Looking Back On The Life Of Jose Fernandez

Looking Back On The Life Of Jose Fernandez

The sports world lost a huge star.
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I woke up that morning and when I unlocked my phone, I was devastated. A flurry of notifications came from my phone about the death of Jose Fernandéz the night before. He was 24 years old and full of life and happiness. My heart hurt for him, his family and his teammates. He was loved by many and hated by few. I think that is why it was so hard for everybody to accept the fact that he is gone. He made everyone around him happier just by showing his infectious smile.

I remember one day after school, a friend and I noticed Jose was pitching in L.A. that night, which is an hour from where we go to school. It was not even a question at that point, we just got in the car and made our way to L.A. so we could see one of the most exciting pitchers in the game. He threw a shutout that night and that is a night I will never forget.

He carried himself different than other players do. He wanted to be the best and worked hard to get there. After he had Tommy John surgery in 2013 he only came out stronger. A sudden death like this hit the sports world very hard and everybody seemed to be impacted by it.

The Marlins all wore number 16 Fernandéz jerseys to commemorate their fallen player in the next game. Dee Gordon hit a home run to right field in his first at-bat and the place went wild. Gordon doesn't really have much power so this was incredible in itself. He was in tears by the time he crossed home plate and all the other players were as well. He was greeted with hugs from every player and manager in the dugout. This moment will go down as one of the most emotional moments in sports history and it is a scene that will never be matched.

Every team in the majors put up a number 16 Fernandéz jersey in their dugout to commemorate the infectious pitcher. He touched so many lives and he brought communities together in a way that no one else could. His significance to the game cannot be overstated and it hurts to know that a player you went out of your way to see died.

At 24 years old, Jose Fernandéz died in a boating accident along with his 2 other friends. He gave so much happiness to the world and now he will be giving that happiness to another world. Rest in Peace.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Difference Between A High School and College Athlete

Nothing comes easy.
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High school sports are some of the greatest times in a young athlete’s life. You begin to play with a group of people that you will surround yourself with for your high school career, if you play all four years.

This is a great experience for anyone in any sport, but it has no comparison to being a student athlete for your college. When you get to college everything you thought you knew about your sport changes and you have to start over.

Participating in a college sport is a very humbling experience for a student athlete, you have to adjust to a college schedule and manage all your classes, along with your sport. This is an experience that changes who you are as a person.

High school sports teams are filled with many different types of players. For example there is the kid that doesn’t enjoy playing the sport, but they love the game so they play in high school to keep it in their life.

Then you have the kids who aren’t actually fans of the sport, but they were put into it at a young age and it’s the only thing they have ever known, so they continue to play to feel comfortable. Then there are the kids who do not care about winning or losing, they are just happy to be there and they have fun playing regardless of the outcome.

As far as talent goes, whichever category you fall into does not dictate the talent you possess, these categories are mainly about mindset. Whether you are the best or the worst on your high school team you are still a part of a team and you work together with your team to reach your goal.

Now regarding the members of the team, some are better than others and then there are some who go on to continue their athletic career in college. These are the dedicated athletes; the ones who eat, breathe, and sleep their sport. Everything they do revolves around making themselves better in their sport.

When you have one of these kids on your team everyone knows who they are. When visiting teams come to your school to play your team the visiting team fears this player. Rumors begin to spread that this player has committed to play at a big time division one school in college and everyone wants to watch them perform.

Whether it’s on your team or another when that person steps into the spotlight everyone stops to watch, because they know something special is happening. Once their senior season comes to an end, they go down as one of the best to ever play it at their school.

Even years after they are done, this player is still talked about because of their high school accomplishment,; but after high school everyone stops following this player to focus on the next potential big shot that rolls through and that players college career may go unnoticed.

Once you get to college, you face new challenges every day and the simple adjustment of becoming a college student is not an easy one. You begin to live on your own away from home and you are becoming an adult with your own responsibilities.

You set your own priorities and have the freedom to do what you want. That’s as a regular college student, but not for the student athlete. As a student athlete, you have two main priorities, class and sports.

When you get to college as a student athlete you begin to realize how “next-level” college sports really is. The two hour practices after school don’t exist anymore, your life revolves around your sport and you spend all of your time either in class or with your team.

It becomes clear very quickly that the only focus you should have is school and sports, and if you feel you need more time to hang out with your friends and sports are consuming your time, then college sports isn’t for you.

