Tag Archives: Inspire


Nick Walker | High School Spotlight

Nick Walker

Henryville’s senior standout is a team player on and off the court.

By Kristin Kleinert | Photos by Darryl Middleton

On Nov. 21, just four days shy of his 18th birthday,
Nicholas “Nick” Briceson Walker will take the court for the first home game of his final year of high school basketball.

screen-shot-2017-11-06-at-3-56-29-pmThat night he’s set to hit the 1000-point mark for career points scored (he’s only nine away) and,
before the season concludes in February, he’ll most-likely rank in the top five of almost every basketball stat kept at his high school in Henryville.

But folks, he doesn’t tell me any of that.

I sit with Nick in a quiet gym on a Thursday morning during his fall break. Going in, I already know he’s a huge part of his team’s successes over the last few years and that he’s expected to have a great upcoming season. I know there are multiple colleges interested in him and that he’ll be working to bolster that interest over the next few months. But I quickly learn there’s a better chance of me winning this year’s NBA dunk contest than getting Walker to boast about himself. Throughout our time together, he looks me in the eye and calls me “ma’am.” His listens thoughtfully to my questions and answers earnestly, but the word he uses more than any other is: TEAM. He works it into almost every sentence.

It goes something like:

ME:  “Tell me about your goals for this season.”

NICK: “I want the team to win the sectional tournament.”

ME: “Ok. But tell me about a personal goal. Something you want for you.”

NICK: “I want us to win the sectional. My team and me.”

And the conversation continues in this manner. I ask questions about the individual, and Walker gives responses that include his team. He is not uncooperative by any means, but quietly turns the conversation toward his team every chance he gets. It’s organic and sincere, and I have to think about it afterward before it even becomes obvious to me Nick Walker is simply humble.

Though he always had a ball in his hand from an early age, Nick actually began by watching the sport as a spectator at a local youth league. “My friend played at Graceland and I’d go and watch,” Walker remembers. “His coach wanted to start a travel ball team, and he asked me to join. I got to play with guys like Romeo (Langford) and Cobie (Barnes).”

His love of the game solidified, and Nick joined the basketball program at Henryville Elementary School in 5th grade (the first eligible opportunity offered in his hometown). Since that time, Nick has been a favorite among his coaches and an asset to the program.

When Walker entered high school in 2014, Henryville’s varsity basketball was in transition with a new coach and hadn’t experienced any success in some time. In fact, the Hornets had only won a total of three games over a two-year period. Nick was an instant boost to his teammates that year, starting every varsity game but one.

“Nick’s first varsity season – my first season – we won nine games,” said Henryville High School boys varsity basketball coach Jared Hill. “It was still technically a losing season for us, but it was a huge improvement over where the team had been the two years previous. Nick Walker was definitely part of the reason for that growth.”

Of course I only learn this information from Coach Hill, as Nick tells me very little about his personal contributions at all. Instead, he briefly reports on his disappointment in the losses that first year and his pride in the team when they came together to create successful winning records in the following two.

“The times when your team has been working on something together and it’s effective – when you’re all having fun – that’s probably my favorite thing about basketball,” Nick admits.

What Nick’s team cultivated during his sophomore and junior years was definitely “effective.” In fact, the Hornets’ 2016-2017 season saw 19 wins, breaking the school’s record for most regular season victories.

I glean more information from Coach Hill about Nick Walker, the individual. I learn he is a good student and popular among his peers. His teachers often ask if he is as quiet at ball practice as he is in their classes. He adores his family and is a doting big brother to his little sister, Maya. And when it comes to basketball? Nick is a gem.

“All the guys know, if all else fails, give it to Nick. His ability to make plays – successful plays – is one of his greatest strengths,” Hill remarked with pride, then added: “Now, if we could just get him to quit being so unselfish all the time.”

In last year’s Ted Throckmorton Memorial Tournament at Jeffersonville High School, Nick scored 114 points in four games against some of Kentuckiana’s top teams, making the all-tournament team as the leading scorer overall. This summer, he was honored to participate in the prestigious Indiana’s Top 100 Workout at Ben Davis High School. And the buzz from college coaches is getting intense. (Of course, Nick didn’t tell me any of that.)

