3 Invaluable Qualities in a Best Friend

Friendship. Can't live without it.

I’m always thinking about how fortunate and grateful I am for the friends I have. From elementary school to high school to college, I have met some really amazing people, many who I now consider my good friends, my best friends. But what makes them  “good” and “best?”

I, for one, consider several of my friends my “best” friends.

Compatibility: Everyone is different and that’s a life fact. Through my years, I have met people from all different backgrounds. Yet, I have found that all of my best friends are very similar to me in many ways. For one, we enjoy doing just about all of the same things, like playing sports and watching movies. It’s always been that way since the teenage days. You’d figure that as we get older, our interests would change. And they certainly do. However, when it comes to my friends, we still enjoy doing all the same activities together, even after all these years; to be honest, I don’t think that will ever change too much. Secondly, and more importantly, in my opinion our personalities seemingly match perfectly. I’m a pretty laidback guy and very goofy when you really get to know me, and now that I think about it,  all my best friends are pretty much the same personality-wise. It’s funny because I never really think about why my best friends are in fact, my best friends. They just are. Of course, none of this is particularly new or ground-breaking in any way, but it’s important to realize that as long as you remain true to yourself, there will always be those best friends out there somewhere.

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2013: A Year to Remember

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Boy, what can I say? It’s been one heck of a year, a year for the record books. For all you fellow 2013ers, and even for all you other post-grads out there, the year of your college graduation was probably a big one. It certainly was for me. For me, 2013 signaled the end of one chapter and the beginning of another chapter of my life, as I’m sure was the case for many of you.

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6 Emotions You Feel When You Graduate College

Day 1 of Princeton's 3 day Graduation Ceremonies. Princeton was the right "fit" for me, no question.

Day 1 of Princeton’s 3 day Graduation Ceremonies. Princeton was the right “fit” for me, no question.

You’re about to graduate college. You’ve finished your last final ever. You’ve packed most of your bags. You’ve sold your futons and donated clothing you didn’t need anymore. You’ve played in your final game. You’ve confirmed that you passed all classes (whew!). You’ve partied your last night out. You’ve eaten your final meal. And then it’s graduation day. A lot of thoughts are running through your mind, a lot of emotions are waiting for their release. But you’re so caught up in that glorious moment when you’re handed that monumental piece of paper that only then does it all hit you. You can’t help but be emotional in some way, shape, or form, and for me I felt these 6 emotions:

1. Disbelief - Woah, wait a second there, where did all the time go? I thought high school went by fast, but college went by faster. We hear “time flies” all the time, but that phrase is the reality. Time really does fly. I still remember my all my firsts freshman year: my first lecture, my first practice, my first dining hall meal, my first night out, my first meeting with my roommates. It’s hard to believe that 4 years went by so quickly.

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One vs Fifty: Always Support Your Friends

Support your friends in whatever they do, whatever they enjoy, whatever they are passionate about. I could not reiterate this enough. For me, my friends have done so much to be by my side throughout my life that it’s only fitting that I do the same for them. Today, I share my one of my most memorable college experiences.

At Princeton,  a couple of my roommates played on the club ice hockey team and not on the varsity team. Unfortunately, club sports didn’t really receive any attention, and club hockey games garnered only a few home fans, at most, all season. But as I quickly got to know them better, I realized how passionate they were for ice hockey. Sure, they only played on the club level. But, much like myself and tennis, they had grown up playing hockey all the time. They were diehard NHL fans. They lived and breathed hockey as much as I lived and breathed tennis. In short, tennis was my passion, hockey was their passion. Not to mention, they had supported my college tennis career more than a friend could ask for. So, when their season began sophomore year, I attended my first hockey game.

My Princeton club hockey boys have a special place in my heart.

My Princeton club hockey boys have a special place in my heart.

Princeton Club Ice Hockey Captains, 2013 Season. George (left) and Greg (center) were my roommates and are my best friends.

Princeton Club Ice Hockey Captains, 2013 Season. George (left) and Greg (center) were my roommates and are my best friends.

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Teamwork, Chemistry, and Inseparable Bonds

Princeton Men's Tennis Pre-Match Cheer, 2011-2012 Season. Modeled after Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Princeton Men’s Tennis Pre-Match Cheer, 2011-2012 Season. Modeled after Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Teamwork is a concept that is so vital in life. Whether it’s athletics, friendships, your colleagues, or another aspect of your life, teamwork is an incredibly essential component of both team and individual success. It’s been one of the most important foundations in my life, and I’d like to share how teamwork in Prinecton Men’s Tennis has impacted my life and why teamwork in general is so crucial to happiness and success.

Tennis is an individual sport; all my life I played for myself, and myself only. All junior players do. There really is no team emphasis on the junior circuit. Each junior player strives to be better than the rest. Some strive to become a top professional player, some strive to play for the best collegiate teams in the country, and just about all strive to be ranked high nationally.

That’s why playing tennis for a college team is so unique yet that much more difficult. You’ve spent 10+ years playing for yourself with only individual aspirations in mind, and then just like that you’re on a team. While I did play for my high school, most junior players don’t do so. So for many, college tennis is their first exposure to a real team setting.

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Inspire, Learn. Most Importantly, Be Yourself

Inspire, learn. Most importantly, be yourself.

That was the 6 word memoir I wrote for Princeton’s Class Day this past June.

