Ever Grateful, Ever True

Ever Grateful, Ever True

The Mindset of a Lifelong Boilermaker Football Fan
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James and Christine Fisher birthed their first son, Connor James Fisher on December 22, 1997. This child came out of the womb a Boilermaker and became approximately the 20th member of his family to attend Purdue University beginning in the fall of 2016. Not only did this child come out of the womb a Boilermaker, he came out of the womb a sports fanatic and enthusiast.

Yes, this is me. In this same year of 1997, Joe Tiller had just led Purdue to a Bowl Game in his first year as Head Football Coach of the Purdue Boilermakers. Little did I know how in love and attached I would be to Purdue sports and Purdue football. Although I was too young to recall the spirit and energy around the football program at the time, I have seen evidence of passion and high energy around the program at this time through videos of a sold out Ross-Ade Stadium and by asking students who attended the University at the time. This season of winning football set a standard for Purdue football. This standard included many details, but was centered around three words: Passion, Energy, and WINNING.

At the same time, Coach Tiller and the Boilermakers were able to continue the tradition of attaining some of the best quarterbacks in college football, allowing the University to maintain the nickname of “the cradle of quarterbacks.” Things continued to go well for the Boilers between the years of 1997 and 2007. The Boilermakers kept up with the expectation of winning by making 8 straight bowl games from 1997 – 2004. The highlight of the Joe Tiller era occurred in the year 2000, when the Boilermakers made an appearance in the Rose Bowl, led by NFL Hall of Famer, Drew Brees. All was good until fans began hearing rumors near the end of the 2008 season about a potential retirement of Head Coach and Purdue legend, Joe Tiller. The rumors stood true as he sadly departed the program to move onto the next chapter of his life, retirement. Little did avid Boiler fans like myself realize the dreaded drought and disappointing stretch of football that Purdue was about to begin following the departure of Coach Tiller.

The Boilermakers hired Danny Hope to be its next head coach later that spring. Although fans were depressed about Joe Tiller leaving the program to retire, there was still a sense of optimism for fans, especially the die-heart fans like myself who have not missed a Purdue football game on TV or in person since they can remember. That optimism quickly turned to doubt as the next four years of Boilermaker football was not only hard to watch, frustrating to support, and difficult to remain loyal to, but quite frankly was a failure in terms of the standard that Coach Tiller set in his 11 years as Head Coach. These four years went by incredibly slow and depressingly as the Boilermakers combined record over this time period included 22 wins and 27 losses. After the firing of Danny Hope and hiring of Darrell Hazell, we thought we had hope as fans, but once again our dreams were crushed, just even further this time. Coach Hazell led the Boilers to an abysmal 9 win, 39 loss stretch over the years of 2013 – 2016. Petitions to fire the coach were spiraling around the community for a few years as anger built up, until finally the new Athletic Director, Mike Bobinsky, finally got rid of in my opinion, the worst Purdue coach of all time. It seems embarrassing to say this, but the day that Hazell was fired may be one of the happiest days of my life because I had a gut feeling that this was the time that Purdue football got back to its standard of PASSION, ENERGY, and most importantly WINNING. Rumors began to spiral about hiring some of the hottest names in college football and the excitement level of fans began to build. Then, Athletic Director, Mike Bobinsky, announced the highly praised hiring of current Head Football Coach, Jeff Brohm.

“Let’s Play Football!” That is the motto that Jeff Brohm has carried with him into Purdue. Fans were optimistic, but nervous. Although the record right now is 4-6, the Boilers have competed in every single game, with its biggest loss by 18 points to highly-ranked Michigan. Jeff Brohm made it clear to Boilermaker fans that this is finally the year that the tide is turning and that no matter how talented the opponent, the Boilers would come out and fight until there is not a single drop of sweat, blood, or tear left inside of each and every one of those players.

I feel that Boilermaker Football is back on the railroad going in the right direction. According to ESPN, Purdue’s Fan Happiness Index has increased 99 points since last season. This proves that I am not alone through the numbers. Also, Ross-Ade Stadium has increased average attendance by nearly 15,000 people in just one season. PASSION, ENERGY, and WINNING. It is back. The expectation is being met and the future is bright.

BOILER UP! HAMMER DOWN!

Cover Image Credit: Rob Dupre

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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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MLB Releases Finalists For Major Awards

Best of the best go head to head one final time.

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This past MLB season revealed the greatest of the sport through extraordinary pitching, hitting, defense, and all-around performance. Players from various teams, positions, and skill level are recognized for grand performance throughout the season. Every year the greats are recognized through awards such as Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year. The MLB has finally released the top three candidates for each of these awards in each league (National and American). Here is an overview of each award and the top three candidates for each.

Cy Young Award

This award is given to the all-around best pitcher from each league. It is given in honor of the great pitcher, Cy Young, who passed away in 1955. Pitching statistics such as strikeouts, innings pitched, and ERA is among the stats that are analyzed in order to determine the winner of this award.

American League Finalists

Corey Kluber- Cleveland Indians

Blake Snell- Tampa Bay Rays

Justin Verlander- Houston Astros

National League Finalists

Jacob DeGrom- New York Mets

Aaron Nola- Philadelphia Phillies

Max Scherzer- Washington Nationals

The winners of these awards will be announced Wednesday, November 14, 2018. Blake Snell seems to be the favorite for the American League over 2017 World Series champion, Justin Verlander. Snell is a stand-out pitcher with an insane ERA of only 1.89. In the National League, Max Scherzer is sitting at the top with an impressive 300 strikeouts on the year.

Rookie of the Year

With a self-explanatory title, the Rookie of the Year award is given to the all-around top performing rookie from each league. Stand out offensive statistics are often the determining factor of the winner of this award, but defensive production, stolen bases, and many other things are taken into consideration.

American League Finalists

Miguel Andujar- New York Yankees

Shohei Ohtani- Los Angeles Angels

Gleyber Torres- New York Yankees

National League Finalists

Ronald Acuna Jr.- Atlanta Braves

Walker Buehler- Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Soto- Washington Nationals

The winner of these awards will be announced Thursday, November 15, 2018. This has been one of the closest race in a while due to the extreme amount of talent these young players have brought to the league this season. Ohtani has been the talk of the American League all season, and Acuna Jr for the National League, but this award could go to any of these incredible athletes.

Manager of the Year

Another pretty self-explanatory title, this award is presented to the overall best manager in each league. Wins, quality of wins, and many other things are taken into consideration when the winner of this award is being decided. Many believe that the World Series winner is a shoo-in for this award, but with the level of talent at manager position these days there is never a sure winner.

National League Finalists

Bud Black- Colorado Rockies

Craig Counsell- Milwaukee Brewers

Brian Snitker- Atlanta Braves

American League Finalists

Kevin Cash- Tampa Bay Rays

Alex Cora- Boston Red Sox

Bob Melvin- Oakland Athletics

The winners of these awards will be announced Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Alex Cora obviously holds the favorite for the American League Manager of the Year because of his recent World Series victory, but Melvin also brought his team farther than the club has been in years. As for the National League, Snitker led his club out of a four-season dry spell and won the NL East, but Black won the Wild Card shocking the Chicago Cubs.

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