An Open Letter To My Teammate As He Prepares For Nationals

An Open Letter To My Teammate As He Prepares For Nationals

"It's okay to want something that terrifies you" -Alexi Pappas.

The cold, frigid temperatures didn't stop you. You gave everything you had, every hill, every stride, every moment, you never gave up. You believed in yourself and knew what you had to do to get what you've been working for all season. You did it, you really did it.

Tears rolled down my face watching you accomplish the impossible. I've never been this emotional before watching somebody compete in a cross country race. You never seize to amaze me with your talents, all of your hard work this year has finally paid off. Coming off an injury over the summer, it's still hard to believe that somebody could have such an amazing comeback. You have been patient all season and finally got to show everybody what you can do.

When I first met you, I'm not going to lie, I was very intimidated by you. You were fast, tall and determined to make an impact on this team and the school. We were both new to the team last year and both were going through the same things. You became one of my first friends on campus, making sure I was handling the new environment well and kept me on my feet. I'll never forget all the long, crazy stories you've told me about all the road races you've ran and how excited you were to run in college. You told me some big dreams you had coming into the collegiate running scene and I got to watch you accomplish one of those dreams.

As you prepare for nationals, I want to share some advice with you, some things that I tell myself before races and some things you can take with you and remember all the way up to the moment you toe the line in Evansville, IN, to the moment you cross the finish line.

You are just as strong as everyone there. Go into the race with the mindset that you're going to be the next national champion, because you can. There is nothing wrong with telling yourself that you can win, you're physically fit and as coach would say "all the hay is in the barn". Everything will take care of itself, you just need to be mentally tough. If you tell yourself you can, you can. Running is a weird sport, who wants to go out and see who can run the fastest? Well, sadly, we do. It's a sport seeing who is the most mentally tough and who can fight through the pain the longest. Yes, running a personal best is a great feeling, but finishing a race is one of the biggest accomplishments anyone could every dream of.

Be thankful for your opportunity to run. This is every runner's dream to run at a big national meet. There's only so many times you will be able to run a collegiate cross country race, make every moment count. When you feel good, run faster and pass people. Don't hold yourself back to what you're capable of and hey, the faster you run, the faster you're done! Remember this summer when you were injured and had to take time off? That has made you even stronger mentally and physically, when the race gets tough and you feel like you can't go anymore, you can. Your body will carry you through. You have the potential to crush the competition if you believe.

Run your heart out and always remember the reason you run.

"The best pace is suicide pace and today feels like a good day to die." - Pre.

One last thing, I am so proud of all the things you have overcome as a runner and a person. Never in my life have I been so proud of somebody before. You have shown me and the team that anything is possible. It's crazy to think that you only started running last year. I admire your work ethic, how a day off to you means hours of cross training and not actually taking a day off. I look up to you, you have shown me what it's like to be a humble, kind, and loving human being. I can't thank you enough for the things you have brought to this team and how much you care about each and every one of us. You lead this team like nobody else can. The amount of love you have for the sport tops everyone else, running has shaped you to be the person you are today.

Congratulations and good luck in Evansville, you deserve this more than anybody.

"Don't be afraid to give up the good and go for the great." - Pre.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Daniels

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Moneyball: Can It Find Its Legs In Cleveland?

With the major changes taking place in the Browns front office, is there room for Moneyball?

"Moneyball" is probably one of my favorite sports movies of all time. It's right up there with "Remember the Titans" and "Glory Road." The nice thing about "Moneyball" is it brought me and countless other sports fans into a brand new way to think about sports...with math. The whole concept of the movie was that a successful baseball team could be created using unappreciated players. By unappreciated, the idea was that teams were utilizing statistics that were overblown. They were ultimately not very helpful in determining a player's actual value to a team. In order to fix this, all new, more accurate statistics had to be created to better gauge the value of a player.