What I want to touch on here is being proud of who you are by “showing off” those things that mean a lot to you in your life.

What types of things, Michael?

Well, they could be anything. Your heritage, your hometown, your hobby, your favorite sports team, your school or alma mater, anything that holds a special place in your heart.  Maybe all of the above. Whatever they may be, wherever you are, there’s no reason you shouldn’t show them off.

The tennis courts of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego. I grew up here, and these courts were the starting point of the rest of my tennis career, and life for that matter.

The tennis courts of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego. I grew up here, and these courts were the starting point of the rest of my tennis career, and life for that matter.

For me, they included my hometown of San Diego. The San Diego Padres. Princeton. Tennis. Princeton Club Hockey. Those are just some of many things that have a special meaning in my life. Occasionally, whenever I was in college across the country, my friends would comment on how often I talked about San Diego, the Padres, and my high school. Naturally, when I was home during a holiday break or summer break, my hometown friends would comment on the fact that I was always wearing Princeton clothing. Of course, it was always in good fun. But it also led me to wonder, why did I “represent” those things as much as I did?

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The Beginning of the Best Four Years of Your Life

The view from my senior year dorm room at Princeton University.

The view from my senior year dorm room at Princeton University.

Today marks the official move-in day for freshmen at my alma mater, Princeton University. A truly exciting and memorable day for students, their families, faculty, and the university. The beginning of something special, extraordinary, and life-changing. A new batch of young Tigers eager to live on their own, make their mark, meet new people, and traverse that path which we call college. Oh, and no more of that 7:45 am – 2:30 pm high school stuff.

You, college freshmen, are about to embark on a journey that will challenge you, confuse you, amaze you, surprise you, drain you, and inspire you. Everything that you expected and anticipated college to be like, throw it out the window. Clear your mind and start fresh. Soak it all in at first, but be ready for all the ups and downs, lefts and rights. Embrace them. The college experience is a unique chapter in your life, and the world awaits to hear your story.

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Looking Back: What High School Tennis Meant to Me

CIF Champs! TPHS Falcons.

CIF Champs! TPHS Falcons.

For those who don’t know, high school tennis is vastly different from high school football, basketball, and baseball, at least in terms of college implications. The best high school wide receivers, point guards, and pitchers all over the country are ranked and touted by college recruiters from Division 1 colleges. How about tennis, you ask? Well, I say, it’s pretty much the opposite. Performance on one’s high school tennis team usually means little to a college coach. Whether you’re recruited or not to a high level college team depends mainly on your individual results from junior tournaments. Ability levels on a high school team can range from beginner to advanced. From my experience, I would say that a majority of advanced level players (highly ranked nationally or locally) choose not to participate in high school tennis. The reality is that many train at academies day in and day out or skip high school tennis to play more junior tournaments, with the level of schooling varying widely. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. If that’s what you want to do, if that’s what floats your boat, if that gets you to the professional level, I’m all for it. I’ll admit, that’s what often what it takes to make it on the pro tour.

I’m never the one to brag or boast, but I’ll admit that from the age of 10, I did well in tournaments and achieved a high national ranking until college came around. My successful junior career eventually led me to Princeton University Men’s Tennis and Coach Glenn Michibata, a former #1 doubles player in the world. But I couldn’t have made it that far without my high school tennis experience. No chance.

So why did I choose to play for my Torrey Pines High School Falcons? Not only did I get to represent my school, win a team championship, and put TPHS Tennis on my resume, I gained many invaluable friendships that continue to last today and will continue forever. I felt part of a special team. Part of a band of brothers. Part of a family. Sure, some of us were good, some bad, some intermediate, but the common goal to win a team championship brought us all together. All of a sudden, we were all the same.

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Throwback Thursday to the Glory Days

TBT

 

Today we are throwing it back to the glory days aka our childhood. No matter what we say and no matter how old we are, there will always be a kid lingering inside of us. Even if he comes out less and less as we grow older, nevertheless he will always still be there, in our hearts. I will always remember the glory days of:

naps in kindergarten class

sleepovers on sleepovers on sleepovers

Paying zero attention in class (a skill that evolved into a art form)

running wild during recess in elementary school 

watching my 4th grade math teacher do 100 pushups on the field (the legendary Mr. Jones)

field trips anyone?

4 square, hopscotch, and dare I say it, handball!

playing a school-wide massive game of tag on the streets of Carmel Valley (okay that was high school)

Earning stars in class!

I can’t believe I forgot kickball and tetherball. Silly me.

But most of all, fun, freedom, and food fights!

Cheers to the glory days!

Super Sunday + Aussie Open Preview

BroncosVsChargers

It’s that day. Super Sunday. Time to #BoltUp! San Diego Chargers fans have made it through another regular season full of heartbreaks, heart attacks, and so much drama that I consider the Chargers the #1 drama series of 2013. We made it to the playoffs in miraculous fashion and by sheer luck, literally. But, we didn’t stop there. We defied all odds, went on the road to Cincinnati, and shocked many analysts with an impressive road playoff victory in tough weather conditions (albeit, anything below 60 is tough for us spoiled San Diego folk). Now, it’s time to do it again. This time in Denver against a quarterback who broke every record imaginable this season. Again, nobody is picking us to win, but if anyone can do it, we can. San Diego Super Chargers, bolt up!

Australian Open

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