Although Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles have been struggling on the field this year, I still love them. Check out this video of McNabb getting involved in the JCPenney and the NFL's Take a Player to School Day. In each NFL city, a player is chosen to take a winning child to school for a part of the day. It looks like a lot of fun for everyone involved.
Thanksgiving and football go hand in hand for me and every year I enjoy eating way too much and taking a seat next to my Dad on the couch for a day full of exciting football action. This Thanksgiving weekend I did just that and also attended the first round NCAA game between my alma mater, the University of Richmond Spiders, and the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. It was a great game as the Spiders ran through Eastern Kentucky, 31-14, to advance to the quarterfinals of NCAAs. I was excited to see some of my football friends doing so well and having their hard work pay off with a big win.
Tim Hightower, who is a Walter Payton Award finalist and a good friend of mine from school, worked extremely hard training this summer and has been having an amazing year as a result. I saw a huge difference in his agility, speed and strength as he carried for 180 yards and added a touchdown to the scoreboard. After hearing about him breaking records all year, it was great to finally see for myself how much of a difference his training has made in his game. Check out this link for the Tim Hightower Richmond Football page: University of Richmond Football: Tim Hightower
I am very thankful I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family back east and watch Richmond take out the competition in person. The No. 6 Spiders will be facing No. 11 Wofford next Saturday in Spartansburg, S.C. Good luck, Spiders!
Last Saturday I kicked off my return to an active lifestyle by heading over to the San Diego Zoo for the Walk on the Wild Side 5k walk. I had yet to visit the world-renowned zoo so it was a great opportunity to experience a new place and kick off my active lifestyle, all in one day.
I was excited to start my new training and rehabilitation plan, but didnt realize how excited until the weekend of the Walk on the Wild Side. The night before the walk felt similar to a night before a game --maybe not to the same level, but I was definitely feeling the anticipation and energy. Saturday morning I woke up before my alarm and jumped out of bed, just like I did on game days in college. This is worth noting because I am the farthest thing from a morning person. I stretched and did some physical therapy exercises for my back for about 30 minutes. I never thought I would have to prepare my body for 30 minutes to walk three miles, but thats life. I left the house mentally and physically prepared to take on the days events.
The walk started on Zoo Drive, and took us on a unique trip before the zoo opened to the public. At the start, I laughed to myself thinking about how mentally focused and psyched up I was standing at the starting line. For the past five years Id been preparing myself that way and apparently I approached the walk in the same manner. No harm done, but definitely amusing considering the difference between a Division I college lacrosse game and a 5k walk around the zoo.
We walked past several different animal exhibits on our route, but my favorite was the panda bear exhibit. The San Diego Zoo has four pandas on-site, the largest population of pandas in the United States. Its hard to believe that these beautiful pandas are the most endangered bear species in the world. I was glad to hear that the Zoological Society continues to do its best to help the pandas and many other animals on the verge of extinction.
It was a great day and Im thrilled I had the chance to experience the San Diego Zoo by exercising and raising money for the Zoological Society. I am not sure what my next event will be at this point, but I am sure Ill treat it like a game day just like this one.
Before diving into my blog about my life after college, Id like to set the scene a bit and introduce myself. So here is a short clip about where Ive been, where I am now, and where I plan on going.
I grew up in Radnor, Pennsylvania, as a very active kid. I participated in every sport under the sun. I loved being active and trying new things so my passion for all sports grew as I did. In high school, I played soccer, basketball and lacrosse, and also participated in other sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding and tennis. I was recruited to play both soccer and lacrosse in college but chose to pursue lacrosse. It was evident right away that I had an amazing opportunity in front of me. I fell in love with the University of Richmond and spent the next five years of my life there.
So life was good. Everything was going smoothly until I got stick checked in the head at practice one day during the fall of my freshman year. This check resulted in my first concussion and would not be my last. One concussion led to another and eventually ended my lacrosse career.
In college I endured another injury: I herniated two discs in my back which led to other problems including a partially torn oblique muscle.
Since I received a medical red shirt my sophomore year, I took a fifth year but didnt want to risk my body anymore. Many of you are probably wondering what took me so long-- I wonder the same thing--but when sports are your life you will do almost anything to keep them from slipping away. My back was so messed up at this point that even if my head was normal I most likely still would not have been able to play.
I was on board as a student assistant coach for the year and although I struggled with not being able to play, I enjoyed teaching, strategizing and creating plays for the team. It ended up being a great experience and I was able to learn a lot about myself. I graduated in May 2007 with a great education, amazing friends and teammates, leadership experience as a three-year captain, coaching experience, three Atlantic 10 championships, three NCAA appearances, a No. 8 ranking at best and, unfortunately, a pretty damaged body.
A few months after graduation and the end of my Richmond lacrosse run, I moved out to San Diego to start working for the Active Network as an online community coordinator, which is where I am today. I plan on doing a lot in the next year, including coaching lacrosse, experiencing new sporting events, traveling and, most importantly, healing my body so I can go back to leading an active lifestyle. Stay tuned and join me on my journey as I begin life after college.