Once you finally meet your team, you begin to realize the difference between college and high school. All those kids that don’t enjoy playing the sport, or the ones that don’t care about winning and losing all disappear, they simply don’t exist.

Everyone is there for the same reason as you and the sooner you realize that the better off you will be. There are no slackers and lollygaggers, and everyone is a hard worker. These are some things you realize before you even begin to compete with them, once you get ready for your first practice your eyes will truly be opened.

Your first college practice puts a lot of pressure on you as a college freshman. You want to make a good impression on the players and the coaches and all the returning players are personally evaluating you as well to see how you stack up against college level athletes.

When you begin, you realize all the automatic success you saw in high school isn’t so automatic anymore. Every player was the superstar at their high school and you immediately feel out of place. You have always been a top tier player, one of the best and now you feel as if you are just in the middle of the pack. It isn’t something you are very used to and it takes some adjustment.

This is why I previously mentioned college sports are a humbling experience; because no matter how good you think you are your college team is filled with players just as good or better than you are. Nobody on your college team is a bad player, they have all put in the time and effort to get to the college level and now you have to compete for a spot and it’s a battle.

The early stages are a tough time for a newcomer like yourself and in some cases struggling players begin to question themselves; they begin to wonder if they are good enough to play at this level. In some cases fear settles in and you even question your abilities.

This is when the time comes that you need to work harder than ever to prove to not only yourself but your team that you belong there.

Getting to this stage wasn’t easy, it was a grind, but a rewarding one. Once you gain this confidnece, it will be easier than ever to perform at your highest level. Once you prove to yourself that you are where you should be, the rest will take care of itself and things become easier than ever.

Achieve this confidence in yourself, work hard, and you will be able to reach your full potential and become the complete college athlete you know you can be.

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It's Tough To Be A White Sox Fan

It's been a decade since the White Sox last playoff appearance, here's why it has been hard on such a loyal fanbase.
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I have been a White Sox fan forever. I’ve been to countless games and watched them on tv for a long time. But for nearly a decade, it has become harder and harder to watch my beloved team. The last playoff appearance for the White Sox was in 2008, in which they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in 4 games. Their last World Series victory was in 2005. Chicago is a great sports town. And the Sox have been close to my heart since I started watching baseball. My loyalty as a Major League Baseball fan will always be to the White Sox.

That is why I hate to see my team lose a hundred games year after year. Every Opening Day I get my hopes up and I think this is where things start to pick up. But around this time of year I am brought back to Earth and the season already feels lost by early to mid-May. The White Sox are currently in last place in the AL Central.

I look around the rest of major league baseball and the last two World Series Champions were teams whose fans are in my position. The Cubs and Astros lost a lot of games in the years before they won it all. Sports Illustrated had an article in 2014 proclaiming the Astros would win the World Series in 2017. These multi-year processes that might become a trend in Major League Baseball is something I want to see in the South Side of Chicago.

If it can work for Houston and the Cubs, then it begs the question, how many years will it take for the White Sox to become a championship caliber team? I’ve heard from Cubs fans that it was worth the wait in 2016. Especially since their last world championship was in 1908. The White Sox drought has only been 13 years so far. I already long for the days of playoff baseball. It’s been a rough 10 years since the Sox were last in the playoffs.

Fans have become more and more frustrated. The team has been stuck in a rut. In the time since their last playoff appearance, 3 teams in their own division have made it to the World Series. The Tigers in 2012, the Indians in 2016, and the Royals in 2014 and 2015, winning it all in ’15. To say that I am jealous as a fan is an understatement. To see other teams in the division have major success can be frustrating to a fanbase, even the most loyal ones.

Changing the stadium name to Guaranteed Rate Field doesn’t help anyone. If you ask me, it is the worst stadium name among all 30 major league baseball teams. I still don’t understand the name change. It doesn’t flow well like Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and yes, even Wrigley Field. An old school name like Comiskey Park would be more appropriate for a city and a fanbase that is desperate for a winning team.

Now there is an upside. There are young players who can bring a winning style to the South Side. Jose Abreu has been a consistent hitter since he came into the majors. The one-two punch of shortstop Tim Anderson and second baseman Yoan Moncada make the infield dangerous. And designated hitter Matt Davidson is having one of his best years thus far in the majors. The bright spots give fans a glimmer of hope for the future of the team. I don’t plan on waiting 108 years before another World Series title. I hope the White Sox don’t plan on it either. In the years to come, I hope to see a winning baseball team on the South Side once again.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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