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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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I coached an all-girls T-ball team. They taught me more than I taught them.

They are not a novelty act.

When I was asked to be one of the coaches for an all-girls T-ball team in a league filled with boys, I didn't know what to say.

Meet the Westside Angels. All photos taken by Lauren Ravitz and used with permission.


Yes, it would be fun to be a member of my daughter's coaching staff and have her spend some quality time with her preschool classmates, but my mind started racing to other things...

"The only all-girls team in the league? Wouldn't it be intimidating to compete against boys every week? How could I possibly help these young ladies?" I thought.

"Um, yeah, sure ... count me in," I said. I wasn't quite sure what I was in for at the time, but I certainly do now that I have a few games under my belt.

Here are three things I've learned while coaching my daughter's T-ball team:

1. They reminded me how much words matter.

Right in the middle of our first practice, I found myself helping one of the girls swing the bat properly.

"OK, sweetie," I said. "Hold the bat like this."

She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and uttered, "My name's Edie."

Edie told me to check myself. And I'm glad she did.

That singular moment hit me like a ton of bricks. Although my intentions weren't malicious, I needed that wake-up call from a 4-year-old.

They aren't sweeties or honeys. They are girls with real names.

Do I want these young ladies to grow up thinking it's OK for men to address them with pet names at school, work, or anywhere else? What type of example was I setting with that "sweetie" stuff? Not a good one.

It's important to choose our words wisely when we're talking with our children because those words can have a strong effect on how they will view themselves in the future.

There will be none of this "Edie throws really hard for a girl" nonsense.

Edie just throws really hard.

Her gender doesn't matter. All I know is Edie has a rocket arm.

2. Contrary to what some people may believe, they aren't interested in being "adorable" when it's game time.

As I walked my 5-year-old daughter to the field, I asked her what she looks forward to doing during games.

That's the strut of a little girl who's ready to compete.

"First, I want to gobble up the ball (field the ball) in my glove," she said. "And then I want to keep my eye on the ball so I hit the ball, not the tee."

Then I followed up with a second question.

"Does looking cute matter to you at all when you're playing baseball?"

"No," she deadpanned. Based on the tone of her voice, it was like she said, "Why should I care about that?"

And she's right.

But when the Angels take the field on Saturdays, I notice that a lot of parents on both sides will say, "The girls are getting a chance to play! How cute!" or "Aww ... they are so adorable!"

I'll admit, it doesn't really get any more adorable than watching a group of 4- and 5-year-old girls in matching uniforms on the baseball field. It's just that these girls aren't participating in a novelty act. They want to compete, and that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

My daughter is all business on the field.

When they grow up, they'll learn that they can use that confidence and competitive spirit to be stay-at-home moms, coders, corporate leaders, or whatever their hearts desire.

3. They demonstrate one of the most important traits any kid can have: resilience.

In the interest of full disclosure, we don't really keep score during games.

It's T-ball, for crying out loud. It doesn't matter because if you're coaching 4- and 5-year-old boys or girls, getting a kid to run to first base in a straight line is a feat worth celebrating.

However, I'd be lying if I didn't keep an internal score in my head during each matchup.

And during the first week, we got smoked by the all-boys Royals team. It was baaaaaaad.

So bad, in fact, that I didn't know if many of the girls would want to come back the following week for another game against a different group of boys.

Sylvie wasn't the only Angel who wasn't happy after the opening game.

But you know what? The girls came back. All of them. They bounced back in a way that said, "That's not going to happen again."

And it didn't.

The coaching staff noticed that the girls showed an inner-toughness and a desire to learn and improve that was amazing to witness.

Speaking of which...

Their fielding improved.

Perfect fundamentals by Ashley.

Their hitting improved.

Sydney has her eye on the ball.

And they started having even more fun.

It's all smiles for Eliana as she watches her team's progress.

In a world where some people define toughness by running their mouths and talking a lot of smack, these young ladies demonstrated true toughness by getting back up after being knocked down by the game of baseball.

Because of that, I have a feeling they'll handle any curve balls that life throws at them (pun completely intended).

It's a "man's world"? Please. These young ladies know that they can compete with anyone. Including the boys.

As a dad with two daughters, I want them to believe they can do anything and be anything.

Being one of the coaches for this team reminds me that this message needs to be passed on to all of our girls. Their voices need to be heard in classrooms, living rooms, and boardrooms all over the world because whatever boys can do, they can do. Many times, even better.

Even though I'm one of the "teachers," I want to thank the Angels for reminding me how fun it is to be around (and learn from) such an amazing group of girls.

Go Westside Angels!

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Our home, from space.



Sixty-one years ago, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to make it into space and probably the first to experience what scientists now call the "overview effect." This change occurs when people see the world from far above and notice that it’s a place where “borders are invisible, where racial, religious and economic strife are nowhere to be seen.”

