Tag Archives: Health

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EDITOR’S NOTE | February 2018

By Angie Fenton

Photo by Christian Watson

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-2-02-37-pmOne of the best aspects about being the editor of a publication is getting to know the people and places writers and photographers highlight. Sometimes, though, it’s also getting to know the individuals who pen and capture the stories.

I had no idea until this issue was being produced that writer Remy Sisk felt comfortable on the slopes – he skis routes most of us will never traverse. Thankfully, Remy and his friends accepted the opportunity to enjoy Paoli Peaks shortly after a snow storm hit Southern Indiana and Louisville for this issue’s cover story. Remy’s article is a fund read – ride – and I hope it encourages even the rookies among us to put Paoli Peaks on our must-experience stops this winter.

The University of Louisville continues to dominate headlines and not always in ways that are positive, so I hope my fellow Cardinal lovers and sports fans in general will appreciate Jeff Nunn’s piece about the all-star women’s basketball team led by Coach Walz.

If you’re seeking a bit of inspiration, check out this month’s INSPIRE subject, Shannon Burton. She is proof that strong is beautiful. And Jeffersonville High School’s innovative approach to helping young athletes get stronger is a power read, too.

If you made a New Year’s commitment to get in shape but failed like so many of us do, check out Health Corner. It’s not too late to start anew.

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The Cheat Sheet | Ramen Bowl

The Exchange Pub + Kitchen

By Angie Fenton

Photo by Matt Simpson

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-2-08-38-pmI RECENTLY HAD one of those “close your eyes-I don’t want to talk to anyone-let me savor every bit of this” moments at The Exchange Pub + Kitchen. On the advice of Rod Juarez (who is the general manager at MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in New Albany), I went to The Exchange for what I thought would be a solo working lunch. Without looking at the menu, I ordered the Ramen Bowl ($16/lunch; $19/dinner) – Rod’s suggestion – and flipped open my iPad. A few minutes later, when my server placed the huge bowl in front of me, all I could do was stare and inhale the aroma.

The beautiful dish was a mix of pork tenderloin, Brussel sprouts, jalapeno, cilantro, green onion, carrots, radish, soy miso, ginger broth and ramen noodles topped with a beautiful egg. After the first bite/sip, I shut my iPad, turned my phone face down and simply enjoyed. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I lost track of time and was almost late to my next appointment. The combination of flavors, the presentation, the aroma…I’ve dreamt about them since. Not kidding.

Now, I get that the price is pretty hefty, particularly at lunch time, but the portion is massive. What I couldn’t eat – and I wanted to eat it all but simply couldn’t – I took home and served to my two-year-old that night for dinner, careful to pluck out the jalapenos, and ate the rest for lunch the next day.

The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, 118 W. Main St. in New Albany, serves lunch 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and dinner 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. You can find more information at www.exchangeforfood.com.

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Louisville ‘Survivor’ Contestant Inspires

Norton Neuroscience Institute nurse practitioner Jessica Johnston’s ‘amazing’ experience was on display across the country 

 

The opportunity of a lifetime came calling for Louisvillian Jessica Johnston in March 2017. That’s when the 29-year-old was selected as a cast member for the 35th season of “Survivor,” CBS’s Emmy award-winning reality television show.

Despite the fears and challenges Johnston faced on a remote Pacific island, she brought back great memories. If given the opportunity, she even would do it all over again.

“The experience was amazing and I made friendships that I will have for the rest of my life,” she said. “I am very appreciative of the fact that I got to experience what thousands wish and apply for each year.”

Johnston is not exaggerating. According to CBS, the show receives more than 20,000 applications each season. From those applications, only 18 participants are selected to be “castaways” on an island, where they face environmental, physical and psychological challenges during the show’s competition format.

“Mamanuca Islands, Fiji, was breathtaking,” Johnston said. “As a participant on ‘Survivor,’ our amenities were lacking, but the scenery was amazing.”

Johnston left Louisville for Fiji in late March 2017, and filming began in early May. For the first four episodes, the contestants were divided into three teams: “Heroes,” “Healers” and “Hustlers.”

Johnston, who is a nurse practitioner with Norton Neuroscience Institute in Louisville, was part of the “Healers” team, composed of people who serve others by helping them heal physically or emotionally.

On the island, she and her teammates slept in makeshift shelters and ate as little as half a cup of rice per day.

“I remember being hungry a lot. Coconuts were plentiful, but the raw coconut meat and milk were hard on our stomachs,” she said. “Spearfishing was an option, but it was very difficult and took hours in the scorching sun to possibly catch a very small fish. You had to ask yourself, ‘Is the effort worth the reward?’ And in most cases it was not.”

Johnston spent months prior to her departure preparing for the challenges. Physical preparation not only entailed physical workouts but also reducing her food intake.

“I eat six small meals a day focusing on high protein and multigrain foods. I knew that food would be scarce and availability would depend on my team’s ability to fend for ourselves. So, I started cutting back on my food intake and reducing my meals by one each week,” she said. “By the week prior to my departure, I was eating one meal a day. My stomach began to shrink and my body was responding to the ability to function on the reduced amount of calories.”

Johnston lost about 10 pounds while on the island.

Johnston believes her faith and past experiences served her well in preparing mentally and emotionally.

“I found myself drawing inspiration from both my education and work experiences,” she said. “Five years of intense study to complete my doctorate degree while working as a nurse and managing life in general taught me to overcome challenges.”

She recalls feeling awful and drained some days, telling herself “You must push through” both during her career development and on the TV show.

