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My dream was to play for Aberdeen Football Club first team; I was over half way there, I had been with Aberdeen Youth Football Club for six years. I loved the training sessions, the team spirit, the bond between all of us was unbreakable. I never thought this would have happened, never· a phone call which would change my life forever.
I had just come home from training. My house was dead silent until a very familiar ring echoed through the walls of my house.
I was waiting for it to stop but it kept ringing. Dad obviously thought it was a sales call, so he ignored it, but it went on and on, eventually he answered the phone. I could tell by the tone of his voice and the stuttering of words that took place after every breath that something was not right. Tiny droplets of sweat started to trickle down my face, I couldn’t stop my leg anxiously bouncing up and down, and I was getting very worried.
I heard the words slowly spill out of dad’s mouth saying “so that’s it over”. My heart sank, I felt gut wrenchingly sick, it felt like my stomach was doing the pole vault. My heart started to beat uncontrollably. I automatically thought the worst. Has someone died in my family? Has a family member got a deadly disease like cancer? Are my parents getting a divorce? Dad called me downstairs; I could sense something appalling had happened.
He then proceeded to tell me that I had been released from Aberdeen Football Club. At first I could not believe what he was telling me, I loved football it was my life. One phone call to dad, the coaches could not even tell me in person that I was not good enough. I was absolutely furious, I ran upstairs and got all of my football kits and threw them out of my room. I felt betrayed and instantly wanted revenge. There was nothing my parents could say or do to make things better, I was so angry I did not want to speak to anyone, my future was ruined.
The next morning, I did not want to go to school, I was a member of the Scottish Football Association’s Performance School and all my friends at school played for Aberdeen. I did not want to see them. Mum kept telling me I had to face them at some point, so it was better to get it over and done with. She took pity on me, instead of me going to school on two buses across town she took me in the car. My friends and team mates did not know what to say, just “sorry mate” or did not say anything at all. Each day at school I continued to play football, my heart was no longer in it, and it was even harder to see my old team mates get on the minibus at the end of the day to go to Aberdeen football training wishing I was with them. I did not feel part of the group anymore instead I faced the long bus journey home on my own across town, which made the whole experience ten times harder. Things started to go downhill from there, I dreaded getting on the bus to school every day, I was not enjoying school anymore, my school work was suffering, I was always tired and I stopped seeing my friends, I hated life.
Six weeks later I knew I had to do something, the first thing I did was ask mum to put a request in to change schools. The nearest one to me was only five minute walk away; my old primary school friends were there so I would not be alone in a new school. I also signed for one of the best Boys Football Clubs in the North East of Scotland, Banks O Dee Albion. I instantly felt better about myself. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
Looking back on this experience there have been positives and negatives. My education has improved, and I get to go out with my friends more while still getting to play football. However, I have not been playing against the same standard of teams, and as a result my fitness and skill level has deteriorated, but there are still goals to work towards for example joining a Highland League Development Team. The main thing is I am still enjoying playing football. Being released from Aberdeen Football Club could be the best thing or the worst that has ever happened to me, I still don’t know. It was an extremely big blow when it happened but I learned after a few weeks that it wasn’t the end of the world. As the old saying goes, a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.
This has also taught me that life will never be all plain sailing, there will be times in life where everything and everyone will be against you, but you need to fight through it. For example one day you could be having one of the best days of your life but all of a sudden your life could come crashing down and it’s absolutely horrible when it happens but you must bounce back. Resilience is a must have quality because it helps you regain confidence from all of the bad times. I think if I wasn’t resilient I would be more likely to become depressed. Personally, I feel this experience has made me a much stronger person and has shaped my personality in a positive way. Day by day I have gained confidence. Recently I have started to get over the fact that I was released from Aberdeen, I wish I was still playing for them but it really doesn’t matter as long as I’m enjoying playing football.
