Camp Shock Top
September 28, 2017

Shock Top swag

Safety first

There were no raindrops/we popped off tops/on plenty of Shock Top. Hannn. Chill, chill I will give you that for FREE. Don’t mind me I was a rapper in my past dream. September 21 – September 24 of twenty seventeen is going down in the book of one the most memorable adventurous weekends. Curtsy to Shock Top for teaming up with Camp No Counselors for all of the campers to experience a care-free, fun filled weekend filled with laughter, competition, partying and making new friends while adulting. If you have not been camping as an adult I guarantee you will add it to your bucketlist after viewing how LIT it was. 

Even if you did not go camping as a kid you will enjoy the experience better as an adult. For one you make your own schedule, two you can drink and three there is no curfew. Let me set the scene for the whole weekend imagine temperature in the high 80’s, sunny on the beautiful camp resort in Paradox, NY at South Woods private residence. Stay with me this experience is was a real test to see how long you can disconnect and be within the moment. As there was limit access to phone reception although I did find two spots that gave me access to my luvies back home. However, the more you start to appreciate your surroundings your phone simply becomes a camera and your notifications pile up.

Dear Mama last night at adult camp…

Bunk beds become your place to rest your head and meetup spot with your bunkmates before heading to daily activities. The activities ranged from arts ‘n crafts (I made some splashy futuristic limited edition CHANEL sunnies. They retail at $921.24 LOL), kick/dodgeball, basketball, beach volleyball and archery (so you can live your best life acting out a character from the Walking Dead). The watersports included: Wakeboarding, Slip ‘N Slide, Water Skiing, Tubing and more. Here is where adulting comes in when you see it is time for HAPPY HOUR! From vodka to whiskey whatever your heart desired and not to mention Shock Top beer which was used in the many flip cup games throughout the weekend. 

Pure stomach joy

The real MVPs of the weekend

The variety of the meals were amazing it was pure stomach joy as you knew it was time by the sound of the gong. I commend the staff for making sure every meal topped the previous one. From the breakfast spread of BACON (do I need to express my love for BACON? Nope, cool I just happen to write it twice and in all caps), pancakes, waffles, a fresh fruit bar, mushroom and olive eggs to the breakfast sandwiches accompanied with Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s. Onto the burgers and ribs being thrown on the grill, with the tato salad on the side. What I didn’t get a picture of was the thick scrumptious tender juicy steak my camera retired to take a nap at that point in time.

The night time provided the opportunity to star gaze in the soccer field I was in awe and just appreciated how beautiful the simplicity of time was. I spotted a shooting star, the Big dipper and the Milky Way if the temperature did not drop so much I would’ve probably slept out there. It was so relaxing that my eyes needed to rest from all of the motion during the day. Cheers to me for not wiping out while tubing no matter how many waves were hit. I’m splashy or whatever lol. 

The color war games and apache relay race was a great opportunity to rep your weekend set and my team just happen to be the CHAMPIONS. We pretty much predicted it from the beginning as our chant was “We always come first.” Artistic creativity, athleticism and teamwork was definately put to the test. At one point we were in last place and we clawed back. Who could forget the 70’s Disco and 90’s era costumed themed parties. To relive many trends that are being recycled and even many that were forgotten.

Team flag competition

Beep me 911, or call me on my cellphone. I’ll call you back. 90’s party

Bar camp experience illustrations.

What is camp without sitting by the fire side and eating S’MORES (another all caps you get it no explanation needed 🙂 – The acknowledgment and awarding ‘The Supreme Cream Machine’ team as medals were distributed; as we appropriately came FIRST. The crowning of the standouts for the weekend campers were all well deserved. The talent show started with a tone setting poem that was significantly prevalent and to follow many surprises and showstoppers displayed everything from dancing, karaoke and interactive sing-a-longs.

The Champs are here! Supreme Cream Machine.

Friendship bracelet in the making

Overall, I had a great weekend, met some real talented creatives who are down to Earth people who shared an unforgettable encounter as we bonded, assisted and cheered one another on. Will I go adult camping again? YES, there are 15 other locations to conquer. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and routine to go adult camping? For more information visit https://www.campnocounselors.com and let the adventures begin. Don’t forget to smile today there is so much to be appreciative of. Until next time peaceeee.

Don’t act like you forgot (life after Basketball being my identity)
July 31, 2017

Good morning! Let’s go back, back to when I was captain of my Junior High School basketball team at then WestSide Academy. A fierce, diminutive leader who did not let anyone off easy. I was the confident one who signed autographs on request and my yearbook was filled with comments stating see you in the NBA or you will be a superstar in the WNBA. 

This is not my first trophy but my first experience being taking under the wing of a coach who was more like a father figure in the likes of the late Edwin Rosa. He was every players hero because he went above and beyond for you. He was intense, enforcing and keenly interested in your studies. Was this my first trophy no but one of the most meaningful ones because it was under his coaching. I also played at and for Riverbank, Gauchos, Rucker Park, Douglas, Exodus, Milbank and countless other places I’m from Harlem so you seen me play on somebody court before.

My first trophy was in P.S. 180 elementary school beating out all of the boys in suicide. I was a quiet, timid and learned by sight little girl. But when basketball was the topic; I became a different person I lit up with confidence, strength and assurance after hearing comments before anyone saw me perform on the court. I would hear “you’re too little” when I told my late Uncle Ken he gave me the best advice in life. He asked my stats I told him my points, assists and steals. He replied what about rebounds, blocks, charges and I stated “I am just a point guard Uncle Ken.” He said “no you are a student of the game, I watch you study plays and imitate it to perfection. Chanel, you are not too little to do anything in life. You are a player on the court that plays with passion that is bigger than your actual size.