Her ability to manage dominant personalities as well as softer demeanors also was a help.

“I interact with all types of people,” she said. “Dominance in a game like ‘Survivor’ can be a challenge. I felt ready to take on the challenge.”

In addition to her career as a nurse practitioner, Johnston has a deep passion for health and wellness.

“I challenged myself to use my degree as a nurse practitioner and personal trainer to bring my passion for health and wellness together to benefit others,” Johnston said. “In 2016, I founded Belovist, a community of health entrepreneurs and enthusiasts gathering their expertise of health, fitness and nutrition to help educate, motivate and inspire those looking to begin or expand their journey of health and wellness.”

After being the seventh “Survivor” castaway to be voted off the island, Johnston is happy to be back home and is appreciative of all the support she received from her friends in Louisville and her family and friends in her hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

In December, when the season finale of “Survivor” aired, Johnston flew to California to reunite with all 18 castaways. Gathering with the cast confirmed for Johnston that, if given the chance, she would do it all again.

“Being with everyone to watch the final episode and seeing Ben (Driebergen) win just reminds me how much I enjoyed the process and would definitely do it again,” she said. “Fingers crossed that door opens in my future.”

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Rekindle your romance with your New Year’s resolution

BY VANESSA SHANNON

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-2-45-43-pmStatistically you’ve already failed.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions have been tossed aside, forgotten about or cried over by mid-February.

But I’m here to challenge you: This February, don’t become a statistic. Fall back in love with your New Year’s resolution.

Many New Year’s resolutions are made out of something we call “holiday remorse,” which follows the time between late October and New Year’s Eve when we let healthy habits slide. We tend to eat more, drink more, exercise less, spend more money, over-extend our social calendars and all-around make poor choices. Come Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m., we draw our line in the sand and make a commitment that it all stops. On Jan. 1. Or maybe Jan. 2. Definitely Jan. 3.

You had the best of intentions, but the plan of attack may have been misguided.

No matter what your resolution may be — losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking or focusing on yourself — the commitment you’ve made is a goal. And every goal needs a plan of attack. Here are three steps to help you develop your plan and achieve your goal:

1. CREATE A ROAD MAP: Put thought into how you are going to achieve your goal. Put your thoughts on paper, create a vision board full of pictures and inspirational quotes, or invite a companion on your journey. 

2. IDENTIFY POTENTIAL ROAD BLOCKS IN YOUR PLAN: You know you will face challenges and hurdles along the way; identify them and take time to think through how you will navigate each road block. 

3. DEVELOP A DETOUR PLAN: Backsliding, relapsing, falling off the wagon — call it what you want. You temporary will lose sight of your goal. Plan ahead for how you will get back on track — without beating yourself up about it. 

The third step can be the hardest to overcome. That is when you have to admit you derailed. Forgive yourself, refocus and get back on track, always moving forward.

Vanessa Shannon, Ph.D., is director of mental performance for Norton Sports Health and University of Louisville Sports Health. 

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PUMPING IRON AND BUILDING ATHLETES

Jeffersonville High School takes different approach to weightlifting

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Story and photos by Jen McNelly

It’s 7:45 AM at Jeffersonville High School and the first bell rings. A group of students shuffle into the weight room. It’s early. Some kids choose to snooze during first period, but not these students. They are ready to attack the day with full force.

“Alright, focus!” yells coach Daniel Struck, right after instructions are given. The music starts and the lifting begins.

Struck, now entering his 15th year of teaching and coaching at Jeffersonville High School, has created a program that takes a different approach to weightlifting. They call it Jeff Sports Performance.

The fully-stocked weight room is equipped with free weights, squat racks, landmines, benches and much more to fit the needs of athletes. “When I first started here, everything in this weight room was broken. It looked like a yard sale. So, what did I do? We literally had a yard sale to get rid of it,” explains Struck. “A lot of other sports and programs have come together to help donate and pay for the equipment that we have here right now.” screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-2-47-22-pm

Students involved in Jeff Sports Performance lift five days a week for the 180 days of school. The program caters to every sport in various different ways.

Brandon Wellington, a senior who recently signed on to play football at the University of Louisville, first heard about the class when he was in middle school. “I knew that I needed to get bigger to play football and I didn’t have much experience in weightlifting. This class was perfect to get me started and has been really convenient because I don’t have that much time after school.”

Athletes from the class have gone on to not only play sports but can be found in every single branch of the armed forces. “We have had athletes from this class score the highest in the PT (physical training) scores in their basic training classes, as well as athletes come back from big programs and say ‘I was the only freshman able to go straight into weightlifting with the older guys because I already understood and performed all the lifts correctly,’” says Struck. “I’ve had college coaches ask what we do and send them videos on what we are doing, but it’s hard to capture unless you are here.”

As a multi-athlete and wrestling coach, Struck has traveled to 23 different countries, “grabbing ideas” from professionals everywhere. “One of the most widely used methods to increase athleticism at many of the world’s Olympic Training Centers has been gymnastics. So, we copy that. It’s really cool. We’ll start off day one with maybe one or two kids that can do a backflip and end the year with maybe 30 or 40 kids that can do a back flip. It’s a huge confidence builder for them. I have offensive and defensive linemen that can do flips. It’s pretty awesome to watch.”

This unique program also has aided in unifying the school. “It has helped to get all sports on one program keeping their progress year-round instead of switching programs every time they switch sports,” Struck explains. “Typically, we start class celebrating what kids in all sports have done, how the weekend went, spotlighting kids and letting each sport know how other sports are doing.”

