Hey Stampede Blue/Colts/football fans! Here we are near the end of another NFL season and I wanted to start this entry by saying “thank you” to Vox/SBNation/Stampede Blue for letting me stick around here for four years. Here’s to many more! Cheers!
My football journey started roughly 30 years ago in a suburb of Chicago called Geneva, Illinois. My first taste of football was padded tackle football for a team called the Chargers in a league I had to “play up” against sixth graders due to my size (I weighed 135 pounds at 8-9 years old and in third grade). Our uniforms were that of the Packers because that makes sense and my very first quarterback went on to play at the University of Northern Illinois. His name was Shiloh. I started out playing fullback and middle linebacker. When my family moved to Mooresville, Indiana, my parents did not think very highly of the youth football program there, so I played basketball, baseball and wrestled until 7th grade, where I played football both years at Paul Hadley Middle School before playing four years of football at Mooresville High School, then a 4A school with about 1,250 kids.
I live for football. I watch every live game I can and love watching All-22. I’ll watch YouTube highlights and grainy cell phone videos, too. My first love were the Miami Hurricanes and then the USC Trojans. When I was 15 years old, the Colts drafted Peyton Manning and the rest is history.
I graduated from Mooresville in 2002 and within a week, was on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus full time as part of the Gold Rush program. Basically, I got to start taking classes and “living the college life” a week after graduating high school instead of whatever else there was to do. I decided to go to the open football workouts every day for exercise and otherwise lived on the basketball and volleyball courts at the Co-Rec when I wasn’t in class or doing homework, working at Hot Topic in Tippecanoe Mall or playing video games in my dorm room. If you went to Purdue between 2002-2005 and were a gym rat, you can attest to this (Landon Ohta and Chris Lacey). Before my 20th birthday, I was in the best shape of my life and got pulled out of weights to sit down with the man himself, Joe Tiller, to talk about “my football future”. We first met and as you can imagine, we spoke with an assistant I can’t remember for over 2 and a half hours while we watched my highlight tape and broke down film. I’ve kept that to myself because when I was younger, I had a bad habit of embellishing things.
Joe died in 2017 and frankly, that hurt because I knew Joe from the time I was 15 years old. I went to many football camps in high school and Joe was at several of those and was at games I played in, albeit not looking for me but a teammate. I was not directly recruited by Purdue, in fact I was not directly recruited at all (I remember loving Joe Tiller and Bill Lynch, then the head coach at Ball State, though. Bill was nice to me.). However, I got a nice SAT score when I was a sophomore in high school, got some letters from some schools and basically knew I was attending Purdue before I got my drivers’ license. Boiler up!
Just to clarify, I was raised an IU fan, but they fired Bobby Knight so we don’t rock the crimson and white on Old Oaken Bucket day in this house. Also, lil man down there in Bloomington is 0-9 against my Boilers in basketball, so I don’t want to catch any crap. Boiler up!
I went to Purdue with the intent of being a pilot or air traffic controller. I flew planes and learned everything about aviation and more. Ultimately, the FAA went on a hiring freeze in 2005 and I wound up over 350 pounds, depressed until frankly, I heard Marine Corps cadence and saw Marines running in formation. I lost over 100 pounds in around 90 days to join the Marine Corps (and escape Indiana, a bad job market and economy). I was an 0351, which to me, means I am an infantryman whose specialization is demolition and small rockets. Grunts can do calculus, too!
While I was in the Marine Corps and during my unit’s (2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines Weapons Company) work-up for the 26th MEU, I played a full season of padded football with my Battalion. I dislocated and broke my shoulder first diving for the pylon (went fully extended and a guy tackled me from behind), but was considered integral because I drove HMMWV’s, so was told to take some Morphine and drive with my arm in a sling. I can’t feel the fingers on my right hand and my shoulder has never been right, but I didn’t miss a day of work unless it was for surgery. Ultimately, after 9 days on the ship, I was sent back with my battle buddy, RJ Rady, as we had both been injured and required surgery.
RJ had stepped on a mortar tube another Marine had dropped on a hump when he passed out and blew out his knee (completely, too. He would’ve had to walk with a cane the rest of his life.). I was with him through our surgeries. When you get sent back from a deployment and have to have surgery, they send you home on convalescent leave for 30 days at a time. RJ went home to Florida, I came home to see family here in the Indianapolis area. Ultimately, I met a physical therapist the Marine Corps would pay for that I believe now works for the Colts. He did such a great job that the Marine Corps gave me a second month at home to recover. RJ died during that second month (which always broke my heart) of my leave of what was described as a prescription drug overdose with cocaine in the system. His family did not get his SGLI, I was not allowed to take leave to go to his funeral and the Marine Corps forced me out six and a half months after he died. I didn’t want to go home, a doctor convinced me it was in my best interest.
Run tell that.
RJ had died doing what we Marines absolutely loved to do (partying and drinking with friends), but had done the wrong thing and died as a result. Drugs are bad, kids. Except RJ and I were best friends, and if you know me, you know that I won’t beat you up for booze, cigs or weed. I will, however, not be your friend if you do hard drugs. I will distance myself from you and I feel like I’m a decent person, so that should be incentive enough to discourage its use. RJ had admitted to me in private early on in our friendship that he had an addictive personality and had a backstory including drug use.
