Super Bowl LII May Just Be The Most Important Super Bowl In American History, Hold Onto Your Hat

Super Bowl LII May Just Be The Most Important Super Bowl In American History, Hold Onto Your Hat

Will Brady take away the Eagles' Cinderella finish?
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With plenty of hype and buzz surrounding next Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and Eagles, there are plenty of storylines to look out for leading up to, as well as during the game. Whether it be the potential for Tom Brady and the Patriots to build upon their already impressive résumé or Nick Foles and the Eagles to play as the ultimate underdog, the implications for this year’s game, which happens to be a rematch of 2004’s Super Bowl, are bigger than any game in recent memory.

For the Patriots, Super Bowl rings are the only piece of hardware that matter, and with a win over the Eagles, Tom Brady could lead New England to a Super Bowl championship for the 6th time during his tenure at the helm of the team. After pulling off a historic comeback against Atlanta in the final minutes of last year’s Super Bowl, Brady has already cemented his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time, and now, all he’s doing is tacking on extra accolades before he inevitably retires.

However, with Brady prioritizing longevity alongside his success, who knows how long he could remain in the league? In addition to Brady’s undeniable greatness, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is also looking to add to his already impressive résumé with his 6th Super Bowl win, all of which have come alongside Brady in New England.

Although New England experienced apparent rifts in the organization between coaches, players, and ownership, a Super Bowl victory would erase any doubts or dark clouds hovering over the Patriots organization.

In regards to the Eagles, a true Cinderella story is on the table in Super Bowl LII. After star QB Carson Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14 against the Rams, veteran backup Nick Foles took over as the signal caller for Philadelphia. And while many fans had suspected Foles and the Eagles to roll over and give up on a seemingly hopeless season, the team did the exact opposite, beating formidable opponents in Atlanta and Minnesota en route to the franchise’s third Super Bowl appearance.

The most striking part of the Eagles’ QB debacle is that Nick Foles could lead the team to their first Super Bowl championship in the team’s 85th-year history; and play as a backup next season, if he even plays at all. For Foles, this game is about rooting yourself in the history books forever and becoming a legend among the streets of Philadelphia.

Finally, it’s important to note that Philadelphia is five-point underdogs in this game, making the Super Bowl the third time this postseason that the Eagles have not been favored to win the game. Although Philly finished the regular season with the best record in the NFC, the loss of Wentz for the remainder of the year surrounded the team with plenty of questions going into the playoffs.

But now, after the Eagles have pulled off incredible upsets over the Falcons in the Vikings, anything is seemingly possible against a Patriots team that showed signs of weakness against a scrappy Jacksonville team in the AFC Championship Game. And now, with everything on the line, the road to a 6th title for Brady and the Patriots might be a lot more difficult than initially as expected; as Nick Foles is truly paving the way for America’s greatest Cinderella story.

Cover Image Credit: @espn

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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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