Tag Archives: New Albany


INSPIRE | February 2018

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-1-56-06-pmPhoto of Shannon Burton by Ronnie Louis

I have wanted to have a shot like this ever since I saw the shot of Michael Jordan in this pose when I was a young girl. Basketball was my life once upon a time. I was blessed enough to get a full scholarship to both Duke University and Butler University, and I am still a fan of both awesome schools. Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I can palm a basketball. Strong is beautiful, and I will teach my daughters that until the day I die. This picture means a lot to me personally. It tells a story: my journey. It may be 28 years later, but I still feel like one of the luckiest women in the world to have had this experience. – Shannon Burton

Shannon Burton is a wife, mother, model and lover of yoga pants and evening gowns.


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.


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.


Rekindle your romance with your New Year’s resolution


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. 






“WINTERTIME ACTIVITIES in the Midwest are limited,” said Tom Nash, ski instructor at Paoli Peaks. “Coming up here, you can get out on the snow, make some turns and have some fun when it’s cold outside.”

Indeed, Paoli Peaks – a veritable ski resort located in Paoli, Indiana – is one of Southern Indiana’s most unique treasures as it makes the adventures of hitting the slopes easily accessible.

On a recent Saturday, I made the short trip up to Paoli with my boyfriend and some friends, all of whom were at different levels of ability. Let me emphasize this now: As a seasoned skier, not only did Paoli Peaks not disappoint, but it proved to be an absolutely spectacular retreat where all five of us in my party had plenty of fun while also enjoying a vigorous workout and discovering new skills and abilities.

The first thing you need to know is that, the drive is quick and easy wherever you are in Southern Indiana and takes you through the quaint roundabouts of downtown Paoli. Conversation and coffee made the drive fly by, and as we pulled up after less than an hour of travel from New Albany (our starting point), I was ready to see just what Paoli had to offer for the five of us.

As I mentioned, I grew up skiing. My dad would take a ski trip over a beach trip any day.

My friend, Michael, also is a practiced skier, so he and I knew we’d be able to get in some good runs while the others were getting acquainted with the admittedly strange sensation of having two long objects attached to your feet and using them to slide down snow.

My boyfriend, Charlie, and my friend, Whitten, started working with ski instructor Tom Nash while another friend, Sara, started to familiarize herself with snowboarding, an activity she last enjoyed five years ago.

Fortunately for Charlie and Whitten, Paoli is fairly geared toward beginners with several options for those who aren’t yet comfortable with the more advanced slopes.

“Paoli Peaks has a great variety of terrain to accommodate everyone, from the first time slider to the experienced skier to those who enjoy the thrill of terrain parks,” said General Manager Rick McMullen. “Our terrain is largely beginner-focused, but we also have two terrain parks, a glade and several runs with steeper pitches.”

After going through the extraordinarily easy process of getting our rental boots and skis (or snowboard), it was time to get on the snow.

While Charlie and Whitten stuck with the instructor and Sara took some easy hills on her snowboard, Michael and I decided to seek out the tougher slopes. We started in Pioneer Park, a steep descent with various ramps and jumps. While neither of us were quite ready to take to the air, we watched as several other skiers and snowboarders leapt with confidence off the jumps, proving that even the most advanced winter sportsman can find nonstop thrills at Paoli Peaks.

After more than an hour of checking out the different runs and choosing favorites we’d return to later, we met back up with Charlie and Whitten, who were just about ready to try a “real” hill out for the first time. Education is clearly a priority at Paoli, and, as we saw with Charlie and Whitten, the team is sure to provide adequate expertise so that no one feels in danger when they give it a shot.

“Our ski school offers many different lesson offerings, whether it be a group or private setting, child-focused or senior-focused, or racing or adaptive specific,” McMullen said. “Our staff of instructors is highly trained and passionate about teaching and does a fantastic job of getting everyone willing to learn sliding down the slopes in no time.”

The five of us set out on Family Trails, a green (or least difficult) level hill. While there were definitely some spills, the falls didn’t compete with the excitement of learning something new and exploring it with friends for the first time.

“I mean, I fell a lot,” Whitten laughed, looking back on the experience. “But it never really hurt, and once I started going a little bit and gaining more confidence, I didn’t really worry about falling, which I guess made me fall less.”

