Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tale of the Tape: Thankful as Ever

Alyson Gramley, ATC

November 20, 2012

Basketball season is once again underway, as I write to you from the bus in Chattanooga, TN.  Four games into the season and we are 2-2, with a big win over Mississippi State to open the New Trojan Arena a few days ago and one last night against UT Chattanooga, our tournament host.  We have been up here since {honestly I am having a hard time even remembering what day it IS, let alone how long we have been here-today is Tuesday and we left home Saturday, I believe} … so that must mean we have been here since Saturday! One more game tonight and we are on the road back home for a full week ahead of us, with 4 games in 7 days. I am exhausted just thinking about it.

This marks the beginning of my ninth season full time at TROY and with the Men’s Basketball team. WOW how time flies…add to that three years as a Graduate Assistant and a few more years as a student and my time at TROY is adding up. Of course, no where in comparison to the time Coaches Maestri and Felix have been walking around campus seizing the day!

In those twelve years, I have been called many things in public and private, on the benches, in the locker rooms, and on the sidelines of football, volleyball, soccer, rodeo, and basketball…some nice, some not-so-nice; some from opponents and fans, some even as friendly fire.  I maintain my quest for invisibility as the only female in most situations.  I have accumulated dear friends from my soccer GA days, friends across a few different oceans, and some not-so-much friends scattered all over.  I have made many a cupcake and brownies and cookies for these “kids” and have bandaged a few wounds (physical and psychological alike) along the way as well.  It has not always been fun - for me or those around me.  To some I apologize. To others, we will just agree to disagree. 

Most recently I have been reminded as my quasi-status as “Team Mom” which has stirred a few thoughts in my mind. At the surface it is comical, but as it turns over and over in my mind it becomes a mission.  So indulge me as I try to get back into the blogging swing of things.

First and most importantly, I AM a mom! And if I have been on the road for twelve years with these surrogate kids of mine, how much time have I been away from my own child? Simple math makes me realize that one month on the road each year for 12 years would add up to a WHOLE YEAR I have been with other people’s children while my child was being raised by somebody else.  No wonder I can't believe she is as old as she is...I missed a year somewhere along the way.  That’s a deeply emotional thought that I would rather not investigate…

So in that time, I must ask myself "has my child been taken care of appropriately?" I would like to think so, although years of therapy may lie ahead. Often she is accommodated quite nicely by “Granny Mamma” and Pawpaw - my parents- who have raised her just as they did me - with love and discipline.  (Although I would like to speculate publicly the three Gramley Girls had more of one than the other) …or are the two concepts intertwined so closely that you can’t see one without the other?

More so on my mind: In those cumulative twelve years, have I cared for my team “kids” appropriately? These college kids- some who are away from home for the first time, whose parents may be ill or a long, long way away, but all who think they are invincible.  That question may not be so simply answered.

Do I dole out equal parts kindness, consideration, toughness? Not always.  Am I passionate about my job? Not always.  Do I make a difference? Better yet, do I make a POSITIVE difference? Not always.  Do athletes remember me fondly? Not always. But then again…my own child probably sees me in similar light as the thousands of children I have watched over for two, three, four, five years at a time.   She constantly reminds me that I have no sympathy when she is injured or ill.  She also is quick to relate that I treat her just like I treat my athletes…or is it the other way around?

In addition to my nine years with basketball, I have just completed my fifth trip around the sun with some football players.  I have watched them grow up physically and mentally (maybe more the former than the latter) and have witnessed some highs and lows along the way.  I will miss some of them more than others. I wish them success in their futures and hope they will come back to visit – much like the wishes of my own mom (and dad)!

In the end, we are all one big family (and sometimes even dysfunctional, at that).  All the experiences in your life shape you and those around you for better or worse, but it makes you who you are.  Be thankful for the opportunities you are given, even though they may seem to be keeping you from something “more important.” If you view your job as an inconvenience to your life, then maybe it is time to find another one…

Thankful as ever, Go TROJANS!

