Thursday, September 28, 2017

Let's Keep Breaking Glass Ceilings Ladies

This NFL season has brought a lot of things to light. I am not going to focus on the hatred that NFL players are getting for using their right to protest and express their opinions. Instead, I'm going to focus on the major glass ceiling that women in sports journalism broke this season thanks to Beth Mowins.

For the first time in 30 years, there is a woman play-by-play commentator for the NFL. To say I am one proud woman right now would be an understatement. To see women in such a male-dominated field that I thoroughly love to continue to break stereotypes is truly amazing. Beth Mowins is showing to little girls of this upcoming generation that truly anyone can call football games.

Unfortunately, there are people in this world that feel that women can't be just as knowledgeable or even more knowledgeable about sports, specifically football, than a man. "A woman can't call football. She's never played the sport."

Then say that to the many men in the field that haven't played a sport past the age of 14. There are PLENTY of men in this field, some of my colleagues and friends, who haven't played a sport since they were in middle school. However, because they're men, they won't get statements like Beth is getting or any female sports reporter for that fact.

But let's get away from the negatives. This is a massive ceiling that women in this field have broken through, finally. There's still a long way to go, but everything starts with baby steps. Look at CBS Sports having the first all-female run sports show, including producer and director. Doris Burke has become a massive name that people associate with the NBA. We're making strides.

Some day, I would love to see a female NFL play-by-play and color commentator. I would love to see the same in the NBA. The MLB made strides with Jessica Mendoza. I would love to see a bigger presence of women in the NHL. There's still so much more that we as women and as sports reporters that we can accomplish. For now, we must give Beth Mowins the much deserved thank you for making a massive step towards the future.

Let's keep breaking ceilings ladies, in all fields.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

KarliBell33 & Peanut Tillman

On all of my platforms, my handle for everything for my personal brand is KarliBell33. Many people have asked me what the 33 stands for, and there's two reasons as to why I have 33 on the end of my handle: 1) @KarliBell is not available because someone who's never tweeted has that handle (rude) and (2) that number has been a part of my life since I was a kid.

I could just give you the short and sweet answer, but I'm going to explain it in depth. For those who know me know that I played sports at the competitive/organized level ever since I could walk until about my junior year of high school. Basketball was my main love, travelling all over of the region playing that sport.

The first team I was on that was considered competitve was my grade school team in 4th/5th grade. We were allowed to choose our own number. Because I had the ego I did, I chose No. 1. That ego is still here, but it's in check now. In 5th grade, someone ended up taking that number, because we were getting brand new jerseys. At this time, a certain cornerback by the name of Charles "Peanut" Tillman joined the Chicago Bears. He was my absolute favorite player next to Brian Urlacher on the Bears during this time, and he wore No. 33.

At the time, I chose the number solely based on the athletic ability of Peanut and didn't know much about him. As I grew older and became a bigger and bigger fan of the Bears and of football in general, I started reading about what he's done in the community and for his family.

I remember when news was circulating about how his daughter had to go through some pretty rough times with her health. When he was interviewed about this, I remember seeing someone that wasn't just an athlete; he was a very humble, kind, caring human being that was blesssed with athletic talent. He goes through the same struggles as everyone else, but what struck me the most was his humbleness.

Peanut has always been a great football player. His stats can prove that. However, the impact he's made on the communities he's lived in, especially Chicago, are innumberable. The impact that he's made on me personally as an adult is incredible.

Through his actions, he shows how to lead people and how to gain respect. He showed that egos shouldn't get inflated. Take everything you get as a blessing, because it can be taken from you as fast as it was given to you. He is truly an inspiring individual and just a phenomenal image of great character. Even after his career, he gives back to the community and is still horribly influential to people at all ages.

Now, with him being in the broadcast circle, I look up to him even more. He teaches me new things about the game every Sunday. He's so personable through the camera, and I try to copy my own camera presence off of his. He shows pure confidence and swagger on air, and it's a beautiful combination I wish I had.

I did meet him once when I was about 11 years old at the Chicago Bears convention. I have his autograph on my very first Bears hat that sits in the Bears Alley in the basement of my parents' house. I just remember him sitting there, signing autographs for what seemed like for him hours, but he still had a smile on his face and greeted every fan with enthusiasm and happiness. I would love to meet him again as an adult and, God willing, as a professional.