“You’re a team here,” says Ethan English, a senior who play baseball for Indiana Wesleyan. “It’s not like baseball team, football team, basketball team – it’s the whole school. When you’re working out with other teammates, it makes you just want to be better. We represent Jeff High. I really look forward to that every day.”

“We’re all working together,” Wellington adds. “When you see one person hit their max, you’re just hyped for them. Even if you didn’t hit your max, it doesn’t matter. This class is helping us all get bigger and better.”

However, unlike most weightlifting classes in high school, Jeff Sports Performance is about far more than just lifting weights.

“One of the things that sets this class apart is how we work on the entire person,” says Struck. “The weightlifting or sport is what we have in common, but we come together to try and create better futures for the kids.”

Every nine weeks, students are required to write three colleges – that makes 12 colleges per year with a total of more than 48 colleges over four years. “Most kids write more, though,” says Struck, “and it works. That’s one of the biggest draws to the class – learning to market yourself to colleges.”

Jaylynn Brown, also a senior who will be on the women’s basketball team at Lincoln Trail College, says writing colleges is her favorite part of the class. “There are millions of athletes who don’t get to play Division I sports after high school, but you get a chance to make it happen for yourself in this class.”

Not every student wants to go to college to play sports, and that’s alright. “But I guarantee they save that college letter,” Struck says. “Just the simple feeling of knowing that they are wanted by someone else outside of here makes a big difference in their life, so we make a really big deal of it when a student hears back from a college. It just really feels good.”

Struck also understands the importance of character development by teaching students how to be coachable, work with others and simply be the best person they can be. In a society where high school students are prone to determine self-worth by the number of likes they get on social media, Jeff Sports Performance has been a big confidence booster to many students.

Struck keeps track of every student’s personal weight-lifting goals. “I work hard to make sure they reach their goals, and I’ll push them. We make a big deal when they get it. It’s really cool to see when a kid reaches their max. Their confidence goes way up.”

To deal with everyday stress and anxiety of teenage life, Struck has worked yoga and meditation into the curriculum as well. “Recent new back pain has really got me into yoga, so I’ve started to do yoga with our athletes here. … Learning to move your body without weight is more important than learning to move big weight with an unathletic body. As for meditation, learning to meditate, to think and be by yourself can really help with what some students deal with each day.”

So, what does Coach Struck hope his students will remember most from their time at Jeff Sports Performance? “More than anything, I want to them to know that you can be good at multiple things.”

At the end of every class period, Struck and his students can be found chanting “Every day!”

“It’s a reminder to them that every day you have to do something to get better,” says Struck.

Follow Jeff Sports Performance – @jeffsportsperfo – on their Instagram page.

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Wiley Brown’s Success at Indiana University Southeast is No Surprise

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-3-13-55-pmBy Howie Lindsey of 790 KRD | Photos by Danny Alexander

Wiley Brown’s success as the head coach at Indiana University Southeast (IUS) isn’t a surprise to those who know him best. And it’s not really a surprise to those he has barely met.

Brown seems to have that effect on people.

“My grandmother rooted me in hard work, always helping others and putting a smile on someone’s face,” he says with a broad smile of his own.

Sitting behind an unassuming desk in his modest office inside the IUS Athletics offices that are attached to the Grenadiers’ home gym, Brown echoes his grandmother’s words: “Someone you meet may be going through something worse than you are.”

Brown’s quick smile and warm demeanor combined with a strong work ethic and his extensive basketball knowledge have formed a successful mix for the IUS Grenadiers the last decade.

Under his direction, the Grenadiers went to seven consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament appearances from 2007-8 to 2013-14. Brown has led IUS to six River States Conference (formerly known as Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletics Conference – or KIAC) tournament titles, and he has been named KIAC Coach of the Year three times (2010, 2012 and 2014).

When you ask Brown about his coaching success, he deflects the praise.

“The two Hall of Fame coaches I have trained under – that’s a good way to start,” Brown said.

And truly,Brown has learned from two of the best.

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-3-14-18-pmHe spent 15 seasons at the University of Louisville in various capacities, from strength training to interim assistant coach to outreach coordinator. His tenure bridged the years between Denny Crum and Rick Pitino.

Brown says he learned from both Hall of Fame coaches.

“Coach Crum, I took his strategy in scheduling,” Brown said. “We play a tough schedule in the beginning and you learn from them. That’s Coach Crum’s philosophy. And then, hopefully, by the time you are at this point, your team is moving in the right direction. Those games that you have when you blow teams out, you just don’t learn from those games. You learn early against tough teams, so when that happens at the end of the season, you already know from earlier how to handle it.”

This year’s Grenadier team played well, but took losses to Bellarmine, Lindsey Wilson and Georgetown. They learned from those games and won 9 of 10 games from Nov. 30 through mid-January.

From Pitino, Brown says he learned to focus on getting his team just right for a run in the postseason.

“Coach P always had his guys ready for tournament play,” Brown said. “He may not have played a tough early schedule, but he got them ready in different ways, and by tournament time, they were always tough.”

On the sideline, Brown is a little closer to Pitino than Crum’s Cool Hand Luke persona.

“Coach Crum was always so laidback, on the court and off the court,” Brown said. “Now, I’m not like that on the court, but he would also tell us all the time: ‘You guys are grown men, and you came here to play college basketball. I am going to let you play.’ That is what I try to give to my guys now. And Coach Pitino as well. He would reign them in, in the beginning, but when it got to conference play and then tournament play, he would loosen that string up and let them play. You have to play loose at the right times.”