I head out of the gym, excited about what the future holds for Nick. He’s a remarkable young man and a talented athlete. Next fall, he plans to become an asset to a new team, this time at the university level, while working toward becoming the first in his family to become a college graduate.

As I’m leaving, I run into physical education teacher John Bradley and ask him about Nick. Bradley is a former high school basketball coach and still loves the game, so of course I’m expecting something basketball-related.

“In all my years of teaching, in all the classes I’ve had, I’ve never had a kid who wants to involve every student – every single one of them – the way Nick Walker does,” Bradley tells me.

I’m interested but surprised that his comment has nothing to do with Nick’s skills on the court. He seems to notice and elaborates: “Every P.E. class has kids that are hesitant, maybe because they’re less-athletic kids or students with special physical needs. But Nick put in whatever effort it took to make sure every kid didn’t just participate but wanted to do so. I’ve just never had a student who could make the whole class join in like he did.”

He pauses, then adds, “It’s just something that stood out to me and it says a whole lot about the kind of person that young man is.”

But folks, Nick Walker’s not going to tell you any of that.


The Athlete Next Door | Josh Keown

Josh Keown, 40, of Louisville 

Art Director for Pizza Today magazine and Digital Coordinator for Comedy Central’sTosh.0 screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-6-53-11-pm

Where do you workout? 

Home four days a week and ProFormance Health and Wellbeing one to two days a week.

What is your weekly fitness routine? 

After a few years of Crossfit, I went back to basics this year. I started working out at home. All you need is a few pieces of equipment and the willingness to get uncomfortable in your comfortable home.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-6-53-02-pmMY ROUTINE 

Every day: 10 minutes of mediation, 3 rounds of Wim Hof breathing and Egoscue movements to get the body/mind primed for the day

Monday and Friday: 250 pushups, 75 strict pull-ups, 200 squats, 150 situps

Tuesday: A lot of shoulder work. Weightlifting and mobility because I have suffered a few dislocations in my right shoulder

Wednesday: Punching the heavy bag for six rounds and rowing at ProFormance

Thursday: Leg work and I will mix that in with some fun arm sets

Saturday: Trail run and a few hill sprints

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-6-53-07-pmWhat about your diet? What’s it like? 

I’m always asked why I don’t weigh 1,000 pounds since I work for Pizza Today, a national magazine geared toward the pizza industry. I limit myself to pizza once a week. I keep it simple. Find healthy foods that you like and eat them every day. I start each day with a protein smoothie that I make at home. Lunch will consist of a chicken breast and bag of frozen vegetables that are easy to heat up in the break room. Dinner is usually more fun with homemade tacos or gluten free pasta.

What compelled you to change how you approached your health? 

I always enjoyed working out, but I also liked wine and eating out six days a week. I wasn’t seeing any results. Then I started educating myself on nutrition and mindset. It was a game changer and since I started cleaning up my diet and meditating, things have slowly started moving in the right direction.

How differently do you feel at 40 as opposed to when you were 30? 

I definitely feel better physically, but the biggest difference is my mindset going into 40 versus 30 is I’m way more focused and happy.

What advice do you have for others? 

Patience. Be patient with yourself. If you start a program and you have a bad day or week. Don’t quit. Get back up. Be consistent. 

Incorporate small changes into your lifestyle. If you try to overhaul everything on a Monday, you’ll be back to your old ways by Tuesday night. Start with trying a new healthy breakfast for a few weeks. Then move to lunch, and so on. Start hanging out with people who inspire you to be better. Get rid of the friend who tries to drag you down. Keep it simple. Even if you have zero equipment and no gym membership you can have an amazing workout. Just get to moving and break a sweat.

BREATHE. Be conscious of your breath. A few times a day sit up straight and take ten deep inhales/exhales. You notice the tension you have in your shoulders will fade away. Around 3pm every day when I start to feel a little tired I will find an upbeat song and breath to the beat. It’s an instant pick-me-up.