It took us about 30 minutes to get down the green slope with Charlie and Whitten, and once we rode one of the chairlifts back to the top, they and Sara were ready to take a break and head in to the ski lodge where they could get a bite to eat and relax.

Michael and I, however, were just getting started. We told them we’d meet up with them later, and as the sun set, Michael and I sought out the most difficult runs Paoli had to offer.

We hit a couple blue (intermediate) level runs – our favorite being Powerline – before taking a chance on the black diamond (difficult) Graber’s Express. After peering down the ferociously steep incline, Michael and I flew down it in less than 30 seconds and immediately took the lift back up to do it again.

Though it was dark at this point in our adventure, Paoli is known for its night skiing, which features bright lights across the slopes that provide full illumination. In fact, McMullen pointed out that Paoli Peaks offers several events based around night skiing: “Definitely be sure to check out our Midnight Madness, where we are open until 3 a.m. on select Friday and Saturday nights throughout the season,” he said. “Night skiing is a great thrill for people of all ages.”

A thrill it certainly was.

And to get the greatest thrill we could, we decided to end our day on the double black diamond (most difficult) Bobcat.

On an ordinary ski slope, a double black diamond can often imply moguls, steepness and ice, but Paoli’s double black diamond was even more intimidating: it runs through a patch of trees.

Michael and I looked ahead onto the supremely steep slope dotted with trees, ice patches and roots. We decided we could turn back, but what kind of story would that be later?

In we went, dodging branches and ice the whole way down. It was by far the most challenging part of our day, but as we emerged from the trees a minute later, there was also a tremendous sense of accomplishment. We headed back inside and returned our gear – a painlessly quick process – before meeting up with our crew at the Bully Barn, a cozy bar in the lodge.

Over IPAs and chicken wings, we discussed the day and even started making plans to come back. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Paoli offers snow-tubing for those seeking a less intense thrill, and we committed to checking that out on our next visit.

On the sleepy drive home, I reflected on how grateful I was to have such an amazingly unique place in our community as Paoli Peaks. From Charlie and Whitten who had never skied to Sara who needed to familiarize herself and to me and Michael who were total thrill-seekers, there truly was something for everyone.

We all got exactly what we wanted out of our day, which is another great aspect to Paoli: Your experience can be anything you want it to be.

The staff is friendly and kind, and the whole complex is easily navigable to be sure you get to focus on the activities and not the rental and chairlift process. And on top of all the fun, it’s also a great workout.

As the Louisville skyline came back into view, I remember thinking, “Man, my legs are going to be sore tomorrow.” And I smiled at the thought. I’d earned that at Paoli Peaks.


Paoli Peaks

2798 West County Road, Rt. 25 South



10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday; noon-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-3 a.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. (After February 24, Paoli Peaks closes Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m.)

Lift tickets for adults range in price from $30 to $42 depending on the day and time, and kids and seniors range from $30 to $36. Ski and snowboard rental is always $30.

Stay up to date with latest happenings on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. For more information, visit paolipeaks.com.


Paoli is ready to provide you with ski and snowboard equipment, but be sure to bring a few things with you:

• Gloves, mittens, liner gloves 

• Hat or headband 

• Neck gaiter/face mask/bandana 

• Water and wind resistant snow clothes (jacket and pants) 

• Layering items like vests, tank tops, long sleeve shirts, long underwear, sweatshirts 

• Wool or polyester socks (not cotton), light to medium thickness 

• Ski goggles or sunglasses 

• Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 

• Credit cards, IDs, phone, camera with a safe and secure place to store them 

Forget something? The Paoli Pro Shop, located inside the ski lodge, has you covered with anything you may have mistakenly left at home. If you still have any questions about hitting the slopes for the first time, Paoli’s website has a page dedicated to first-timers at paolipeaks.com/your-first-visit.


Fortunately, a picnic basket isn’t one of the things you need to bring to Paoli. Peaks Pizzeria and Grill, located inside the lodge, is outfitted with enough options to please even the pickiest eater, and the ample seating is the perfect setting to take a break after your first few runs or relax after a long day on the snow. Thirsty? The Waffle and Coffee Bar will get you good and caffeinated for either your first outing or for the drive home. Meanwhile, the Bully Barn – open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays – offers a full bar along with TVs and a fireplace to really give the grown-ups the true ski lodge experience.


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.”