Brown explained, “Really I learned from both coaches that you always have to let the talent show. I try to let my guys go. As long as they play defense and rebound, I’ll take a few bad shots every now and then. I want to let them show their talent.”

His ability to work with players is really his coaching hallmark.

“I think one of the reasons he’s such a successful player’s coach is because he’s done it,” IUS Athletic Director Joe Glover said. “He’s been there at the highest level and knows exactly what they’re going through as student-athletes.”

Brown’s knowledge for the game was evident to the players back when he was a strength coach at UofL.

Marques Maybin, former UofL star and current host of Midday with Marques Maybin on 93.9 FM said, “You hate to be so cliché with Wiley Brown, but you know he just knows. All you have to do is talk to him for three minutes, and everything that comes out of his mouth is right. It’s hard to doubt him because he did it as a player and a pro. Everything about Wiley Brown says he’s knows basketball, especially Louisville basketball.”

It was that basketball knowledge, combined with his connections in the local basketball scene, that made Brown so attractive to IUS a decade ago.

“I’m very blessed. I really am,” Brown said. “I have a great job here. I loved my time at the University of Louisville, and I was fortunate to use my experience at the University of Louisville to get this job here. … This school to take a chance on a coach who had never been a head coach before. I had coached AAU basketball, but they gave me a shot.”

Brown took the reins at IUS and ran with them, winning 24 games in that first season and more than 200 games since taking over.

“He wanted to be in that position for a long time, and when he got his opportunity he has taken advantage of it,” Crum said. “I am really proud of him. It’s a good place, a nice university and it’s close to home here. I don’t know where he could have gone that’s better than that spot.”

Brown understands Kentuckiana’s basketball culture and knows where to find the right players to add to his roster mix. Every player on the IUS roster is from an easy drive to New Albany, nine from Kentucky and eight from Indiana.

But Brown’s success at IUS isn’t just a product of Crum and Pitino or his local connections. His success has come from years of hard work.

“Everything Wiley Brown has he earned with hard work,” Louisville Assistant Athletic Director Jim McGhee said. And McGhee, a 40-year staff member at UofL, knows all about hard work. “Wiley worked hard at every spot and worked his way up. And he can work with anybody.”

The roots of that work ethic go back to Brown’s hometown. When introducing himself to crowds or in interviews, Brown likes to start with the line, “I’m from Sylvester, Georgia.”

“My hometown means very much to me. It is still special to me,” Brown said. “I don’t know if I could live there today, but my older sister lives there and my younger sister lives there. My grandmother, who raised me, passed away a couple years ago. And my mother, they passed away about a year apart. … I still go back to visit.”

Brown and his three siblings were raised to value hard work.

“My grandmother always said, ‘There are going to be some bumps in the road, but how you get over those bumps is what will make you the man you are going to be’,” Brown said. “I grew up like that – we didn’t have very much, but we didn’t know it.

“We always made the best of it, and family is the most important thing. I love going back home to visit my sisters. That’s my roots. That’s where I started from and why I am where I am today.”

Brown was a standout athlete from the very beginning. He was an excellent football player, but basketball seemed to be his first love.

“We lived in the projects in my early years, and there was always basketball goals there. The rims didn’t stay on for long, but in those days, it wasn’t concrete for the court. It was dirt. We had dirt courts back then,” Brown recalled. “We didn’t have nets on the rims, so you didn’t know if it went through or not in the dark. Playing like that always made us stronger.”

Louisville discovered Brown on a tip.

“We had an alumnus and traveled in that area, and when he didn’t have anything else to do, he would go to the high school games,” Crum said. “He told me about this kid who played football as a tight end and defensive end. He was an all-state athlete, but he wanted to be a basketball player. We went and talked to him, and he came to Louisville.”

Football was still an option to the very end.

“I was either going to go to the University of Georgia or Florida State, but some things happened with the coaching situations there, and Coach (Jerry) Jones came down to watch me play,” Brown said. “Coach Jones used to coach in Tifton, Georgia, and he knew the area. He brought me up to Louisville, and I fell in love with the area.”

And the area fans fell in love with him, too.

As a sophomore, Brown helped Louisville win the 1980 NCAA Championship. He started all 36 games for the Cardinals, playing alongside fellow legends Darrell Griffith, Scooter and Rodney McCray, Derek Smith and Jerry Eaves.

“We’re still close to this day,” Brown said. “We keep in touch all the time. We always make sure we rally around each other, stay in touch and keep up with each others’ lives. We have stuck together even today.”

During his time in college at Louisville, Brown and teammate Derek Smith are credited for “inventing” the high five. Let him explain.

“I tell all the youngsters, ‘I know you all weren’t alive when I played, but just go and look up who invented the high five,’” Brown said. “They always look it up and then say, ‘Coach, I can’t believe you invented the high five.’ That’s a crazy story, and I’ll go to my grave still telling (it). I tell my son that his father helped invent the high five.”

Brown explained further: “We would always do the low five in practices, of course, but Derek Smith, my best friend, said one time, ‘Give it up high,’ and from then on we generated all that excitement and momentum throughout everywhere we played. So, the high five was invented just from a moment in practice when we were slapping hands. You gotta understand it was me, a 6-foot-8 guy and another 6-8, so why would we do the low five? So, we just said, ‘Let’s throw it up high,’ and that’s exactly what happened.

“We played on national TV all the time, and then you saw a lot of other teams start doing it, too. It’s something to be proud of. I’m absolutely proud we started something that caught on throughout the nation. It goes down in history. We still do the high five today.”