Photo of the Aug. 21 eclipse viewed through tree leaves in Southern Indiana.

Inspire | September 2017

Photo of the Aug. 21 eclipse viewed through tree leaves in Southern Indiana.

Photo of the Aug. 21 eclipse viewed through tree leaves in Southern Indiana.

The Eclipse!

Where were you Aug. 21, 2017, during the Great American Eclipse? Whether you travelled to experience totality, stepped outside of your workplace or home to take a (hopefully safe) glance or didn’t give it a moment’s thought, many did on all accounts. And we’ll have the opportunity to do so again in seven years.

While we (allegedly) won’t experience complete totality in most Southern Indiana areas when the eclipse returns in 2024, we are on the path. Will you be there?

What or who inspires you when it comes to fitness, sports, health and life? Send your favorite photo and an explanation of why you think your photo would inspire others or why it inspires you, and we could publish it in an upcoming issue of Extol Sports. Email us at extol@extolmag.com.


Inspire | August 2017

inspireIt’s a Boy!

Normally, we post a photo of an athlete or location meant to induce inspiration. This time, however, we’re using this space to announce the birth of The Final Say columnist Zach McCrite’s second child, Monroe, though, of course, all props should be given to mama Brit McCrite, who is an inspiration herself.

Monroe Patrick McCrite was born July 5 at 4:26 p.m. at Floyd Memorial Hospital. Expect to see updates and videos of his progress in the coming weeks, months and years. Oh, and if you’re not already following Zach, you should. His Twitter handle is @BigEZ.

What or who inspires you when it comes to fitness, sports and health? Send your favorite photo and an explanation of why you think it would inspire others or what about the image inspires you, and we could publish it in an upcoming issue of Extol Sports. Email us at extol@extolmag.com

Photo by Ashley Bowen Photography 


Inspire | July 2017

Take a moment to stop and smell the roses – or strike a pose.”
–Erica Weddle


Photo of Erica Weddle, who is a personal trainer and yoga instructor in Nashville, Ind., was taken on the Big Four Bridge by Nick Tannehill


What or who inspires you when it comes to fitness, sports and health? Send your favorite photo and an explanation of why you think it would inspire others or what about the image inspires you, and we could publish it in an upcoming issue of Extol Sports. Email us at extol@extolmag.com.



Inspire | June 2017

“Persevere, one of my favorite verbs in the English  language (of Latin origin),  means to continue on  steadfastly, persist. A theme of mine is to persevere  through life with intention  – not merely get by, walk, limp, or be led through a life of decisions made for me by someone else or as a result of my indecision.” – Hannah Cobine

Hannah Cobine is a Southern Indiana born, Louisville living, forever Hoosier with a degree from IU-Bloomington in Public Affairs. Project management consultant by day, fitness enthusiast, champion of women, community, and the concept of self-love by night, this occasional runway model, short-middle distance runner and terrible yet persistent golfer also is a former basketball player (who occasionally still laces up her Js) and has an ear for Jazz, R&B and Neo Soul music, and a taste for Bordeaux-style wines (specifically Carmenere…just in case you were wondering). Follow her on Instagram @hannie_b_


Unleashing the Human Spirit

Special Olympics Indiana hosted its Area 2 Basketball Sectional on March 18 at Henryville High School. Athletes – like Braeley England (pictured) – from 13 counties competed in the tournament.

The not-for-profit organization provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities, which includes more than 12,000 athletes across Indiana.

“We take in anyone with intellectual disabilities, 8 years old and a desire to become more active and achieve personal growth,” said Michelle Dewitt, Special Olympics Indiana’s Washington County Coordinator. “They division everyone according to ability This ensures they learn and compete with others of like abilities. Trust me, they are very competitive too! They (also) have skills for individuals who cannot play a game. This gives them the opportunity to build skills. Some eventually move on to play on a team while others remain competitive in skills.”

The organization relies heavily on volunteers and exists solely on corporate, civic and individual donations. To learn more, go to www.soindiana.org.