Work on being an all around player and report back to me with the stats I asked for.” Is this a challenge? Everyone knows I am competitive, passionate and protective with anything I love. Basketball was my first love, besides my first love. During my time of coming up while playing basketball I was always the only female so you know I always had something to prove. Here is a portion of my story life after basketball and all that it has taught me in my chat with Rachel Piazza.

I never went to basketball camp I just watched The Knicks games with my mother and mimicked what I saw them do in the park. I was always the only girl. This is me in Junior High School; West Side Academy. This was right before I received my scholarship to St. Michael’s Academy. My monthly tuition was definitely someone’s rent. I don’t know how my mother did it but she believed in me.

Rachel Piazza: Hi Chanel! Can you tell me a little about your athletic background?

Chanel (Speedy): Hi Rachel! Sure. I played basketball since I was in elementary school (P.S. 180) and back then I was the only girl on the team. I earned several nicknames, trophies, traveled and medals. The nickname that stuck with me was “Speedy” at SUNY Old Westbury I was a play maker and defensive specialist all 4 years. The phrase I would chant to get everyone hype was “SIT!” As in sit in a defensive stance to get the team motivated and crowd into it.

Rachel: That’s great! Do you feel like you were a confident player?

Chanel (Speedy): Thanks! I was most definitely a confident player many underestimated me because I am diminutive but I played with a lot of heart and out hustled everyone because basketball was my passion.

Basketball gave me confidence in life because it made you develop problem solving skills, a broader view for presentation and life tactics that you can utilize on a daily basis. Basketball has shaped a majority of my life because you get to learn sportsmanship, social skills, leadership as a point guard, responsibility as I served as a captain and respect for rules and regulations. It prepared me for life scenarios in a way no other recreation has.

Rachel: Were you confident in your abilities on the court?

Chanel (Speedy): I took pride in being on the court and helping my teammates in anyway I could. I was that energy spark player you needed on the court to change the games momentum, get key steals and stops.

My abilities on the court gave my confidence a boost because being a visual player I would study my opponent and attack their weaknesses. Being that I was both fast, ambidextrous and had a series of moves including an in and out that allowed me space away from my defender. Basketball taught many lessons through wins and defeats but it definitely made me more aware of my self belief, awareness and overcoming the obstacles of people doubting my natural skill and abilities due to my size.

Rachel: Do you think basketball gave you confidence in your life?

Chanel (Speedy): Basketball gave me confidence to play against guys and girls alike who were older, stronger and more experienced than me and challenge them in competition because I knew I was quicker, more disciplined and had a greater basketball IQ. I had some great coaches that groomed me into the player I am. I didn’t have any formal training, attend any camps when I first started out everything was visual and me imitating plays from what I saw watching Knicks games. 

John Starks was my favorite player later A.I. My coach Edwin Rosa saw potential in me and worked on my game. There weren’t a lot of buzz about female athletes when I first started but I followed Sheryl Swoopes when she was in Texas and she was dubbed the female MJ. Later a break through came and the WNBA came along after the defunct ABA and sneaker deals were given and more exposure. It gave me more confidence that it was more than a recreational pastime it could be a possible career.

Rachel: Thank you Chanel!

Chanel (Speedy): You’re welcome. I wish you the best in your present and future endeavors. Thank you for being a beaming light for fighting for women equality.

Life is about wins but learning from your loses no matter what angle it comes from in life. Be it a person, game, scenario etc you have to adjust and incorporate it as a lesson in order to navigate. If I just had the skill of basketball and not honed other skills my life after basketball which ended in me getting hurt practicing in L.A. with the Sparks this would be a where are they now interview. 

Which is similiar to the correlation of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love and Basketball character Tanya Randall. I did not want to be Tanya Randall. My advice to every woman in basketball is never go Tanya Randall (chuckles sorry I think in movies and songs that was a Jay Z 4:44 reference). Alongside my vision for myself, my mother and grandmother’s teaching I took education seriously which landed me scholarships and Sallie Mae don’t know my name (you have to sing that in Trey Songz voice LOL). Why do I play all day!

However, honing other skills is important we as women do not make as much as men so we have to work harder, smarter and secure Plan B, C and D until something is fulfilling for financial stability. I refuse to be placed in a box of creativity or occupation. My mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be at the age of 4 and I believed her. I am an entrepreneur, mentor, writer, public speaker, author, media specialist and the list goes on. My name is Chanel “Speedy” and this is my life after basketball. Don’t act like you forgot. I still have a mean in and out to get pass you haha. Don’t forget to smile today!

Chanel “Speedy”

​Rachel Piazza is a women’s rights advocate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt training at Unity Jiu-Jitsu School in New York City.  Rachel has a master’s degree in women’s & gender studies and leads feminist self-defense workshops for women and girls. Rachel’s analysis on the empowerment of women through martial arts has been featured in numerous online outlets, including ESPN.com.

As a co-founder of Young Feminists & Allies, the National Organization for Women’s first virtual chapter, Rachel’s work reaches beyond the realm of self-defense. In addition to herTEDx talk on sexist language, her feminist analysis has been sought at national conferences, and in digital media platforms on various topics including race, pop-culture, and politics.

Twitter: @rachelapiazza

Website: http://www.feministselfdefense.com

Email rachel at femselfdefense@gmail.com

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