I know No. 34 is for Sweetness, but No. 33 is for Peanut. It always will be. Thank you Tillman for being such an influence in my life in ways I never expected. Thank you for continuing to spread your message to others through your charity and everything you do for the community. You may not punch out pigskins anymore, but you are punching a phenomenal message and mindset to not only myself but to everyone you meet.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Jordan Year

Guys...I'm 23 now. This is actually insane. I would be lying if I said I think I'd make it this far. Absolutely not. Life is ever-changing. You never know what'll happen one day. People always like to focus on the negative now (Thanks, Trump). Instead, take a moment to reflect on how great of a year it's been for you, personally. That's what I plan on doing in this month's blog.

This past year has been a whirlwind for me. I graduated from college, got a job in my field, moved away from home, made some new friends, lost some old ones and made phenomenal memories. I still cannot comprehend that I'm a college graduate. If you would have asked me sophomore year of college if I would graduate, I would have said no. I was a screw-up, making horrible decisions and it all came back to bite me in the butt later in life. I learned from that.

I have job. I'm employed AND in the field I studied. That's still a dream for me. I'm making moves in the field of sports journalism and plan to keep doing so. Waking up everyday and being able to talk about sports for a living is still amazing. It's not a job. I'm just living and it's awesome.

I moved away from home. If you asked me in senior year if I would move down to Kentucky, I would have looked at you like you're nuts. Yet, here I am. To say this culture shock was necessary for me mentally is an understatement. It's always great to learn about different cultures and realize that not everyone is as blessed as you were is humbling. I'm not saying you need to move to a town of 6,000 people to do so, but for me, fate put me here. I just got to ride it.

I've made lifelong friends this past year. I met the squad in Nate, Tyler, Lou, AJ, Mulvin, Tim, Dave, Elisa and Kaila. I met Caleb, Josh, Marcus, Jarrett and other coworkers that have turned into friends. Friendships between Krista, Angela and I grew stronger. John Noble, Jordan and I still talk on a regular basis. I met Ray, Will, Kelz, Chris, Darrell, Bo, Brandon and others out in the field that I see regularly. I've travelled all over Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio and Indiana this past year. I got to come back home for 12 days and loved every second of it. I caught up with old friends in Katie, Ashley, Jake, Mike and Isabel. I've networked with plenty of other sports guys in Lexington and Louisville.

I got to experience new things, like covering UK basketball, football and softball. I covered state tournaments for basketball and football. I finally got to see The Grateful Dead and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. I've met new people at bars back home and in Ohio.

All in all, it's been a phenomenal year for me. Like Jordan, I'm going to keep grinding to see where I'll be next year at this time. I may still be in Kentucky. I may in Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Canada, England. Wherever fate takes me next. It's time to get back and focus on the next day.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's 2017. Wake Up.

It's honestly quite frustrating to log into social media nowadays. Not only is it filled with people giving their unsolicited political opinions on what they think Trump is doing wrong or right, but it's filled with a 1920s mindset. I'm sick of it. I witness it daily not only online but in daily life. I'm done.

IT. IS. 2017. WAKE. UP.

It has been almost 100 years since women were allowed to vote. It's been 53 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed. HOWEVER, I still witness sexism and racism every single day. The only thing that is different is our reproductive organs and our skin color. But every day, I see a minority discriminated.

An idea can come from a woman, but unless it comes out of a man's mouth, it is not heard. A black man can have the same idea, but unless it comes out of a white man's mouth, it is not heard. I'm done with this. I'm sick of it. It is 2017.

Why do we feel the need to treat others differently based on their reproductive organs or skin color? We all bleed. We all breathe. We all live. We all die. We are just humans. Culturals differences aside, we are just humans. We are just creatures that are all trying to get through the day like everyone else. Treat each other as such.

I'm not saying we should be color blind or not see gender. Not at all. We all need to recognize that we come from different backgrounds and different upbringings. Instead of discriminating against it, embrace that difference. Learn more about the culture. Learn more about the gender barrier. Learn more about what makes us different.

I understand many Americans (and people across the globe) now believe that this country is more segregated because of Trump. Fine. Whatever. Political stance aside, prejudice did not just start this election season. The racism, sexism and prejudice has been around for centuries. Trump did not start it nor will he end it. You know who will?

We will.

I'm so sick and tired of seeing it. Why is it weird that I'm a white woman with friends of different races and sexualities? They're just humans that I get along with and have common interests. Why are people afraid of meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures? Those differences is what make us all unique individuals and humans.

