An Open Love Letter To Tom Brady

An Open Love Letter To Tom Brady

#12 is number one in my heart.

On August 5, 2015, I attended Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium.

I remember this date not because it was two days after Tom Brady's birthday, but because I found myself within 300 feet of him. When the practice concluded and he strolled along the sideline to sign autographs, mostly for young children, I found myself standing on a stadium chair, snapping as many photographs as I could and screaming at the top of my lungs. Needless to say, that was one of the best days of my life thus far - I felt as though I had met him, although I did not even come within reach of a high-five or signature for my poster. That just comes to show how much fun I had that night, and I vividly remember how excited I was to be up close to Brady.

For anyone who knows me, they are at least somewhat aware of my slight obsession with Tom Brady. OK, maybe 'slight' is an understatement. I have a giant TB12 poster and lots of Patriots decor in my room, not to mention a jersey and a couple of t-shirts that I rotate through on game days. I even have a 24-inch cut-out of him in my room that I received as a graduation present. Though this all may sound a bit excessive, I actually do admire Tom Brady for several reasons.

Tom Brady is quite possibly the best NFL quarterback of all time. He may not have earned that title yet, but he is well on his way in my opinion (as well as for the rest of New England). However, Brady was a rookie at one point, and he had to earn his reputation for being a true all-star. Although he played for Michigan in his college days, and worked his way up to the top, I think it is important to remember that Tom Brady sets an example for aspiring professional athletes, as well as anyone who is trying to make it big in this world. His journey has proved to be a long one, but his seemingly endless list of records and accomplishments is proof that he deserves every bit of it.

I am not even going to pretend like I don’t find Tom Brady extremely good-looking; in fact, if I am ever in a not-so-great mood, just mentioning him will make me smile. I know he’s 39 and not 19, but Tom Brady is the epitome of a charming, yet humble, human being (aside from being an insane athlete). He may not be getting any younger, but Tom Brady has a charisma about him that is so contagious. I love watching the Patriots press conferences on Monday morning, because Brady always does a stellar job of recapping what went well that game and what didn’t work out. His flawless composure and relaxed, yet authoritative, attitude compliments head coach Bill Belichick’s emotionless persona quite well. Tom Brady never has to put up a front; his positive attitude and constructive criticism are both quite obvious throughout.

I could go on for days about this, but Tom Brady truly sets an example for the rest of us. While he works endlessly to become a better athlete, he is human, too. He knows how to gracefully present himself to the world, which is why I will always wear a #12 jersey on game days.

Go Patriots!

Cover Image Credit: Daily Snark

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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To The Coaches Who Almost Ruined Me

I was merely a device that allowed them to get closer to their goal of fame and victory.


An athlete's body is their weapon. That combined with their mind is responsible for every play, every point, every victory. You protect that weapon with everything in your power. But protection does not ensure lack of injury. Freak accidents occur. Blood is spilled on the floor, ankles break, ligaments tear, brains hit skulls. That is the price an athlete pays.

My body started shutting down when I was twelve-years-old. Somehow puberty had not only given me the usual acne and chest but had blessed me with a multitude of other issues.

My ligaments and tendons were too flexible. I had no cartilage in my knees so my patellas refused to track right. Every joint in my lower extremities ached. Ankles collapsed regularly and randomly. Hips were misaligned and femurs were internally rotated.

What happens to an athlete when the body you were given is slowly breaking down?

You try to stay ahead of what seems to be a losing game. Physical therapy exercises, double knee and ankle braces, leuko tape to keep the patellas in place, kinesio tape wrapped in a spiral around my legs to un-rotate femurs.

You play defense.

Ignorantly enough, I kept playing.

I started sports at age two. I played everything imaginable. Soccer, ballet, basketball, volleyball, softball, t-ball, track, and gymnastics.

When something is ingrained in you, it's not like you can just stop.

No matter how hard your body is telling you no.

Until my freshman year of high school, I held the utmost respect for every coach I had ever played for.

It wasn't that they were kind and nonchalant about winning. They would yell and stomp, and make us run suicides every day.

The thing I took for granted is that they respected me as a person, an athlete.

High school sports taught me two important things.

  1. Never let a coach make you feel like less than a person.
  2. Emotional scars last longer than any fractured bone or torn muscle.

I came home from my first day of high school sports sobbing.

I would categorize myself as a tough individual so crying was not really in my repertoire.

I had never been treated so poorly in my life.

Flash forward to my senior year, I was sitting on a different bench during a different sport with a different coach, feeling the exact same way.

I felt like scum.

I felt worthless.

Along with the multitude of my pre-existing conditions my high school sports career was plagued with injuries.

Freshman year, I fractured the growth plate in my ankle.

Sophomore year, I received a severe concussion (my second) and went uncleared for ten months.

Junior year, I was diagnosed with a patella, ACL, MCL tear. Thankfully, the patella was the only thing actually torn.

Senior year, I received my third concussion and sprained my ankle so badly the bones inside hit each other.

I never finished a full sports season.

As I look back and reflect upon my experiences I realize that to those coaches, I was merely a tool.

I was not an athlete.

I was not a person.

I was merely a device that allowed them to get closer to their goal of fame and victory.

And what do you do with a device that's broken?

You throw it away.

I'd like to think that if I had realized how little my coaches thought of me back then, I would have quit. But I can't be sure. I loved sports so much I was willing to put my body in harm's way every single practice, every single game.

To them, it didn't matter if I was an asset off the court or field. If I wasn't scoring or defending, I was dead weight.

I listened to the comments one coach made on the sideline while I dutifully sat on the bench, injured, screaming my lungs for my teammates who could actually play.




These were just a few of the words that he uttered to himself during a game.

I remember thinking how old is this man? Why is he so immature? Does he have any respect or kindness at all?

I thought back to earlier in the game when I had comforted a teammate who he had pulled out of the game, aggressively chastised, and left her to sob incoherently on the bench.

I somehow tried to explain to the underclassman to not take it personally and that I'm sure he didn't mean it and blah blah blah.

"Why is he so cruel?" she gulped, tears flooding down her face onto her jersey.

I had no answer.

Flashback to the day of my second and worse concussion. I knocked myself out and woke up in a pool of my own blood, with the concerned and terrified faces of my teammates looking down on me.

I didn't know what had occurred right until later when a teammate reached out to me.

After I left the court, stained with blood and shaking, my coach came onto the court and before they had even cleaned my pool of blood from the floor, he said to my teammates, "Wow, she will really do anything to get out of running the mile (our conditioning)."

I wasn't cleared for ten months and I would have run a mile every single damn day of those ten if it meant I had no more headaches, no more tests, no more doctors visits.

After your body breaks, the coaches have no use for you. You're worthless.

And I started to believe that I really was.

My entire high school career I had people telling me that without my body and athletic ability I was nothing.

However, I don't recall an athletic session of the SAT.

I didn't have to run a damn mile to get into college.

No amount of suicides could have helped me pass organic chemistry and make the dean's list.

There is still so much pain when I look back on the experiences I had with those coaches who made me feel meaningless and stupid. But now I look back and think--

Yes, I have scars, physical and emotional. But those will heal and remind me to treat people with kindness and compassion.

And well, those coaches...those coaches will always be assholes.

A special thanks to all the amazing coaches who actually treated me like a real person. Thank you: Tracy Speer, Kathy Baehl, Heidi Kleinrichert, Julie McNamara, Deb Brough, Chris Brough, Joe Leja, Rebecca Merriam, Scott Shipman, Stuart Oberley, Bernie Lohmuller, Dave Schultheis, Phil Schultheis, and Mike Stoffel.

Thank you for believing in me.

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