After Louisville, Brown returned to football. Then, Dick Vermeil and the Philadelphia Eagles came calling.

Brown was a pioneer for college basketball stars switching to the NFL. What is now more common place – guys like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and WKU’s George Fant – was remarkable in the 1980s when Brown was under contract for two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After the NFL, Brown spent time playing professional basketball in Spain, France and Italy. But when it came time to settle down, Brown came back “home” to the Kentuckiana area.

“This area has embraced me, and I love this area, too,” Brown said. “That’s what I hope happens with the guys at Louisville now, too. I know the fans will embrace these players at UofL now and treat them like family like they have always treated me like family.”

Of all the accomplishments in Brown’s life story – the NCAA title, the high five, the NFL, pro basketball and coaching success – he was quick to say what he is most proud of: his four children (Nina, Breauna, Wiley Jr. and Caleb) and getting his degree.

“When we walked across that stage, it was special,” Brown said. “It was an amazing feeling. My top highlights: getting my degree, having my kids, winning that championship. … I tell my guys all the time, ‘Please don’t take this for granted. Please focus on getting your education. It can take you a long way, a lot further than this basketball game will.’ “

Brown made the UofL honor roll twice and graduated with a degree in communications, health education and Pan-African studies in 1992.

“It is very, very important to me that they get their education,” Brown said. “It was instilled in me at a young age by my grandmother. And then when I got to Louisville, to see an All-American graduate in four years like Darrell Griffith did, that spoke volumes. It really did. Derek and I, when we went off to our professional careers, we came back and got our degrees. … I want all my players to get their degrees.”

Glover said he values Brown’s focus on academics: “The thing that I believe sets him apart is he truly looks at all those players like they’re his sons. He goes to bat for them and it’s really not just about basketball. It’s more about life and making sure these young men succeed and get their degree.”

Brown has led IUS to success on the court and off, but he’s not done yet.

“I got a taste of the Final Four a few years back, but I want more. I want a national championship here,” Brown said. “I’m telling you, I can hear this ringing in my ear. When we won our national championship, Darrell Griffith was on that stage, and he said, ‘We won the national championship. But that also means we are No. 1 in Bulgaria and Sweden and everywhere.’ It doesn’t make a difference if it is an NCAA championship or a NAIA championship, being No. 1 means you are No. 1 everywhere you go. No one else is the NCAA champion that year. No one else is the NAIA champion. I would love to win a national championship here.”


“ IT DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF IT IS AN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP OR A NAIA CHAMPIONSHIP, BEING NO. 1 MEANS YOU ARE NO. 1 EVERYWHERE YOU GO.”

– WILEY BROWN

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Louisville Women’s Basketball Marching Toward The Top

By Jeff Nunn of CardinalSportsZone.com | Photos by Adam Creech, courtesy University of Louisville Athletics

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-3-18-59-pmThe old saying is “If you wanna be the best you gotta beat the best.” The University of Louisville Women’s Basketball team wants to be the best and they are dominantly marching their way straight to the top and taking on all comers.

Louisville came into this season ranked No. 10 in USA Today’s preseason coaches poll. The schedule ahead of them appeared daunting, as they would have to face six teams ranked in the preseason top 25 (No. 1 UConn, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 12 Duke, No. 14 Florida State and No. 24 Miami).

Louisville also had the possibility of playing No. 11 Oregon and/or No. 23 Michigan in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament, making that potentially eight preseason top 25 teams as well as a trip to Lexington to face nemesis Kentucky – never an easy trip.

The Cards are coming off of a season that ended in the Sweet 16 and are returning nine players from that team. Included in that nine are Asia Durr, the ACC’s preseason player of the year, and Myisha Hines-Allen. They also bring in the nation’s top recruiting class that includes Dana Evans, Lindsey Duvall and Loretta Kakala.

UofL head coach Jeff Walz confidently marched his wealth of talent into this season like a proud peacock. The look in his eye during preseason interviews was as easy to read as a mother goose nursery rhyme. And that message was that he was sitting on something very special.

It didn’t take long for everyone to see exactly what coach Walz already knew when, in the second game of the season, Louisville played No. 8 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. It took overtime, but Louisville prevailed 95-90. Just four days later, Louisville faced No. 24 Michigan in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Louisville destroyed them by 25 points and, only two days later, would play No. 11 Oregon in the championship of the NIT. The Cards easily handled that challenge winning by 13 points.

Front Row – 12 Lindsey Duvall, 23 Jazmine Jones, 10 Sydney Zambrotta, 2 Myisha Hines-Allen, head coach Jeff Walz, 25 Asia Durr, 11 Arica Carter, 24 Jessica Laemmle, 1 Dana Evans Back Row – Video Cordinator LaMont Russell, Executive Director of Player Relations Adrienne Johnson, associate coach Sam Purcell, assistant coach Sam Williams, 3 Sam Fuehring, 32 Loretta Kakala, 21 Kylee Shook, 33 Bionca Dunham, associate head coach Stephanie Norman, Director of Operations Kate Tucker, Assistant Strength & Condition Coach/Special Advisor to the Head Coach Beth Burns, Asst. Athletic Trainer Keressa Ackles, Sports Performance Coach Kaitlynn Jones