~alyson…the “team mom”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tale of the Tape: What Do You Make?

Tale of the Tape: What Do You Make?
by Alyson Gramley

November 7, 2011

Can you believe it's time for basketball season already? I know I can't. Time really does fly when you're having fun...right?! I have attended my first Church of the Hardwood at Sartain of the season. Somehow the effect just isn't the same, but it'll have to do.

This weekend produced a less than desirable outcome for the Men of Troy on the foosball team [ I love calling it that]....but guess what? We're still here. Four more games left and the most important one is the next one. I am disappointed at the cries from fans. These guys work hard day in and day out. It's unfathomable to think every game is a victory and that every loss should result in a call for changes in the lineup or coaching staff.

I'm not here to instigate or prognosticate, just reporting the facts and my opinions thereon. I bleed Trojan colors, not because I HAVE to, but because I want to. Because I see those fellas and gals giving tons of hours and effort in the name of Troy University. And because I care. And I show that in ways most of you will never even think about.

If there aren't many people on the old wagon to start with, you can only imagine how lonely it is when people start jumping off just because we aren't a dead ringer to win a SIXTH conference championship. Five Conference Championships won or shared in the last five years and people are complaining? These boys need our support (just like the basketball team did last year) and if you don't give it, then who will??

Shifting gears a little...my morning drive to school with my daughter (on a day when I actually got to drive her to school) sounded something like this and caused me reason to reflect:

Me: Ok, today is Monday and I'll take you and the boys (carpool) and pick y'all up from school today, tomorrow, and Thursday. Orthodontist on Wednesday - touch and go...looking ahead to Thursday through this weekend, I'll be in Texas. We're going to miss Homecoming with the game time change.
Her: Oh...that's a bummer about Homecoming.
Me: Then I'll be back Saturday and next week seems mild with maybe a home game or two. I'll be in Tennessee next weekend.
Her: Ok...
Me: Then, not sure when your school gets out for Thanksgiving break, but we'll be in Birmingham Tuesday.
Her: Then you'll be in Vay-gas...[rolls her eyes]
Me: Wow! Maryland, Texas, Tennessee, Vegas...all in one month...this really is the LIFE, isn't it?
Her: Suuuurrrrre it is...

She's well-adjusted, or as much as possible. Growing up-literally- in the Athletic Training Room has a profound effect on people. I think I've done a LOT of growing up here, as well.

Week in and week out, whether the weekends bring wins or losses, the individuals of the Athletic Training staff are the voice of reason in a somtimes unreasonable world. Although some see it as 'just a game', it is truly our calling. I was reminded of this when I saw a Facebook post from one of our alums. I don't usually repost things, but couldn't resist this time. (Thanks, Kara!)

"Oh, you're a Trainer??"
No, I'm an ATHLETIC TRAINER, not a trainer.
"Oh, that's cool. I wanted to do that. What do you make?"
I make an ankle sprain that some say should take four weeks to get your athlete back on the field, playable in a week.
I can make wearing a fanny pack and driving a golf cart with lights look cool.
I can devise a rehab program after your total knee replacement so you can run in that marathon you've always dreamed of.
I can tape an ankle before you can miss 2 minutes of play.
I can make saving your child's life easier by explaining that "getting your bell rung" isn't normal, it can be deadly.
I can help you and your child survive a heart attack.
I can look at an athlete's pee and tell them how much water to drink.
I can make an athlete bigger, faster, and better.
I can translate "doctorese" from "torn anterior talofibular ligament" into ankle sprain.
I went to college to EARN A DEGREE in more than just "water girl" but also injury prevention, evaluation, rehabilitation, administration, and overall problem listening (and solving).
I do it all because I love my athletes and my profession. Today I might ice your knee, tomorrow I might save your life.
I hope I make a difference, what do you make?

Choose to be a difference maker!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tale of the Tape: What is the Recipe for Success?