The overview effect makes man’s squabbles with one another seem incredibly petty and presents the planet as it truly is, one interconnected organism.


In a compelling interview with Big Think, astronaut, author and humanitarian Ron Garan explains how if more of us developed this planetary perspective we could fix much of what ails humanity and the planet.

Garan has spent 178 days in space and traveled more than 71 million miles in 2,842 orbits. From high above, he realized that the planet is a lot more fragile than he thought.

“When I looked out the window of the International Space Station, I saw the paparazzi-like flashes of lightning storms, I saw dancing curtains of auroras that seemed so close it was as if we could reach out and touch them. And I saw the unbelievable thinness of our planet's atmosphere. In that moment, I was hit with the sobering realization that that paper-thin layer keeps every living thing on our planet alive,” Garan said in the video.

“I saw an iridescent biosphere teeming with life,” he continues. “I didn't see the economy. But since our human-made systems treat everything, including the very life-support systems of our planet, as the wholly owned subsidiary of the global economy, it's obvious from the vantage point of space that we're living a lie.”

It was at that moment he realized that humanity needs to reevaluate its priorities.

“We need to move from thinking economy, society, planet to planet, society, economy. That's when we're going to continue our evolutionary process,” he added.

Garan says that we are paying a very “high price” as a civilization for our inability to develop a more planetary perspective and that it’s a big reason why we’re failing to solve many of our problems. Even though our economic activity may improve quality of life on one end, it’s also disasterous for the planet that sustains our lives.

It’s like cutting off our nose to spite our face.

Actor William Shatner had a similar experience to Garan's when he traveled into space.

"It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered," Shatner wrote. "The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna … things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind."

“We're not going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality,” Garan said.

However dire the situation looks from the surface of Earth, the astronaut has hope that we can collectively evolve in consciousness and wake up and embrace a larger reality. “And when we can evolve beyond a two-dimensional us versus them mindset, and embrace the true multi-dimensional reality of the universe that we live in, that's when we're going to no longer be floating in darkness … and it's a future that we would all want to be a part of. That's our true calling.”


This article originally appeared on 12.16.22

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Cats for sale.


These mustached Canadians decided to treat older shelter cats like used cars.

Why?


Because in a world where around 8 million pets enter shelters and only around 4 million get out, that's a lot of sad math.

used car salesman, comedy, Canada

You name it; we got it.

assets.rebelmouse.io

funny, pets, community

All makes and models of cats.

assets.rebelmouse.io

animal adoption, older pets, Calgary Humane Society

An escape attempt?

assets.rebelmouse.io

In an attempt to stop that sad math, the kind folks from the Calgary Humane Society got creative.

Humane Society, cat performers, adorable cats

The top speed of cats...

assets.rebelmouse.io

The fastest domestic cat running speed appears to be 29.8 mph. This salesman knows his product!

They got weird.

felines, kittens, social responsibility

Felines at the Human Society ready to go.

assets.rebelmouse.io

They discovered some very adept cat performers.

Hollywood, cat owners, funny cat tricks

Get yourself a pre-owned kitty.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Call Hollywood!

They pulled out all the stops to help future cat owners realize that pre-owned cats are the way to go!

And in addition to the commercial, the cats were priced to go on a very special Saturday.

kittenhood, sad math, abandoned pets

Reducing the price.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Kittens are popular. There's no way around it. They're kittens! I used to be kitten-crazy (I was a child!), but I've adopted older cats and so have my friends. They're special. They're cute. They're soulful. And instead of adorably biting your fingers until they grow up past kittenhood, older cats chill out on your couch and teach you about relaxing.

pre-owned cats, adorable pets, enjoyable commercials

The simple pleasures of cat ownership.

assets.rebelmouse.io

I'm sharing this because it might save a pre-owned cat.

We missed the Big Sale Saturday (but let's be real, pre-owned cats are always priced to go), but the love for pre-owned cats continues. And this commercial, well ... it's timeless.

And worth a watch below:

This article originally appeared on 08.29.15

Woman stole someone's window seat on plane, how to respond

Most everyone has been in a situation once or twice where you look down at your ticket while boarding your flight to double check your seat number only to find someone already sitting in your seat.

Typically the person responds respectfully and with a slight twinge of embarrassment as their error is pointed out to them. It happens to just about everyone at least once. There's no shame in accidentally sitting in the wrong seat.

But what happens when you notice someone sitting in your seat but instead of them excusing themselves from your space, they direct you to sit in their seat? Their middle seat. Unless your original seat was in the lavatory, there is likely zero world where being told to sit in the middle seat feels like an upgrade. There's nothing wrong with the middle seat per se, but unless your seat mate is your partner, friend or family member, you're squished between two strangers fighting for armrest space.