I'm done with it. Get over your ego. Get over yourself. You are not that special. You are just a human that's trying to live everyday. That's what everyone else is.

Realize that you're just a human with the same heart, lungs and bones as everyone else in this world. Get rid of your ego, drop your mentalities and just realize that we're all trying to live.

It's 2017. Let's act like it.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Four Years!

Four years ago, I started this blog to just give me an independent outlet to write whatever came to my mind. I laugh at how I thought I would write something each week. I still laugh at that to this day.

When I first started writing, I really didn't know what I wanted this to become. At first, I was writing about viral things as a way to get clicks. My mind was focused on getting clicks and getting views. I considered starting a podcast to go along with this as well as a YouTube channel as a way to just go "viral." I had no real idea of what this blog would be.

Once I decided to make it a monthly blog, it gave me time to evaluate what Karli With A K would be. I kept looking at this as a way to become "famous" on the internet. Don't ask why I had that mindset. I'm really embarrassed I used to think like that.

Now, I've turned this blog into a way to shed light on issues that I care about or to show how stupid people can be (the latter is my favorite). People have always referred to me as a female Stephen A. Smith. That's right Dani Dean; I will never forget that on-air reference during Hardwood Heroes. You want to know what's great? I revel in that.

I'm here to 1) vent about random ish that happens in my life, (2) talk about controversial subjects to get you, the reader, talking, and (3) just be me. Who does that the best? Stephen A.

I kept trying to make this blog into something that would go viral instead of making it represent the writer. I'm a loud, outgoing, sports-loving Chicagoan who's a feminist. That's what this blog has become and I love it.

So thank you for wanting to read my rants and opinions each and every month for the past four years. I plan to keep this going as I continue my profession. I plan on keeping my Bears podcast, Under The Helmet, going as long as I can. I plan to keep on writing my book (that's right people. Been keeping that one from you for a while). I plan to keep growing in my profession and want to keep you informed on my journey.

Happy four years!

Monday, April 24, 2017

20 Lessons I've Learned After College

It's been a full year since I left the paradise of Athens, Ohio as a college student. During my almost full year as a semi-functioning adult, I've learned some great lessons that I feel I should pass on to you readers. Enjoy.

1. Student loans are really awful.

2. Don't stress about not having a job when you walk across the stage. It'll come your way.

3. Nothing will ever be cheaper than college bar drinks. NOTHING.

4. Free food still exists in the real world. Thank God.

5. Friendships will fade but family will always be there with full support, even if they think you're doing something stupid.

6. Take risks. If that means moving to a place you never expected (aka my life), it will be worth it in the long run.

7. Don't stop networking. Keep it going in the real world. You never know what opportunities will come your way.

8. I'm almost 23 and I still have to call my mom to deal with adult problems, which is totally normal. Moms are superheroes. Mama Bell is a blessing.

9. Coffee and melatonin are still necessities in the real world and not just for finals week.

10. Don't just lose contact with friends, because you don't see them every day on campus. Keep in touch with them. Those conversations over FaceTime or through Snapchat are sometimes needed on a Wednesday at 1 a.m. when you're bugging out.

11. SAVE. MONEY. Seriously, learn to budget.

12. Accept other people and other cultures, even if you disagree. Differences in cultures, races, genders, sexualities and ethnicities is what makes the world so phenomenal.

13. I still haven't used the Pythagorean Theorem since algebra my freshman year of high school.

14. Try your best to learn about taxes, 401ks, retirement and benefits before you enter the real world and have to call your dad to explain it to you when you get a random piece of mail that makes no sense to you. Love you Dad.

15. Spend 30 minutes a day off your phone and just relax, whether that be a good breakfast, a nice cup of coffee or watching Seinfeld before going to work.

16. Treat people with basic human respect. You may not like the person, but they're still a human. Treat them as such.

17. Work does not equal a best friend club, BUT if you didn't know that before entering the working world, then you're already way behind.

18. Learn the basics of car repair, i.e. knowing how to change a flat tire.

19. Patience is everything. Yelling at a computer for freezing on you five minutes before deadline will not make the computer fix itself faster. Believe me, I've tried.

20. Love your job and love what you do. If you don't enjoy the job you wake up for every day, then why enter the working world? Get something that makes you excited to get up at any time of day and take on the world. Do I enjoy getting up at 6 a.m. on random days throughout the week? No, but the reason I get up, which is my fantastic job, is what makes it all worth it.