Front Row – 12 Lindsey Duvall, 23 Jazmine Jones, 10 Sydney Zambrotta, 2 Myisha Hines-Allen, head coach Jeff Walz, 25 Asia Durr, 11 Arica Carter, 24 Jessica Laemmle, 1 Dana Evans
Back Row – Video Cordinator LaMont Russell, Executive Director of Player Relations Adrienne Johnson, associate coach Sam Purcell, assistant coach Sam Williams, 3 Sam Fuehring, 32 Loretta Kakala, 21 Kylee Shook, 33 Bionca Dunham, associate head coach Stephanie Norman, Director of Operations Kate Tucker, Assistant Strength & Condition Coach/Special Advisor to the Head Coach Beth Burns, Asst. Athletic Trainer Keressa Ackles, Sports Performance Coach Kaitlynn Jones

Since winning the NIT, Louisville has been smashing opponents like they are driving an armored tank through a pumpkin patch. This well-oiled machine has enjoyed a school record run of victories that include a 22-point win over Vanderbilt, a 13-point victory at Indiana, a 24-point victory at Kentucky, a 6-point win over Duke and highlighted by a 100- 67 win over then second ranked Notre Dame.

With that victory over Notre Dame, Louisville climbed to the second ranked team in the country, which is the highest regular season ranking in school history. Also with that victory, the Cards improved to 19-0 that extended a program record for consecutive wins to start a season, which previously stood at 15.

All the winning is fun for the Cards but looming ahead is a date with top ranked UConn. On Feb. 12, Louisville will travel to Storrs, Connecticut, for a 7 p.m. battle that will likely be the barometer of how close they are to being the best.

UConn is, and has been, the gold standard in women’s college basketball. Over the past 10 seasons, they have made it to the Final Four each and every year, winning six national championships, including four straight championships from 2012-16. They have won 11 total national championships since 1995. From Nov. 23, 2014, to March 31, 2017, UConn put together a 111-game winning streak where 108 of those were won by double digits and 61 of those were victories of at least 40 points.

This season, UConn is undefeated and still holding that No. 1 spot that they were voted to during the preseason. UConn and Louisville have one common opponent that is worth noting if you are trying to find some way to compare these teams. Both have played Notre Dame. UConn won by 9 and Louisville won by 33. While I don’t put a ton of stock into that comparison, it’s all we have until they clash in February.

If both teams win out until they meet, as expected, it should be No. 1 (24-0) vs No. 2 (25-1).

As epic as this confrontation sounds, the outcome will not make or break either team’s season. The winner of this game, barring any late season bad losses, should set themselves up to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. The loser should be in line to receive one of the three remaining No. 1 seeds.

While UConn has plenty of NCAA tournament success, Louisville has done pretty well themselves. Under Walz, Louisville has made 10 straight NCAA tournament appearances. During that span, Louisville has finished as the NCAA runner-up to UConn twice (2009 and 2013).

In both of those runner-up years, Louisville had one of the best players in the country leading their team. In 2009, Angel McCoughtry led the Cards, and in 2013, Shoni Schimmel was their leader. This season, Louisville has, in my humble opinion, the best player in the country in Asia Durr. But the difference between this team and the two runner-up teams is that Louisville has Myisha Hines-Allen, who would be the best player on about 98 percemt of every other team in the country. Yes, Louisville has an amazing 1-2 punch, as well as a very good supporting cast that seems to keep getting better as they gain experience. Also, the development of junior Sam Fuehring and sophomores Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook really makes them a deep team. That depth makes Louisville a team that just wears you down over the course of a game.

Could the star power balanced with the great supporting players be the perfect formula that takes the Cards all the way to the National Championship? I’m not sure, but I definitely wouldn’t bet against it.

Regardless of whether they win it all or not, the Cards have marched their way straight to the top and given themselves the opportunity to see if they have what it takes. It should be very fun and interesting to witness. Stay tuned.

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SOCCER 101 LESSON 1: BASIC RULES

BY KEVIN KERNEN

Debuting in this month’s edition, we’re going to take a look at the rules, history, culture and competitions among other facets of the worldwide soccer tapestry. For the uninitiated, consider this section a crash course in understanding the world’s most popular sport; for the indoctrinated, you’ll probably learn something new as well.

The rules for the game of soccer (referred to as some variation of football virtually everywhere else) are governed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), not FIFA. There are 17 rules that explicitly outline every aspect of the game, and as a certified referee, I can assure you it’s not an easy compendium to internalize. For your sanity, I will distill the first five rules for you here, along with some commentary.

RULE 1: THE FIELD OF PLAY

Much like in baseball, parts of the dimensions of the field can vary. The length of the pitch (a term unique to soccer that we’ll explore in a future issue) can vary between 100 and 130 yards, while the width is somewhere between 50 and 100 yards. Yes, you can have a square pitch.

At the end of each half is the penalty area, also called the goalie box, 18-yard box, or simply the box. This is the area that the goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball in. A foul committed inside this area results in a penalty kick (we’ll get to that next edition). The smaller box inside of the penalty area is called the goal area, and is sometimes referred to as the 6-yard box or the six.

Other than that, there is the penalty mark, measuring 12 yards from the center of the goal. This is where penalty kicks are taken from. If you’re wondering what the arc is at the top of the penalty area, that’s for during penalty kicks. Players must stay 10 yards away from the spot until the moment the ball is kicked, and that arc is the area of exclusion outside of the penalty area itself. For penalty decisions, this arc is not considered part of the penalty area.

RULE 2: THE BALL

Every team at LouCity’s level uses a size 5 soccer ball. Fun Tidbit: Colors of balls vary between manufacturers, but in case of snow, match officials will break out an orange neon or yellow ball. Let’s move on.