Tale of the Tape - What is the Recipe for Success?
by Alyson Gramley, ATC
November 2, 2011

It's time to play basketball!! YAY! Or, in my case, watch other people play basketball!! I've been getting a little football action in every once in a while, but have almost officially made the transition. I'll be making the trip to the Naval Academy and I am waaaaayyyy beyond excited about that! I'll have to dedicate a blog to that adventure upon our return.

Men's Basketball has been practicing for a month now already...time FLIES when you're having fun...and all those hours in the A1 seat of Sartain cause me to ponder. My original thought for this blog [that has been circulating for about a month now, thanks for reminding me, Constable Wayne Floyd] was something By-the-Numbers. Somewhere between random numbers and their significance in my world and those paint-by-number horses my parents used to buy me in hopes I would be a Renaissance artist. You can obviously see that didn't work out quite like we'd hoped...

Another avenue I contemplated was the "Recipe for Success" which brings to mind all the cupcakes and sweet treats I like bake in my spare time. I'll try to combine the two as I type and see where it takes us. After all, this is a JOURNEY. Right?

SO....here goes with the random numbers and hopefully along the way, I'll reveal some insight to this crazy life:

11/2/1955 - the day a "simple man" was put on this green mass, 56 years ago! We've been trying to chase Chuck Ash (THE Head Athletic Trainer, father figure, mentor, pain in the derriere sometimes, but all-around Best Boss in the Whole Wide World) into the cold whirlpool all morning. It was a "trainer" tradition back in the 'ol days' when you made another trip around the sun that you came to work and somewhere along the day were tempted into the wet area for your annual dousing. We are afraid to do that now, partially because the whirlpools are in a raised area and partially because we think Chuck might break a hip...Happy Birthday, Boss, a.k.a.Chucky-Fresh, the Diesel, Master Healer and whatever else might slip out in the trenches! I want to be just like you when I grow up!

8/1/1994 - approximate day I met Chuck Ash...my life has forever been changed! I'm sure many of you feel the same way. Dang! I get all teary just thinking about it...teary about how he's changed my life, not necessarily regarding the first day I was acquainted with him. Although, I bet he's made THAT sort of impression on some people as well.

8 - not only is this my favorite number, jersey number during my Most Athletic career at Walton Senior High School in DeFuniak Springs, FL, but it also represents the beginning of another season for me as an assistant here...8 seasons of Men's Basketball and various other mixtures of volleyball, high school outreach, and football round out the resume thus far. Eight could also represent the numbers of wins in last year's basketball season...we are definitely hoping to improve on that a bit this go 'round.

2 - number of weeks I spend a season sitting in seat A1 in Sartain watching basketball practice. That's 14 DAYS a year, which would mean in the last 7 years, I have spent roughly 98 days, 14 weeks, just a smidge over 3 months, of my entire life sitting in the gym...can't think of words to accurately explain this phenomenon...

220 - number of DOZENS of cupcakes it takes to get to Italy...

2640 - that's a lot of cupcakes! I started baking in February to raise the money for our mission adventure to Italy. {Italy is having a revival of sorts and we were the special music for a 2 week stint} That only represents cupcakes SOLD, not those eaten personally or given away to willing taste-testers...Baking is therapy at its best, for me. You see, I am a 'do-er' and like to see people smile. Now, don't get me wrong, making cupcakes in the wee hours of the morning and then frosting them...it can get a little whacko at our house. At least it smells good, right, Meres?!

448 - number of current student-athletes on our rosters between 18 sports, including Football, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Men's & Women's Basketball, Men's & Women's Tennis, Men's & Women's Golf, Volleyball, Rodeo and Cheerleading and all the Tracks (indoor, outdoor, cross country, field events). I think....

