An Ode To West Virginia Football

An Ode To West Virginia Football

Here's why I practically bleed gold and blue.

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I am 2,078.5 miles away; approximately 31 hours by car and seven hours and 15 minutes by plane to the place that stole my heart long before I can even remember. A place that helped shape me into the sports reporter that I am becoming today. A place that has brought so much joy (and sometimes pain) into my life.

Growing up, it was my dad that taught me the ropes of college football; something that has been in my family for years long before I was even born. Some of my favorite childhood memories was riding in my dad's old, red pickup truck to get a bag of ice and head to football practice where he then coached my quarterback of a brother. There is something about a football game that makes me feel so nostalgic and makes me miss being a kid.

Saturdays were for West Virginia football, then and even now while I'm 2,078.5 miles away from the team that I love. I was lucky enough to go to just about every home game; taking a three-hour car trip to Morgantown, West Virginia. My brother's tradition would be to stop and get a package of Twizzlers, buy a program as we walked into Milan Puskar Stadium and of course grab a frozen lemonade (even if it was extremely cold).

When bowl season would come and WVU had won enough games to make it, we would travel. I thought it was the most amazing thing, to see how many people loved the same thing that my family and I loved. I grew up in the years of Pat White, Noel Devine, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin...the list goes on.

While my brother chose to spend his college years as a Mountaineer, I decided to part ways and head to the opposite side of the states to Arizona State University. Not once have I regretted the decision I made to become a Sun Devil, but I will say, college football just isn't the same. And I know this is because of my strong passion for a team that sometimes doesn't meet my expectations. While pursuing a career as a sports journalist, I know my passion was fueled by West Virginia football.

Making my family and the people that I have met in WV proud is my main goal. Putting out content and covering sports is what I love to do and I don't think that will ever change. I love all sports, but college football comes naturally to me thanks to my family and WVU.

So thank you to a team that I love. A team that makes me happy. A team that makes me scream at my television. A team that makes me a better reporter. But most importantly, a team that has fueled a passion inside of me for as long as I can remember.

"God must be a Mountaineer too because the sun is gold and the sky is blue."

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To The Girl Who Wears My Jersey

Now that you wear my jersey, here's what I'd like to tell you.
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To the girl who wears my jersey,

As an athlete, a jersey and number is more than just something you wear during a game. It means something more to an athlete.

One of the saddest parts of an athlete's career is when they have to give that jersey up for someone else to wear when they move on in life. After sitting in a box for a couple months after graduation, another athlete comes along and takes the jersey as their own. So, here's some things I would like to say to the girl that is wearing my jersey.

I hope you are working hard at the game. I hope that you are putting in extra hours when practice is over, and going 110% doing whatever you are doing. Enjoy the time you have now because soon it will be gone. It goes by in the blink of an eye and before you know it you will leaving your jersey behind just like I did, so cherish every moment. When I wore that jersey, I thought that the games and practices would never end until it got close to the end.

That jersey you're wearing has been through everything. It's gone through winning streaks, heartbreaking losses, comebacks, and blowouts. It's full of memories that I made with my teammates for years. There were the long bus rides or the pre-game traditions. There were the times we went out to eat and I got food on it, and times where it held my tears after a tough loss. That jersey you have has literally been with me through blood, sweat, and tears. It's seen all of the hard work I have put in on the field or court. I met so many different and amazing people in that jersey. I've played for coaches that have showed me perspectives of the game that I never saw before. I traveled to small towns, big cities, beaches, and other places I never thought I would see. It's an exciting time when you have that jersey on. You will meet new people, learn new things, and travel to places you never thought you would go before.

The jersey you are wearing means something to me, because I picked it for a reason and wore it for so many years. I picked the number on the jersey because it has a story, like every athlete's number does. The story can be as simple as it was picked for me and grew on me, or it could be your role model wore that number, so you chose it too. Another story could be that a family member wore it so you carried on the tradition. Whatever the story was, it's your turn to add your story to the jersey.

Be legendary. The truth is sometimes when someone thinks about that jersey you're wearing they'll think of the people that wore it before you. They think of the way the ones before you played, but that's all going to change. You are going to be added to the legacy and tradition. It's time for you to make your own legacy and name for yourself. It's about making people think that whoever wears the number next will be as great as the one before. Play to the best of your ability and work hard every day to be better than the next girl. Play with heart, be humble, and don't disrespect the tradition, team, or organization you are a part of.

Finally, play for someone other than yourself. Play for the name on the front of your jersey more than the one on the back. Play for everyone who got you to the point you are at now. Play for the ones who don't have the opportunity to play the game you love. Play for the little girl who watches you. Play for all the ones who wore the jersey before you.

Above all else, be your own player, create a name for yourself, and be humble.


Cover Image Credit: Caroline Showalter

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The NEW New York Jets Will Change Sports Culture And How Other Fans View The Team

I do think as a collective group, us Jets fans finally believe it is our time, our opportunity to finally win something.

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December 30th, 4:00 p.m. eastern time, another year has just completed for the New York Jets. A year in which finished quite similar to all the rest, a lot of losing and a blowout loss in week 17 to the future Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

However, there was one difference with the end of the 2018 season, and that was Sam Darnold, the Quarterback.

As a Jets fan, for the last eight-plus years, there has been little to no hope after the season ended because they did not have that franchise changing QB every team covets. But this year, this offseason everything seems different, and everything is different.

Entering the 2019 NFL offseason, the New York Jets boasted the second most cap space in the NFL, and the buzz across the league was that they were going to spend all of that cash in order to build the proper foundation around young star QB Sam Darnold. One week into free-agency it is safe to say they are doing just that, and they are not just spending their boatloads of money just to spend it, they are spending it smartly.

Although extremely early in the process it seems this new Jets regime seems to have it figured out, where others, (as us Jets fans sadly know) simply did not. I have heard many fans of the NFL tell me that the Jets are overspending, they are giving players money that doesn't deserve it, i.e. Leveon Bell. However, there is no justification for not giving a star player a little extra cash to ensure he will not join another team. That point is especially true when you have a young franchise QB like the Jets currently have... DAMN, that sounds good to say... but I digress, The last time the Jets won a super was... well, actually let's have some fun with this... clearly I was not born, my parents were not born, gas was $0.35 a gallon, and we had yet to land on the moon.

If that does not put in perspective for you then well I guess I am trying to say to you is ITS BEEN A LONG FREAKIN' TIME. 52 years exactly. Why emphasize instead of just telling you the number of years? Well because I wanted to, and if you are not a Jets fan, you needed to know just how astonishing, painful and LONG it has been.

However, I do think as a collective group, us Jets fans finally believe it is our time, our opportunity to finally win something. We are not a greedy fanbase and you would be surprised on how much even a home playoff game would mean after sharing a division for 18 years with Tom Brady, Bill Bilichek and the Patriots. Although with all hope their needs to be some type of grounding reality, some pessimism, because we are and will always be the "Same old Jets"... So until we win something that motto cannot be changed and will not be changed(not even with new uniforms)... but hey Jets fans, at least we're not currently Giant fans? Right? Buckle up, this may be the year.

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