RULE 3: THE PLAYERS

There are 11 players per team, including a goalkeeper. The 10 players that aren’t the goalie are often referred to as outfield players. In the United Soccer League, where LouCity plays, each team is permitted three substitutes, a convention the USL only adopted last season. Once a player is subbed off the field, they are not allowed to re-enter.

RULE 4: THE PLAYERS’ EQUIPMENT

While policy on shirt sponsors varies from league to league, players are required to have:

1. Shirt with sleeves

2. Shorts

3. Socks

4. Shin Guards

5. Approved Cleats (sometimes called boots)

This ensemble is often called a kit.

Make sure to check back next time as I’ll be covering the contentious area of fouls, bookings, and sendings off.


For top teams in Europe, kit sponsorships are lucrative propositions that can yield eye-watering sums. For instance, in 2014, England’s Manchester United (one of the world’s most valuable sports team) signed a seven year, $559 Million deal with Chevrolet, per Forbes.com. On top of that, kit suppliers (Nike and Adidas being the most affluent) splash out even more ridiculous amounts for the right to manufacture and sell teams’ shirts. Another top European team, Spain’s Real Madrid penned a 10 year, $1.6 billion deal with Adidas to produce kits for Los Blancos.

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The Mind of a Maniac

By Jim Bieryscreen-shot-2018-01-31-at-3-30-57-pm

Let me begin by stating this is not a “collect your participation trophy and orange slice” type of sporting event I am going to discuss today. Not even close, my friends. This is a soul-crushing, spirit-testing, physical and mental test that not only tries to crush the will of its participants, but actually can leave them thinking they cannot possibly be able to finish what they have started — and many don’t!

Even the titles of these events can be intimidating. Would you be excited to compete in something called a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash? How about a Spartan Ultra Beast? The event I mentioned last includes a total of 30 miles of course that presents participants with 60 plus obstacles in order to complete the course in one day.

What I want to focus on is what it takes physically and mentally to not only attempt one of these ultimate events but what it takes just to train for an event. This sport demands participants to be at their absolute best in their upper body strength, cardio endurance and the ability to block out rain, mud pits, freezing temperatures and changes in rough terrains and elevations. This is not the obstacle course at the Battle of the Network Stars.

So, I set out to try and understand what the mindset is for these athletes. As a very, very competitive person, I can relate to having to push yourself well beyond your comfort zone to reach that level of determination that is needed to overcome pain, injuries, even insecurities that may limit you not only in competition but in life.

What might surprise some people is that there are a good amount of women taking part in these races. Although it really shouldn’t. When the going gets tough, tough women get going! I’m sure we all know that you take the strongest man you know and give him a little case of the flu, and you have just created one of the biggest babies you know, whining about his fever, can’t make his own food, needs to be waited on hand and foot.

As I was researching this story, I was introduced to one tough mudder (pun intended). My wealth advisor Kim Knight has raced many, many times, including some races that required her to crawl through mud underneath barb wire that was electrified. She did this alongside several former Marines and told me she had the perfect person to talk to: Allow me to introduce Nicole Austin, who grew up in Michigan and played many sports including soccer and basketball, and was on the women’s rowing team at Michigan State University. While at MSU, she attended a class that required her to choose an event that took her beyond her comfort level and write about the experience. She took part in what is called a Spartan Race, which is a three-mile course that started with having to jump over a four foot wall. This race ignited Nicole’s love of competing in ultimate races.

My goal was to uncover the mental toughness it took to overcome pain, failure, and self-doubt. All of these things are common fare in this sport. Like a lot of athletes, she has had to overcome many injuries, including a snow boarding accident that resulted in a lower back injury. Nicole finished a race with a broken bone in her foot, and to be covered in sweat, mud and a little blood means nothing to her. Keep going. Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way or stop you. That is the mindset that helps her climb walls, run many miles, lift 70 pound sacks and carry them on her back to the next drop off point.

She is so competitive with herself that she mentioned she was becoming depressed because she was “racing for the podium.” This meant if she didn’t finish high enough in her class, she couldn’t be recognized as a top finisher and stand on the podium as she collected her medals. Once she realized that she was trying to overachieve on every race and that it was affecting her mentally, she began to look around and appreciate the close-knit society she was part of and how everyone is so supportive of each other. “If someone is struggling getting over an obstacle, others in the group will fall back to help that person conquer his or her stumbling block,” she said.

As she continues to train for the next event, I asked her how she deals with all the pain from the injuries she had endured. “Although my back pain was excruciating at times, I just realized that it will always be there and hurt because it is in my bones,” said Nicole. “So, I decided to train smarter and get my core stronger to overcome the pain.” Since she has taken part in so many races, she knows exactly what obstacles will be on the course so she can train specifically for that instead of just running and lifting weights.

So why does she keep going? Is she trying to prove something to herself? Is she trying to prove something to someone else? “You can have a really high tolerance for pain,” Nicole explained, “but then you can have an even higher mental tolerance for pain. So, once you hit that physical pain, you know that it can’t get worse. I know my foot is broken and it’s going to hurt, but it won’t get worse from here.”

And, she tells herself, “You paid for this, you’re gonna do this.” (By the way, the average cost of an entry fee is $125 and that doesn’t include travel and food.)

Nicole – and other “mudders” and “maniacs” like her – are proof that if you truly want something in life, it may come with pain and setbacks, but if you want it badly enough, nothing can stop you. Not even yourself.

