Why College Sports Are Better Than Professional Sports

Why College Sports Are Better Than Professional Sports

The pride. The glory. The craziness that makes college sports better.
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As the always-loved March Madness came to an end, I sat in awe as the Villanova Wildcats hit yet another buzzer beater to cut down the nets. That's when I thought to myself, what would I be if I didn't watch college sports? There are some major reasons that make college sports so much more appealing than professional sports to a viewer like me.

I remember making my first college list at 8 years old. Yes, you read that right: I was 8 years old. How did I come up with it? I listed every single college (in a special order) I could think of because my eyes were glued to the TV every Saturday -- College Gameday -- from 9 a.m. until I would fall asleep on the couch trying to stay awake for the West Coast games.

I fell in love with the pride. I fell in love with the heart of the players. I fell in love with the speed, the tenacity, and the no-quit mentality. But most importantly, I fell in love with the craziness. You don't see professional sports fans on their feet all game screaming at the top of their lungs.

This new age in professional sports has me question if the generations of today should idolize professional sport stars. Yes, there are the hustlers like Mike Trout, but where has the right aggressiveness gone in professional sports? I always learned to idolize men like Pete Rose because he played balls to the wall, all the time, every game. Professional sport has strayed far away from the basic concept of what it actually is: a game. Is there a true basic difference between Monopoly and football? Operation and basketball? Chutes and Ladders and baseball? No. They are all games played by many, for the fun that they can bring. It's become way too much about money and the glamour and not about the grit and the blessing of playing a game for a living.

That's where college athletes stand alone. They aren't owed anything. They're not getting paid $20 million a year. I recall from last year when I went to watch UNC baseball play Liberty University in a night game. UNC's second baseman hit a lead-off triple in the top of the third inning. In the bottom of the third, he had an error on a routine ground ball. He was immediately benched.

Now, what did I take away from that? Every single day in college sports is a dog fight. One little slip-up and you're gone from the starting lineup. But it also shows that it's any man any day. You see, Lebron James is always with the ball under 15 seconds throwing up a heavily contested shot at the buzzer while he has teammates wide open. We saw in this year's March Madness that sometimes it only takes a bench player one shot to turn from a nobody to a household name. They hit the open man. Teammates lean on each other.

So I will continue to have my Watch ESPN app up on my iPad, my TV on ESPNU, and my most visited website as NCAA.com.

Cover Image Credit: cloudfront.net

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Sorry MJ Fans, But LeBron James Is My G.O.A.T.

King James brings greatness to not only the sport of basketball and but much more than that.

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Everyone who follows sports knows about LeBron James. The iconic king from the city of Akron, Ohio. The first round pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft. The transcendent was brought down from the basketball Gods and came soaring into the NBA out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. To some people, LeBron James is considered one of the greatest basketball players to ever live. Personally, I rank James as the greatest of all-time in my book.

LeBron James' career speaks for itself. Some of James' greatest accomplishments while playing basketball include nine NBA finals appearances, four NBA league MVP awards and three NBA championships. The 14-time NBA All-Star recently updated his resumé by moving into the fifth spot among the NBA's all-time scoring list. That was after James scored 44 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists on Nov. 14 against the Portland Trail Blazers. LeBron James replaces Wilt Chamberlain for the fifth spot and now joins an exclusive class with other great players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan.

The chosen one has been so dominant ever since he entered the league. Throughout his career, James has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists while shooting 52 percent from the floor according to basketballreference.com. Now in his 16th year in the league, LeBron James has shown no signs of slowing down whatsoever. Sixteen games into the season James' numbers have been right around his career average. As stated by ESPN.com this year LeBron James has averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.6 assists.

Keep in mind that James has achieved these sensational numbers while playing for three teams in the NBA (Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and now the Los Angeles Lakers). King James has put the league on notice that no matter where he goes he is a force to be reckoned with. Growing up watching basketball, I have seen no other player impact a team the way LeBron James does. According to Bleacher Report, it's projected if James remains healthy by retirement he could hold multiple records such as career player efficiency rating, career points, and most playoff points.

I think it's amazing to note that not only is James a sensational athlete but also a great person. James did something truly special when he opened up a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio for at-risk students back in July. LeBron James claimed it was one of the greatest moments of his life to open up the school. The project from the LeBron James Family Foundation grants students with free tuition, uniforms, food as well as access to pantries for families, transportation within two miles of the grounds, bicycles with helmets and guaranteed college tuition to graduates at the University of Akron. This is what it means to be more than an athlete.

It's odd to think that at first, I wasn't keen on being a LeBron James fan. For some weird reason, it was hard to pinpoint why I was neutral on James for so many years. When the king returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2014, something changed. Many people try to make a case and argue against James for being nowhere near the all-time greats in the NBA. I think they are being purely ignorant about what this man brings to basketball. I could never hate someone like James. What he does for the game of basketball is sensational, but what he does off the court is even more admirable.

Probably my favorite memory of LeBron James' career is when I watched him bring the city of Cleveland its first NBA title by overcoming a 3-1 lead against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA finals. James captured his third championship as the Cleveland Cavaliers became the only team in NBA history to win a championship after being in a 3-1 deficit. This only adds to James' numerous accolades among the NBA record books.

I'm proud to say that LeBron James is one of my biggest idols and favorite athletes ever. I consider James the greatest of all-time based on both as a player and a person. Time will tell how much James has left in the tank before his glory days are over.

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