San Francisco Has A New Modern Hero In Marquise Goodwin

San Francisco Has A New Modern Hero In Marquise Goodwin

How the veteran Receiver overcame tragedy and found a new home through football.
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After losing 10 of their first 11 games, the San Francisco 49ers have managed to win three consecutive games. After acquiring Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots at the trade deadline, the 49ers have experienced a newfound sense of emotion, as well as a reason to strive for success. With the foundations in place for a new era of success in San Francisco, Garoppolo and the 49ers are trending more than ever upward and could experience sustained success in the years to come.

Even though Jimmy Garoppolo is at the forefront of the surging 49ers offense, Wide Receiver Marquise Goodwin is proving to be the most important cog in the wheel for San Francisco. Goodwin has proved to be the most reliable target for Garoppolo over the past three weeks, as he has been able to accumulate the best three-game stretch of his career in the three games since Garoppolo took over the starting Quarterback duties for San Francisco.

Over the past three weeks, Goodwin has been able to set career highs in targets, routes, snaps, receptions, and yards per game. Although Goodwin has not been able to reach the end zone, he has proved himself to be one of Garoppolo’s high priority targets in scoring situations. While the tandem of Goodwin and Garoppolo still has a long way to go before they can be considered one of the top duos in the NFL, the cornerstones for success are in place, and the 49ers are virtually on the edge of a historic turnaround.

However, Marquise Goodwin’s journey to the NFL was neither normal nor usual. In the summer of 2012, Goodwin couldn’t be further away from an NFL field. In fact, his hiatus from football allowed him to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where he represented Team USA in the long jump event, finishing tenth overall in the field of 40, and just 1.04 feet away from a Bronze medal. Following the London Games, Goodwin turned his attention towards his football career permanently as he returned to the University of Texas, leading the Longhorns to a championship over Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. Goodwin would be drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the 78th overall pick in the 2013 draft, the following Spring.

After three years of mediocre stagnation in Buffalo, Goodwin was finally able to bloom with the 49ers, as San Francisco’s surging offense has helped elevate Goodwin to the national spotlight. However, Marquise Goodwin’s road to stardom has been laden with hardship and tragedy as the veteran receiver’s losses on the field could never compare to the losses he experienced off the field.

On November 11, just hours prior to the 49ers’ Week 10 matchup with the New York Giants, Goodwin lost his infant son due to complications during pregnancy. Only one month later, Goodwin’s father passed away prior to last Sunday’s contest with Tennessee. The 49ers won both games, while Goodwin set personal records for receptions and yards in both games.

Even through unthinkable tragedy, Marquise Goodwin has been able to carry the 49ers to victory in four of their last five games, and in the process, has become a modern hero for a team that now finds itself only a few steps away from true success.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Taking A Step Back From My Sport Allowed Me To Be Able To Work On These 3 Things

Sometimes you need time away to appreciate the things you love.

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Since the age of nine, horses have been my whole life. Before college, I never had your typical teenage experience. My weekends were spent driving two hours one way to train with a top show barn. My mom and I lived out of our suitcases during the summers, traveling from one show to the next.

The only glimpse of the senior prom I got was through Snapchat's my friends sent of them having the time of their life, while I was going to bed at nine to make sure I had plenty of sleep to compete the next day. I even graduated early to go work for a show barn in Florida for five months. I missed out on a lot, but it never felt that way because of how passionate I was about the sport. I was all in, I loved the thrill of competing, the early mornings, the long days, and most of all: the horses. If you would have told me that I would be here writing about feeling burned out a year ago, I would have laughed.

Going away to college and having to put a bit of pause on my athletic career allowed me to take a step back, breathe, and realize there is so much more than horse shows and blue ribbons to this world. If I could instill a piece of wisdom to my younger self it would be that taking a step back at times is the best thing you can do for yourself. Here is what I learned:

1. Mental health

As many of you know, the pressure of succeeding can put a toll on anyone. I have always been extremely hard on myself, but when I was showing almost every weekend I really started to notice that I would feel upset more than I felt happy. I could win the class but still, come out of the ring criticizing myself over every little thing that went wrong. Because of this, I went into the ring nervous and doubtful. It wasn't fun anymore.

After taking a step back, I have realized that there will always be ups and downs in any sport. I now go into the ring much more confident and I come out smiling- even when it didn't go as planned. There will always be another chance.

2. Physical health

Like any sport, riding takes a toll on your body. After working in Florida for five months, riding up to 12 horses a day, I really felt like something was wrong with my back. However, I pushed through the pain, convincing myself of the quote "no pain no gain". I continued to ignore it, until one day it was unbearable.

I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had herniated my L5 disc. He told us this was completely preventable if I would have rested or taken an hour out of my day to ice and stretch when the pain started. After months of healing and being on a first name basis with my chiropractor, I have realized just how important it is to put my wellness first.

3. Relationships

Taking a step back has also allowed me to develop better relationships with myself, family, and friends. Before, I had such a narrow mind frame and would allow my performance to dictate how I treated people that day. Now after a rough day, I am much better at putting it behind me and not dwelling on it.

I have also realized that I need time to just be "still". Practicing yoga, or meditating for five minutes has made a world of a difference in my relationship with myself (yes, that is a thing).

While packing up to go to school this past August, knowing I would be taking a step back from the sport I love, I felt as though I would never ride as well as I did when it consumed my whole life. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I am now going into the show ring with a clear mind and leaving with a smile on my face.

To my surprise, it has been more than me starting to have fun again- I am riding better, and getting more consistent results than I had before. So, to all those athletes out there that fear to take a step back from their own sport, I am here to tell you that it may just be the best thing you can do for your performance and yourself...

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