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Working Toward Some Peace | FamFitter

By Adam & Kristin Kleinert 

Last month, we briefly illustrated the effects stress often has on our family. If you didn’t catch that particular column, just know that the role stress plays in our household is significant, both individually and as a family unit. And, because we agreed that our current stressors are simply a reality of a lifestyle we love, we decided to explore and employ some new management and coping skills.

First, we took a look into the concept of visualization and, particularly, how it relates to personal focus and anxiety management. We spoke with a local expert to learn about benefits of a visualization practice and we researched methods for application. This month, we began trying out some of the methods we learned. Additionally, we discovered and utilized several other concepts that proved to be effective.

Visualization, Guided Relaxation & Simple Meditation 

Visualization practice was an appealing jumping off point for us. Proponent studies have shown very positive results for people who sought improvement in multiple areas in which our family struggles. Because we each deal with stress a bit differently and also are each seeking results for varying issues, we decided this method might be a great place to start.

We began with basics such as sitting in a quiet space and simply imagining success in

an area where we needed improvement. These areas obviously vary among the individuals in our clan (for instance, Dad isn’t searching for test-taking focus, nor is Mom looking to improve her performance on the basketball court) but the concept is the same. Quiet space, open mind, visualizing a tangible, desired outcome.

As we sought more information and delved a bit deeper, we added other elements to the practice. List-making, strategy building, goal setting, reflection. We began coupling these exercises with the practice of a concept called “Crocodile Breathing” and, before we knew it, we began seeing results.

For our two youngest children, we downloaded several different free apps that offered guided relaxation and simple meditation. (We felt the above mentioned practices might still be a bit above their heads for now.) Both have seemed to enjoy giving these a try, especially at bedtime. As time passes, we’d like to add a brief meditation they can employ to calm and center themselves when they are personally overwhelmed, but for now, we’re satisfied with the improved ease of relaxation.


… DAD ISN’T SEARCHING FOR TEST-TAKING FOCUS, (NOR IS MOM LOOKING TO IMPROVE HER PERFORMANCE ON THE BASKETBALL COURT) BUT THE CONCEPT IS THE SAME.


Journaling 

We stumbled onto the idea of journaling as kind of a side note. It was suggested to us by two different facets, almost the same time. The program our son Eli has been utilizing to gain focus and reduce performance anxiety recommends journaling as an integral portion of its exercises. Coincidentally, our daughter Molly was added to a program at her elementary school in which students begin their morning with quiet journaling before joining the hustle and bustle of the school day.

We were aware of the therapeutic benefits journaling can offer those who partake in it, but we overlooked the additional perks that can be experienced. Both kids (and the adults with whom they interact) noticed a reduction in stress level after each journal session. However, they also seemed to feel more in control of their own anxieties. In addition, Eli’s journal assignments have seemed to help him to become more organized and maintain his focus surrounding important tasks.

Crocodile Breathing 

Another – and quite possibly the most important – skill we’ve put into practice is that of “Crocodile Breathing.” While the concept itself is nothing new, the proper way to employ this method of intentional breath has become more well-known as both mental and physical health professionals are widely recognizing its certain benefits. This breath practice is a key element in meditative visualization and relaxation, and can also be an important catalyst for achieving the physical well-being of one’s body core. (See box for details on Crocodile Breath.)

How It’s Working for Us 

As with most of the endeavors we’ve undertaken, we are still a work in progress. We aren’t living a stress-free life, but we’re making definite improvements. Admittedly, several members of our crew are currently more invested than others, and obviously, our younger two aren’t as capable of understanding some of the concepts quite yet. But overall, we’re seeing better coping skills and a more proactive mentality. For now, that feels like success. At the very least, this has already become one of our most enlightening adventures and we’ve only just begun.

CROCODILE BREATH BASICS

We had heard the term “Crocodile Breathing” many times, but decided to reach out to a local professional for some instruction and advice. Renee Belcher of Four Barrel CrossFit is not only trained in this type of instruction but also is an enthusiastic proponent of this concept. She stresses the physical benefits, as well as the importance, of breath focus.

“We’re chest-breathers, and that’s not what’s healthiest for our bodies. We need to put more focus into using our diaphragms. It’s so important to activate those core muscles with breath that expands our core in a 360-degree function,” Renee said.

She explained that practicing the proper mechanics of the “Crocodile Breath” is the most effective, corrective exercise for retraining ourselves to breath properly. She added that, with regular mindful practice, this type of breath will become habitual. Finally, she emphasized how beneficial diaphragmatic breathing can be for physical and mental well-being.

Renee elaborated, “When you use the crocodile breath model for breathing, you’re encouraging greater thoracic mobilization. You’re enhancing all of the key core muscles, you’re stabilizing your spine, you’re preparing your body for healthy movement. This is ideal to utilize pre-workout as well as for mindful breath sessions, like visualization or relaxation. ”

Here is a brief explanation of the basic steps involved in Crocodile Breathing. The link at the bottom is a great (and very short) online video that can provide audio and visual advice to easily let you try the concept out with your family.

Start in a prone (lying on your stomach) position on the floor.

Bring your fists together and rest your forehead gently on your hands. This creates neutral position of the head and neck, for both a clear airway as well as relaxed neck and shoulder muscles.

Keep legs straight and toes pointed down.

Relax into this position.

Inhale 4-6 seconds, Hold 2-4 secaonds, Exhale 4-6 seconds.

As you breath, focus on the expansion of your belly into the floor as well through the diaphragm.

Finally, bring focus to a 360-degree expansion on the inhale: belly into the floor, through the sides of the torso, as well as into the lower back.

Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ibSb6jQ3Ec for video and more information!