Baseball has been a very statistical game for as long as anyone can remember, so you might think that finding these new and improved stats might not be that difficult. And you might be right. But what about football?

Paul DePodesta was credited with revamping of the Oakland A's that came as a result of Moneyball. A few years ago, Paul was hired as the Chief Strategy Officer of the Cleveland Browns, ideally bringing with him a new way of thinking about the game of football. Previously, a good football player was only determined via their game film and often today that is still the case.

Football is so very different than baseball, with so many different schemes and options. I'm left only to wonder what DePodesta is dreaming up in the Browns front offices. Needless to say, his tenure with the Browns has gotten off to a slow start. The Browns have won only a single game since his hiring and Sashi Brown, the de facto general manager during Pauls first year and a half with the team, has been fired along with other personnel. Still, core members of his coworkers remain among him. With the hiring of John Dorsey as GM, Eliot Wolfe as assistant GM, and Alonzo Highsmith as VP of Player Personnel, people are tentatively saying the Browns front office is now one of the top three in all of professional football.

My hope is that DePodesta remains. At the time of Sashi Brown's firing, Paul and his staff's futures were uncertain. Given that when a new GM comes into a situation with former members of another GMs staff, the old team goes and the new GM brings in his own team. While it is difficult for me to look at the results on the field and point to why Paul should remain employed by the Browns, my belief is that he is intelligent enough to figure out this game and how to beat it. I believe that if he doesn't do it in Cleveland, he will do it somewhere else. I don't know how most of you feel, but I'm tired of former Browns players and staffers finding success elsewhere. I want the talent we have to hit their stride in Cleveland.

One day I'd like to talk to Paul and some of his staff about what they are doing to change the sport of football. It could be something so simple that the rest of us haven't thought to consider it. Maybe there are better drills for players to run at the combine that can better determine their talent. For all I know now, they might not have any idea what underutilized stat or exercise they can exploit to their advantage. This overhaul of the game might not even exist in the same state as it did with baseball. But what I do know is that when the guys in our front office figure out the secret, I want them to do it as members of the Cleveland Browns.

Cover Image Credit: Skitterphoto

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21 Thoughts Everyone Has In A Workout Class

I feel like I'm in an 80's workout video!

New Year New Me is the basic theme that will flow throughout the month of January. A common goal is getting fit and back into shape, a lot of people turn to group classes as a way to reach their goal.

1. Do I really actually need to go to this?

I just did a marathon yesterday... granted it was a Law and Order SVU one on Hulu...

2. Oh I hope they don't think they can take my spot!

Unassigned assigned spots people!

3. I will definitely be getting Chick-Fil-A after this

4. Oh god we're starting

5. Ok just starting is the hardest part

I just need to get past the first 5 minutes and it will be smooth sailing

6. *warm up ends* how am I so sweaty from just the warm up

7. I should have done water aerobics because then my sweat wouldn't be noticeable

8. I feel like I'm in an 80's workout video

9. Wait what are we doing I zoned out!?!?10. THIS IS MY JAM!!!!! I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!

10. Wait what's its name?

I literally only ever hear it in here. If only I could open SnapChat really fast and Shazam it!

11. I'm going to be coming to the class until the day I die

Which is going to be a really long time from now because I'm prolonging my life because I'm working out.

12. I'm so tired *checks to see how much time has passed* how has only 15 minutes passed?!?

13. This is an hour class I have 35 minutes left

that's more than an episode of Friends

14. I should have come here with a friend then we could laugh off our suffering together

15. This music is so loud and I can't hear the instructor

16. Can we please slow down like just a little bit

17. Is it normal to see dots?!

18. Is it because I'm not breathing or because I'm not drinking enough water

19. Ok I can do it

Finish the rep don't let the rep finish you!

20. Cool Down!!!! God is real!

21. I did it!!!!! WOOOHOOO

21. Gotta post on SnapChat that way everyone knows that I'm living my best life

Ok now time for my Chick Fil A!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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