, I competed in my first trampoline gymnastics competition in Taiwan at the age of 27. Those who have personally known me within the last decade and change may find that my choice to compete in this sport is quite random and different due to my recent background in competitive sports. Some people questioned why I even wanted to compete in trampoline. In reality, it’s not that far off from what I’ve already done in the past.

Quick Back Story

When I was 5-years-old, I was enrolled in recreational tumbling classes before switching to an artistic gymnastics gym. Six years later, I left the sport due to a mega growth spurt. …


A few tweaks make all the difference

Image for post
Image for post
Image Courtesy of Unsplash

It’s no secret that the modern breakfast in the United States is severely lacking in nutritional value. Collectively, we bought into the marketing propaganda and accepted it as the proper way to start the day, when in reality many of us were setting ourselves up for problems later down the road.

Those who were fed up with this way of eating started to look for alternatives and see what other countries are doing right. Living in Taiwan, reading Kaki Okumura’s article about the standard Japanese breakfast, and traveling to a few countries in this part of the world, I noticed that one’s breakfast can look the same as lunch and dinner. Even though I normally don’t eat in the mornings, Sometimes, I found myself breaking my fast (i.e. break-fast) with rice, vegetables, eggs, and/or soup. …


Martial arts are styles of combat that stem from various cultures and their traditions. In the past, the primary uses of these fighting styles were originally for war preparations, rites of passage, testing one’s courage, and combat dancing that stemmed from spiritual and folklore traditions. In modern times, most people practice martial arts for health and fitness reasons or discipline and character development.

Image for post
Image for post
Nuba Wrestling of Sudan l Photo Courtesy of Thomas Markert

When watching the various types of martial arts, one will notice many reoccurring themes in the methods of fighting: hand strikes, kicking, leg sweeps, throwing, pinning, submission holds, chokeholds, head butting, or the use of sticks, machetes, swords, and similar items that could be viewed as a weapon. Some of the more folkloric and ritualistic styles may include dance-like movements where the practitioners move to the rhythm of the music being played. …


In light of the recent documentary Athlete A

Image for post
Image for post
Image Courtesy of Unsplash

The Netflix documentary Athlete A exposed everything wrong with the culture in gymnastics. It was a system that was designed to silence and break young athletes. This system made it the perfect recipe for a pedophile like Larry Nassar to abuse hundreds of female gymnasts, the majority of them being minors for over 20 years.

While this documentary primarily focused on a scandal in USA Gymnastics (USAG), abuse cases in competitive sports are not limited to this country nor this sport. Gymnasts from Great Britain have recently spoke out about their experiences with abusive coaches as well. The documentary left many viewers angered, disgusted, saddened, and in complete shock, many people wonder if any proper changes will be made. Will an organization the USAG rebuild its system from the ground up to ensure that nothing like this will happen again? Will they run a major investigation on all of the private clubs in the United States to ensure that these club gyms are ethical and safe for the young athletes? …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Netflix

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse, Child Molestation

On June 24, 2020, Netflix released a documentary called Athlete A, a film about the USA Gymnastics scandal and its former team doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, he was sentenced to prison for sexually abusing over 200 female gymnasts, the majority being minors. Nassar was a doctor for the US women’s national team since 1986, yet serious investigations didn’t start until after the 2016 Olympic Games when The Indianapolis Star exposed the story to the public.

Athlete “A,” who has been later revealed as Maggie Nichols, a former national team member, was one of the whistleblowers that reported Nassar (in 2015) to USA Gymnastics (USAG). Instead of seeking immediate justice and prioritizing the safety of the athletes, USAG brushed the accusations under the rug and blackballed the Olympic hopeful until the organization was forced to address the mess when the story went public and Nassar was arrested after the FBI found over 30,000 images of child pornography at his home. …


I’m realizing this more and more as each day passes.

Image for post
Image for post
Image Courtesy of Unsplash

We always want what we can’t have, and I’m certainly no stranger to this. It’s always interesting when people comment on my perceived confidence. For a good percentage of my life, I lacked a lot of it. Maybe I simply have a really good finesse game when it comes to hiding insecurities, especially when it comes to body image.

My parents enrolled me in sports and other physical activities at a young age. I always wanted to be better, and even at an early age, I had the tendency to compare my Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20. When I did gymnastics, learning certain skills was extremely hard because I was much taller. Because of this, I wished I would stop growing. When I played field hockey in middle school, my endurance was really bad, so I ended up playing up not playing my preferred position. And lastly, in high school and collegiate track and field, I was more concerned with not having visible abs like my teammates instead of being happier about things such as breaking my high school’s triple jump record (that still stands today) after a year of learning the event, having my first individual win on the collegiate level, or being chosen to run the 4x400 meter relay at the Penn Relays Carnival, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, after not being in the team’s relay pool all season. …


In America and abroad

Image for post
Image for post
Image Courtesy of Unsplash

June 19, 1865, was the day that all enslaved Africans in the United States were officially freed. This day became known as “Juneteenth” or “Freedom Day.”

Within the last decade, the conversations surrounding police brutality and other forms of systemic racism has made many Black Americans reconsider celebrating holidays like American Independence Day in July and opting for Juneteenth instead since our ancestors clearly weren’t freed in 1776 or even considered a full person (see: Three-Fifths Compromise). …

About

Nicole Cooper

Self-reflections, sports, travel, and social commentary that may come with a splash of contrarianism. Twitter & IG @_nicolecoop

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store