For over a decade, I thought that RJ killed himself by using cocaine in combination with prescription drugs and alcohol at a party off base on the night of April 12, 2007 I think? If you’re a person that “does it all”, let this sink in. RJ was the 2nd best athlete in our unit before he was injured having been a Division 1 hurdler at some school in South Carolina, and our best athlete was a guy from Florida named Brandon that originally played WR at Kentucky. That combination of vices will kill even the best of us. That’s my point. You aren’t RJ.
Last summer, RJ’s wife Paola came to me with some new information that frankly changed my life. If you know me well, for the longest time, I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been deeply depressed, anxious that something bad is going to happen to me when I speak up about my time and this situation, have been combative to the people I should not be, and have closed off and have really isolated myself from people as I’ve gotten older for better or worse. I originally applied for PTSD benefits and was denied because “I’m not a combat Veteran and RJ died off base and it was his fault” (this is what I was told in my Psychological Evaluation the VA did). I’ve also been denied life insurance by State Farm in the last year when I applied because my VA Medical Record has evidence of PTSD as a result of trauma written down in it along with the distinction that I am AMA and I’m not in any way. Anyway, Paola came to me with information suggesting RJ was murdered at that party. In fact, the girl that did it admitted to doing it via Facebook messenger to Paola (after Paola picked her out of a crowd in one of the last photos of RJ that was taken) and even pontificated that to Paola that RJ isn’t the only Veteran she’s killed.
Let that sink in. I have evidence from the murderer admitting to having multiple victims and I’m 1,000% positive NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. To be frank, I am not interested in money, I don’t think his parents need the money, but I do believe in righting the ship. I believe that we are all inherently good and want good for those we love. I am seeking to right the ship.
I have contacted Onslow County Police and Jacksonville Police in the last year. I have contacted who I thought were PAO’s within the Marine Corps and I guess too much time has passed at this point, so I’m taking this path instead. I am openly suggesting this girl is either married to or the child of either a police officer or an active duty servicemember. Why else has nothing been done? This is a public forum. I didn’t commit a crime. I reported it to the correct authorities and nothing has been done. I figure it’s because I haven’t been loud enough about it.
I’m going to need a bigger megaphone, apparently.
After watching the Colts and Pacers doggedly for years, I have decided that in order for me to get the megaphone to create change, I want to become the first person ever to be the head coach of an NFL and NBA team. In order to do that, I have taken a volunteer position as the QB coach and hopefully “offensive architect” or coordinator for the Indiana Cutters, part of the Battle Ground Football League for 13 seasons. The team has won 3 championships and last year won their first round playoff game. Our goal this year is to go undefeated, win our league, win the league championship and win our National game should we win our league championship. Additionally, I am in the process of starting my teaching career at an IPS school near you as a substitute while I figure out where to get my degree in Data Science with a minor in coaching and health & physical education (and an education certificate). I want to teach technology/gym class and head up the Data Science club in addition to coaching sports.
I figure that I’m probably about a year away from actually being in the position to take a teaching job should school start tomorrow as I already have a degree, just want something to stand out on a resume is all. I figure I’ll have to be an assistant at the high school level or some crap before I’ll be able to take over a high school program. My goal is to be a college coach by 45 (I’m 37) and “in the league” shortly thereafter. I intend to lead with empathy and use data science to help decision making. If you know me, you also know I watch a ton of live football, watch film, and have been scouting quarterbacks for our draft guide this being my third season. My goal is to scout a player I coach and then coach a player I scout.
I’ve begun my coaching career by attending volunteer workouts at that really nice turf field on the same property as the old Central State Hospital off North Tibbs here in Indianapolis. My guys are out there typically Friday/Saturday for now. If you’re 18-40 and want to play padded football, hit me up! Want to be a sponsor? Hit me up!
We are sponsored by the United State Marine Corps and have five legacy players that have contributed $500 each to the team’s annual budget of $10,000. Hold on to your money as I don’t even know what to do with it. We could use clothing sponsors, gear sponsors, a permanent indoor practice facility and a permanent home field to centralize our team, because right now we practice off Tibbs, our home games are played in Bloomington and we’ve got players from all over the state. The team is named after the “cutters” from Breaking Away. This means our team name is actually the Indiana Stoners because “Stoners” was the original term for the group in the movie. We are considered the Buckeye leaf for helmet stickers, too. Lean into the skid, right?
I’ll leave you with gifts.
Do you coach football and want to connect with your players? Consider using a Zoom call to demonstrate your offensive concepts using Madden/NCAA Football as these games let you build custom playbooks you can share with your players and they can use them playing with any team in the game. You can go a step further, like I am, and use Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football 2020 to design your own custom plays and playbook (including drawing plays up on the fly) for a more immersive experience. Let me say this directly, if your team uses Madden/NCAA Football, my team will beat you because we can sim our EXACT offense. You can probably only sort of mirror your offense otherwise.
Lastly, if you know me, you know that for the last 6 or 7 years, I’ve been a shell of my former self. Frankly, EA is a thief of joy and they stopped making NCAA Football. NCAA Football is a cornerstone of my life that was taken from me due to greed. Madden feels recycled, there aren’t fantastic alternatives currently and I’m not excited about the future of video game football. However, I stumbled upon something that makes me immensely happy. It’s called NCAA Football Revamped. A small team of developers have taken the NCAA Football 14 shell, upgraded the graphics and reskinned the game. You can find them on Twitter and here’s a video explaining how to put it on your PC.
I would only ever ask that you follow me and help to amplify my voice. You can follow my YouTube channel here. You can find me on Twitter here.
I’ll update you every Sunday morning/afternoon. I promise.