Pat McMahon Brings International Resume to LouCity Squad


screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-3-22-50-pmFor the Louisville City faithful, Pat McMahon sticks out as a foe from both the Rochester Rhinos and, more recently, FC Cincinnati. He also brings both a flowing head full of hair and an international resume to a LouCity squad in need of defensive reinforcements.

A native of Chicago suburb Bolingbrook, Illinois, Pat played for youth team Ajax FC Chicago before enrolling in the Horizon League’s University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005. He stood out as a strong defender while starting every single game in his four seasons there, collecting a pair of league titles as well as reaching as high as sixth in the national polls in 2006. As is customary with talented college players, McMahon played in the amateur Premier Development League (PDL) during the summer months in 2005, 2006 and 2008, joining the Chicago Fire’s youth team in his final foray into the League.

After leaving UIC, where he would later return to finish his finance degree, Pat ventured down to Puerto Rico to trial for an expansion USL team, but nothing came of it. Returning to the Chicago area, Pat enlisted in Bridges FC, a program for unsigned and out-of-contract players that gives them the connections and visibility to different clubs in hopes of signing a professional contract. After a year of hard training with Bridges FC and an international trial with Danish club HB Køge that ended with a fractured ankle and a long layoff for rehabilitation, Pat joined semi-pro Australian team Wynnum District Wolves FC in 2011, along with two other players from the program.

While gaining valuable game experience, Pat found himself working a litany of jobs – from cleaning the team’s clubhouse, to bartending, to pouring concrete foundations – in order to keep his prospects of playing professionally alive. He featured an impressive 55 times over a pair of seasons, winning the Brisbane-centric regular season league title in his first year and taking the playoff trophy the succeeding season, all while earning Player of the Year honors. Although Pat was a fan of the lifestyle and climate, he had outgrown the league, and yet the option of the A-League (Australia’s top division) was unlikely due to the gauntlet of paperwork and visas needed to become a full professional. On a trip abroad with Bridges FC to the quite literally polar opposite side of the globe, Pat earned his first professional contract.

Ljungskile, Sweden, is home to an eponymous club, which has been in the nation’s second division most of its existence. Ljungskile Sport Klub signed Pat ahead of their 2013 campaign, having previously penned Pat Hopkins, a teammate of Pat’s in Australia. Bringing his imposing presence in defense, Pat helped shore up the injury-blighted team’s defense, and the team maintained their second-division status despite having stared down the possibility of relegation.

Pat returned home after his contract wasn’t renewed for the following season. Having played abroad for the last three years, he sought something closer to home and an opportunity to trial with the Rochester Rhinos came up.

In Pat’s first season with the Rhinos in 2014, he took part in 26 contests en route to a sixth place regular season finish and an appearance in the playoff quarterfinals. Following a competition restructuring in the league for the 2015 season (largely due to an influx of expansion teams, including Louisville City), the Rhinos dominated in the newly formed Eastern Conference. In 28 regular season league games, the Rhinos conceded only 15 goals and lost just once before going on to top LouCity in the Conference Championship. Pat and company would then go on to edge Western Conference representatives LA Galaxy II in an extra time USL Final, thanks in large part to Pat’s presence in the back line, which ran to 27 starts, including going all 120 minutes in the Final, a record that Pat hangs his hat on.

Finding himself again out of contract after the 2015 Championship season, he joined upstarts FC Cincinnati for the following season, and again found himself well up the team sheet, netting 27 appearances in the league. After a big turnover in players between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Pat remained in the squad but found himself surplus to requirements with only 92 minutes of playing time on the 2017 season.

Following the path of his former teammate Luke Spencer, who switched the year previous, Pat swapped sides of the USL’s most exciting rivalry and is now a member of LouCity’s team, fortifying the already formidable defense that counts Sean Totsch (a former teammate in Rochester and his roommate for this season) and Paco Craig as centerpieces, as well as fellow signee and first-year pro Alexis Souahy.

Thanks in part to his being a native of the Chicago area, Pat enjoys listening to Motown and blues music, and collecting records in down time. Fueled by his years abroad, Pat also enjoys traveling in the offseason and seeing old friends. During the season, he likes to bond with teammates, something that will keep him in good stead with Coach O’Connor.

For what some may call a “journeyman career,” Pat has been successful most of the places he has played and presents an eminently likeable personality. He considers himself fortunate to have been on a number of strong sides, and on top of all of that, he will definitely move the needle when it comes to follicle excellence.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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!