Monday, March 13, 2017

These "Poster Christians" Need To Stop

For my father's sake, I will say that I am a religious person, but I consider myself to be more spiritual. I do not like organized religion, because I believe it does more harm than good. Mind you, this is coming from a woman who was raised in a converted Catholic family and was in Catholic school from first grade all the way through high school. 

My family is very religious. We attend Mass every week and every Holy Day of Obligation. We learned new things about the faith through school and my father's vastly expanse knowledge on Catholicism and religion as a whole. However, the one thing that my dad taught me and something I still abide by to this day is that the best way to show your faith and honor God is through actions and acting like a good person.

Yes, that is extremely hard, but it is something that I try to abide by as much as I can. HOWEVER, ever since I moved from Chicago to Kentucky, the amount of what I like to call "poster Christians" is far too high and need to stop. What is a "poster Christian?" I will tell you my interpretation of this phrase that I decided to coin to label these people. A "poster Christian" is the Christian that will shove God and religion down your throat, either verbally or through their RIDICULOUS amount of social media posts, about how God is the only way to be happy. However, these same people that throw this at you constantly will then do the exact opposite of what they're preaching about and be a straight hypocrite.

Ever since I moved into the Bible Belt (although I do not consider Kentucky to be the Bible Belt), these types of people are EVERYWHERE. Yes, I do not personally attend Mass every week because of my own reasons. However, when I get asked, "What religion are you?" and I say that I find myself to be a more spiritual person, these same people come at me and throw their Protestant faith down my throat and say that I'm not a good person, because I don't go to Mass every week. Also, why do you need to know how I identify religiously? That's already an odd question to ask when you initially meet someone.

Excuse me, I did not ask to get a Bible lesson from you, sir or ma'am. Also, doesn't God teach in your oh so revered book that you must treat everyone with kindness and forgiveness? So, by you criticizing my difference in religion and for not being a part of the cookie cutter religions, you, therefore, are doing the opposite of what you are taught in your church or faith.

That's only one example. Then there are the people who find a way to take a damn ThoughtCatalog listicle or an Odyssey article and spin it around to say that only God is the way you'll find a husband. WHAT? Are you kidding me? It's a ThoughtCatalog article people, not a religious article off a spiritual website. Calm down. You are the people that irritate me the most.

If I wanted to get a Bible lecture every day, I can call my father, a priest, a deacon, a monk or a nun and ask them questions. I did not log on to Facebook to see your manipulative changing of words so you can shove God down my throat about how the only way I will find a husband is through God. Pretty sure God wasn't at a bar, a concert, a frat party, etc. when two people met and fell in love.

It's you, these "poster Christians," that are creating more division and creating more hypocrisy than ever. Your social media posts may say that you're devout, kind, caring and accepting of all people, but your day-to-day action show the complete opposite. Pretty positive that God isn't going to check how many Bible quotes you've tweeted or posted as Facebook statuses to see whether or not you'll cross the Holy Gates. 

If you identify as a Christian, then the purpose of being Christian is to love, be kind and accept all people from all backgrounds. You must treat all people the way you would want to be treated. So, if you wanted to be treated like a hypocrite, then keep doing what you're doing. However, if you want to be treated the way that your social media posts proclaim, then stop posting about it online and just pass along love and positivity to one another. Stop being a poster child and feel the need to try and convert people through manipulative re-wording of an article written by a college student as a venting mechanism.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Let's Make Social Media Positive Again

So Facebook, back when I was in high school, was a place for us to post terribly editied pictures, study guides for classes, PHENOMENAL memes and links to YouTube videos. That platform, obviously, has changed a lot since 2008, both positively and negatively.

I still get my daily dose of adorable animals and memes, but I also get a daily dose of constant bickering back and forth about the most miniscule things. Politics seem to be the go-to subject for so many people, because political opinions as your Facebook status will obviously fix the issues.

It's also a place of pure negativity, insults and straight awful-ness (yes, I just made up a word. Deal with it). You can post something as simple as a kid busting moves to a bomb beat. You get mostly love from people UNTIL that one person just has to say something negative about the kid. They comment on their clothes, hair, appearance and even race. The amount of just blatantly prejudiced and racist comments that I see now is absurd.

