Thanks For Staying, Jalen

Jalen Hurts, You've Earned Your Place In Bama Football Stories

Your dedication does not unnoticed.

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It has been two weeks since Alabama fans and football fans everywhere witnessed a Disney like a movie. Jalen Hurts came off the bench for an injured Tua Tagovailoa to lead the Crimson Tide to a come from behind victory. Ten months earlier in the same building, Tua replaced Jalen to lead Alabama to a national championship and now Jalen got his chance to play hero. In a time in college where athletes transfer due to playing time, Jalen Hurts stayed at Alabama and took on his role as backup quarterback.

There was no doubt that Jalen and Tua aren't friends and supporters of one another, however, it must have been difficult not being on the field as much as you wanted. Jalen handled this title the same way he had handled his time as the starting quarterback "calm, cool and collected". He supported his team and the team supported him. Each time Jalen entered to play in any game, the fans would give him a standing ovation. When Jalen decided to stay at Alabama for the season and burned a possible redshirt, the fans greeted Hurts the way he had been greeted while he was a starter.

Then on December 1st, 2018, the Alabama students erupted with support for Jalen when he was needed most. For someone to come in after being replaced and deliver an important victory shows how much Jalen Hurts loves his school but it also shows how much Alabama loves Jalen.

Dear Jalen,

You have come a long way since arriving at Alabama in 2016. To start out as the scout team quarterback to becoming the first true freshman to start under Nick Saban at Alabama, you brought a new dynamic to Alabama. You provided a spark in the offense and showed how the game was adapting. You were never phased. Being down by 21 points in your first SEC away game you brought the team back and now seniors in college were viewing an 18-year-old as the leader of this team. Even why times got tough you always found a way to stay positive and that was on display in the national championship game.

Everyone has their struggles and while it can be frustrating sometimes a team needs a spark. When Tua came in you did not throw a tantrum or yell but found ways to help and became his biggest fan. You were there to congratulate him and celebrate him and that did not change even when you became the backup quarterback. You were the first one to hug him after a touchdown and you always worked with him to find ways to improve. You showed college football how friendship and family come from football but also how it is important to remember after football.

The relationship you have with Tua goes deeper than the football field. Hearing that Tua's parents are grateful for you and pray for you helps people understand the connection and the outreach the two of you share is something people have started to look at. You stayed when things got tough. You could have taken the escape from Tuscaloosa and gone anywhere else but you didn't. You made an important decision and when you were needed the most you were there. You stayed because you wanted to improve and you knew that even though you might not have as much playing time that you were becoming a leader of this team. People looked up to you and when you took the field in Bryant Denny there no bigger supporters than the student section. You remind us to always stay strong when things get tough.

So, Jalen, the football analysts can say what they want about you as a quarterback but as a player, you have shown your resiliency. You have shown that your heart is in the sport and you embrace the adversity. The game of football is more than just the game itself but the relationships created. Thank you for reminding the community about the hard work needed to succeed. You have shown that you can be the biggest supporter but you can also be a superhero when needed. There are only a few people like you in this world Jalen and Alabama is lucky to have you.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The NEW New York Jets Will Change Sports Culture And How Other Fans View The Team

I do think as a collective group, us Jets fans finally believe it is our time, our opportunity to finally win something.

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December 30th, 4:00 p.m. eastern time, another year has just completed for the New York Jets. A year in which finished quite similar to all the rest, a lot of losing and a blowout loss in week 17 to the future Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

However, there was one difference with the end of the 2018 season, and that was Sam Darnold, the Quarterback.

As a Jets fan, for the last eight-plus years, there has been little to no hope after the season ended because they did not have that franchise changing QB every team covets. But this year, this offseason everything seems different, and everything is different.

Entering the 2019 NFL offseason, the New York Jets boasted the second most cap space in the NFL, and the buzz across the league was that they were going to spend all of that cash in order to build the proper foundation around young star QB Sam Darnold. One week into free-agency it is safe to say they are doing just that, and they are not just spending their boatloads of money just to spend it, they are spending it smartly.

Although extremely early in the process it seems this new Jets regime seems to have it figured out, where others, (as us Jets fans sadly know) simply did not. I have heard many fans of the NFL tell me that the Jets are overspending, they are giving players money that doesn't deserve it, i.e. Leveon Bell. However, there is no justification for not giving a star player a little extra cash to ensure he will not join another team. That point is especially true when you have a young franchise QB like the Jets currently have... DAMN, that sounds good to say... but I digress, The last time the Jets won a super was... well, actually let's have some fun with this... clearly I was not born, my parents were not born, gas was $0.35 a gallon, and we had yet to land on the moon.

If that does not put in perspective for you then well I guess I am trying to say to you is ITS BEEN A LONG FREAKIN' TIME. 52 years exactly. Why emphasize instead of just telling you the number of years? Well because I wanted to, and if you are not a Jets fan, you needed to know just how astonishing, painful and LONG it has been.

However, I do think as a collective group, us Jets fans finally believe it is our time, our opportunity to finally win something. We are not a greedy fanbase and you would be surprised on how much even a home playoff game would mean after sharing a division for 18 years with Tom Brady, Bill Bilichek and the Patriots. Although with all hope their needs to be some type of grounding reality, some pessimism, because we are and will always be the "Same old Jets"... So until we win something that motto cannot be changed and will not be changed(not even with new uniforms)... but hey Jets fans, at least we're not currently Giant fans? Right? Buckle up, this may be the year.

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