Go into any UK high street fashion shop or online retailer and you will see fake fur everywhere; coats, sweaters and accessories, it could look like real fur, it could be bright colours. It is a must have fashion trend for winter 2018. Fake fur as it says in the name is fake; it is made out of petroleum based products just like plastic. A subject that’s a hot topic in fact everyone is talking about the overuse of plastic and the problems it is causing in our environment and our planet, so why not fake fur?
The fashion industry calls fake fur, faux fur and they say it is 100% cruelty free but is that really true? Obviously no animals were killed making the fake fur product but think for a moment about all the chemicals and synthetic raw materials, including petroleum based products like nylon, acrylic, and polyester used to create it, they are definitely not environmental friendly. The lifespan of fake fur fashion items varies, some people may keep it as long as a real fur item like in the days gone by but for most the fashion item was relatively inexpensive, people just throw them away into a landfill. Primark’s products are very well known for this short lifespan. Once in the landfill, the acrylic fibres that make up the fake fur are non-biodegradable so they will never naturally decompose just like plastic. While in the landfill they leech toxic chemicals, into the surrounding land and water which can cause problems to our native animals such as otters, fish and stoats in our rivers and streams, clearly not 100% cruelty free.
Washing fake fur in a washing machine releases thousands of fibre particles into the water thus they end up entering the ecosystem, into our rivers and ultimately the sea. The fibres break down to small particles and are ingested by fish and other water animals which can cause these animals serious issues. Fish are then eaten by other animals and humans, so the non-biodegradable fake fur particles are inside our bodies potentially causing us harm in the future. This means fake fur is just as bad as plastics for the environment and the planet so what can we do about this? The answer is obvious and it is real fur.
Animal fur has been used since the beginning of mankind for clothing to keep us warm. Fur has always been in fashion as it gives off the impression of elegance but only recently has it become the target for animal rights campaigners. In the last one hundred years roughly fur had become a rather expensive fashion item. If you had a fur coat it would suggest that you are a very wealthy person. In the mid nineteen hundreds to make real fur more affordable to all, specialised farms were set up to breed animals for their fur. The most common animal used was a mink. Fur clothing skyrocketed in the nineteen eighties becoming one of the most popular pieces of fashion to own and due to the mink farming; it had become extremely affordable to many. By the nineteen nineties there was a backlash, some people thought it was cruel to breed animals for fur, more people were becoming vegetarians, as a result real fur was not the status symbol, high fashion item it once was. Just like back in the nineteen nineties when there was this culture change away from real fur due to supposed animal cruelty we are now going through a culture change away from plastics for the same reason animal cruelty but in this case it is much worse, the fish in the sea with the ingested fibre particles are part of the food chain, they are eaten by other animals and humans. We need to encourage people to stop using fake fur and educate them to use more sustainable products like real fur that is biodegradable which means it will naturally decay in the environment. There will always be people who will not agree with using real fur for their various reasons but the majority of people in the world are quite happy eating meat, wearing leather shoes, buying leather handbags and belts all sourced from dead animals. We just need to change the perception of meat eating, leather wearing people and raise the welfare standards of the real fur industry, so it becomes acceptable to wear real fur again.
The real fur industry needs to ensure fur farms are run with the highest standard of quality and welfare care for the animals. The animals would be looked after carefully for their entire life and each and every animal would be killed humanely. Each piece of authentic fur should be traced right from the country of birth to the country of manufacture so the clothes can have a tag stating it was ethically produced to the highest welfare standard. This would make the public feel more comfortable as they would know that the animal had a good life. A grading system could be introduced, the highest standard of fur should use the whole animal; fur, meat, bone for bone meal and organic compost fertiliser. These high standards need to happen not just in the United Kingdom but in the rest of the world. If fur cannot be traced from source and graded, then manufacturers should not use the product.
If the World can start working on ethical fur farming and labelling then, in 10 to 20 years it will be rare to see anyone buying or wearing fake fur. We will be wearing real fur just like our ancestors did. We need to act on this now to help save our environment.
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