For example, I shared a video of James Corden talking to Andy Samberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about the Tooth Fairy. I swear to God; the Tooth Fairy. It was a comical anecdote about how kids will use rational logic to figure out whether or not the Tooth Fairy is real. Tyson spoke about his own kid, and he made a joke saying, "This is how adults should behave." I laughed my butt off when I heard it. So I shared it to spread positivity and comedy on a platform that has now become the center of political opinions and straight negativity.

The comment string then led into an argument about how parents shouldn't tell their kids about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa, etc. You catch my drift. What started off as a simple joke then turned into people twisting it into a way to push across their political agenda or their moral/ethical code. WHY.

The point of social media is to connect to people across the world and share moments of your life with them. It's a way to share information. It's a way to see more cute puppy videos (I swear I follow more dog accounts than I do people). It's a way to spread positivity, not your uninvited political spout about the Tooth Fairy.

I've noticed this ACROSS THE BOARD of all social platforms. Twitter is where most people have "keyboard courage." These people can make fake accounts where their name is not attached to it and just start straight bashing of other people for the most ridiculous things. Look at what Beyonce fans do. You tweet one negative thing about Beyonce, and her fan base will come after you with everything they have. WHY. It's an artist. People can have a difference of opinion.

Instagram is just as bad. A celeb can post a picture of just them sitting with their family. Then that one person just has to comment something like "Wow. You're really ugly in this picture. You should delete." SON....SHUT UP. No one asked for your negativity to enter their life. Get it out of here.

The worst types of people are YouTube commenters. The people that actually take the time to write out hateful comments on a sketch video really need to find a better use of their time. These people can turn a video about a Chicago accent into a platform for their own religious beliefs. NO ONE ASKED YOU FOR IT. Just keep it to yourself. Scream it into a pillow if need be. Vent to one of your friends about it. Go on SnapChat rants, which is my personal favorite outlet when I come across stupidity.

I don't remember social media being this negative until these past three to four years. It was never this bad back when I first joined social media. Everyone just loved you for doing what interests you and wanting to share it with others. If people wanted to hear people yell about their political views, they can watch people like Tomi Lahren or Bill Maher. Get both ends of the spectrum at least.

Can we all try to make social media positive again? Instead of seeing political whinings or boastings about what your political party did or did not do, can we just spread love to people? Share a puppy video. Share a video of little kids getting into the arts. Share sports moments with each other. Share memes about the Dallas Cowboys. Let's get rid of this keyboard courage. If you're not strong enough to put your face and name to a comment that you want to make online, should you really be making that comment?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

6 Months Away From Home

For those who don't know, I moved from Chicago to a tiny, little town in the middle of Eastern Kentucky for a job. I have yet to go back to Chicago since I moved here about six to seven months ago. HOWEVER, I never expected to enjoy a small town as much as I have.

I moved from the metropolis of over nine million people to a town of just about 6,000. Talk about a culture shock. When I first moved here, I was just stuck in a hole. I kept going up to Athens to see my old friends, I rarely left my apartment on my days off, and I just felt really out of place. I was a 6' tall Chicagoan who moved to the South, so I felt SUPER out of place.

I would go out on stories and cover high school and college athletes. I would make on average an hour drive to get these interviews and get to know these kids. The one thing that just kept showing itself over and over again is the amount of poverty in this part of the state. I would see delapidated houses, lawns that are unkept, hundreds of torn up mobile homes and just poverty stricken homes. But then, I would meet these kids, and they would blow my mind.

These kids, especially the high schoolers, are struggling through so much and have so many extra responsibilities that I didn't have growing up. I was blessed to grow in the city with so many options to help the family when I could. But these kids are just having a smile on their face, practice and play their butts off, and keep living their life to the best of their ability.

I never thought these high schoolers would be as influential on me as they have been. They have so many dreams and aspirations and they don't let their location get in the way. I had the privilege to live in such a big city and have so many opportunites at my disposal. These kids are scraping by to just be a success, and it's truly inspiring.

These parents of these kids are even more impressive. They sacrifice everything to make sure their baby can get the new gear for practice or take them all over the country so they can grow as athletes. I've interviewed so many parents and teenagers, and all of them have touched me in some way.

When I first moved here, I was a snob. I thought I was better than all these people down here, because I came from Chicago. I was stuck up. I admit that. Now that I've been here as long as I have, I realized that I'm not better than anyone else. These kids are all trying to acheive the same goals I had when I was their age. These kids have humbled me, and I never thought a small town would have that much of an impact on my life.