There are all sorts of qualms people have about the middle seat. Having to step over someone to get to the bathroom, having other people step over you to get to the bathroom, someone inevitably falling asleep on your shoulder. The list could go on but it just comes down to comfort, which is why many people pay for a window or aisle seat. But it can feel like you've hit the jackpot when the airline seats you in a window seat without you having to pay an upgrade fee. That's exactly what happened to this Reddit user.

The airline gods shone down on them that day and gifted them with a window seat that they were thoroughly looking forward to only to discover it occupied.

"It was an 8 hour flight, and I wanted to sleep with the wall support the window seat offers. However, when I get on the plane, a lady is in my seat. She says 'oh, I didn’t realize. You can just sit here' and points to the middle seat. I have a hard time with confrontation so I just accepted it. If this were to happen again, how do I respond," u/Hairy_Visual9339 asks.

Commenters were quick to give the timid flyer advice for future encounters with audacity filled seat mates.

Photo of airplane seats with overlay of Reddit screenshot

Photo credit: Canva/Reddit Screenshot

"No, that doesn't really work for me. I'd like my seat," one person quipped.

Another offered their own anecdote as a cautionary tale, "Made the mistake of not doing this on a train. Only one other person in whole carriage, of course it's my seat. They have a laptop set up act like I'm being very unreasonable and so I sit somewhere else. Fine whatever. Four hours into 8 hour journey and the train is now complete full. I've been forced to move seats twice already, everything is booked and I'm some desperate, seat-less vagabond with nowhere to store my suitcases, wandering the aisles in vain, despite having a perfectly good reservation."

When all else fails, tattle, "just say, "I'd rather have my window seat thanks." and if that doesn't work tell a flight attendant."

"My response is always “oh, no thank you” and I just stare at them until they move," someone shares.

Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you can't tell another adult so they can fix the situation when your discontent is being ignored, in one person's case, let the help come to you.

"Some guy tried to take my seat and stick me in his middle seat across the aisle so he could sit with his wife and teenager and I said “oh, no thank you. I picked this seat intentionally when I checked in”. He starts throwing a hissy fit, trying to get me to take his shitty middle seat and the flight attendant swooped in like a freaking goddess, and told him to move. He goes to the other side, still bitching, and banged his head on the luggage compartment so hard that three rows worth of people audibly gasped," says a commenter.

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.


"My daughter's kind of envious of my boys," Hemsworth told Ellen. "She came to me the other day, and she's like 'You know, Papa, I want one of those things that Sasha and Tristan have.' And I'm like, 'What do you mean?' She said, 'You know the things in between their legs that you have.'"

Hemsworth said he tried to explain the differences between male and female bodies, but his daughter wasn't having it.

"She goes, 'I really want one!' Hemsworth said. "I'm like, 'A penis?' And she's like, 'I want a penis!'

And then, Hemsworth had the best possible response. He recalls:

She's four and I'm like, 'You know what, you can be whatever you want to be.' And she goes, 'Thanks, Dad.' Runs off into the playground and that was it.

And then, I cannot confirm, but I'm pretty sure the Ellen audience did this:

Major kudos to Hemsworth for taking a potentially awkward parenting situation and turning it into a lesson about love and acceptance.

You can watch the full clip here:

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18

Democracy

A police officer makes a profound statement after pulling over a Black teen

The teen’s emotional response hit him like a punch to the gut.


“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value."

In October 2016, that was a quote from Albert Einstein that sat atop the Facebook page of Tim McMillan, a police officer in Georgia.

McMillan become a sensation after a post he wrote on his Facebook wall went viral in 2016. In his post, he explains how he pulled over a Black teen for texting while driving:



“I pulled a car over last night for texting and driving. When I went to talk to the driver, I found a young black male, who was looking at me like he was absolutely terrified with his hands up. He said, 'What do you want me to do officer?' His voice was quivering. He was genuinely scared," McMillan wrote.

Police officer Facebook post

Officer Tim McMillan talks about pulling over a Black teen

Image via Facebook

But McMillan said he wasn't interested in harassing or arresting the young man, let alone inflicting violence upon him. Nonetheless, the teen's emotional response hit McMillan like a punch to the gut.

“I just looked at him for a moment, because what I was seeing made me sad. I said, 'I just don't want you to get hurt.' In which he replied, with his voice still shaking, 'Do you want me to get out of the car.' I said, 'No, I don't want you to text and drive. I don't want you to get in a wreck. I want your mom to always have her baby boy. I want you to grow up and be somebody. I don't even want to write you a ticket. Just please pay attention, and put the phone down. I just don't want you to get hurt,'" he wrote.

McMillan said the interaction made him reflect on a deeply personal level about the national attention being paid to acts of police violence against Black Americans, particularly young Black men.

“I truly don't even care who's fault it is that young man was so scared to have a police officer at his window. Blame the media, blame bad cops, blame protestors, or Colin Kaepernick if you want. It doesn't matter to me who's to blame. I just wish somebody would fix it."

This story originally appeared on GOOD.


This article originally appeared on 08.31.18