4 - number of full time Athletic Trainers, all of which are Troy Alumni and have been working here for a combination of about 60 years of uninterrupted, quality service. As different as we may all be as individuals, we make it work on the 2nd floor of the Stadium Tower! Don't ever doubt that oil and vinegar won't mix (at least for a few minutes under proper environmental conditions). At the very least they make a very good salad dressing pair. :)

4 - also the number of athletic trainers that have covered Men's Basketball under Coaches Don Maestri and David Felix: Chuck Ash; Jon Adams, PA-C, ATC; Bobby Templin; me

7 -part time Athletic Trainers on staff that fill all the gaps. I have tried to think of an appropriate analogy for them, but words are not sufficient. They do all the things we can't or don't want to do in the name of 'experience.' Hope that works out for them...I have a feeling it will.

748 - injuries sustained by football players last year, ranging from hangnail to torn ACL. Oh wait...we didn't have any ACL tears last year! NONE! Almost unheard of, to make it through fall and spring football seasons without the ACL tear amongst the boys. We think it's the shoes...a topic for another blog....

603 - injuries sustained by athletes in all other sports combined, not including football, last year...I won't elaborate on this too much because I don't want to get myself in trouble...plainly stated, over 1,351 times individual student-athletes needed the care of our staff in some form or fashion.

I think that may be enough for now. Mostly because I have to go spend some time imparting knowledge to some Athletic Trainers in Training. If any point can be made from all these random numbers, I'll make one...consistency and stability are key to success, but don't always do the job.

You have to have the basics, like flour and sugar and eggs. Strong go-to's that you always use, regardless of the flavor desired. Too much or too little of these and you'll have a batch for the garbage dispos-all! Throw in a little sweet and salty and a pinch of the unexpected and you COULD have a great treat. Bake it too long or not enough and your end product will be unpalatable.

My end thought is this...sometimes you can mix it all up, just like the recipe says, with the best ingredients and an expert baker, and it still comes out wrong. No matter how many times the cook has done it before...think about that!

See you on the sidelines at Navy!!!
and for good measure, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Chuckles!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tale of the Tape: Inspired to do great things

Tale of the Tape

by Alyson Gramley

September 30, 2011

From my window to the world in the Athletic Training Room I can see many things this morning. Directly out the window of my office I can see a post-operative baseball athlete engaging in early rehab following shoulder surgery, being guided by the baseball ATC, Sean Boland and one of the Student Athletic Trainers assigned to baseball. There are a group of football Student Athletic Trainers discussing the plan for game preparations - when to bag the fruit, when to meet up in the morning to set up the field - when is the Pharmacology teacher going to post the rest of the midterm grades (that would be ME), and assisting the Football Graduate Assistant, Michael "the Boss" Welch in rehab of the guys in here this morning. And it's only 9:30 Friday morning.

I'm just happy I can actually SEE out the window...men's basketball workout sessions have begun. And when do great basketball teams practice, you might ask? All great basketball teams practice at 6:30 in the morning. Which means one Athletic Trainer and her students arrive at approximately 5:45 AM. Which means, ipso facto, if I want to look halfway presentable for the remainder of the day, I have to hit the alarm at 4:45AM! Needless to say, with all the practices and rehab and planning and craziness we call life going on at the Gramley house these days, my head has not spent nearly enough time with my pillow...but I solved that dilemma last night with a 10 hour conversation with the down comforter. It was lovely and I am having a great hair day because of it.

Before I ramble on too much and forget, I must share with you the most recent Athletic Training Room Players of the Week (unofficially sponsored by PowerAde). Criteria for this award is a little different than the typical Player of the Week awards because it isn't based on statistics racked up on the field. This one rewards athletes who have rehab-ed and injury during the week prior to the game (doing all that was asked of them with a pleasant attitude and not having any NO SHOWs on the record) and subsequently made it in the game on Saturday. They could have had a stellar performance or only got in for one little victory formation snap...doesn't matter. Then we all put our heads together in the field house Athletic Training Room and pick somebody through super secret voting techniques not to be revealed in this medium. The athletes know about this award and have actually been known to bring bribes to the voting staff...but we will not be persuaded.

For the week of the Arkansas, the dubious award goes to Eric Thomas. He is a pleasant young man who had overcome a nasty hand injury in weeks prior. Hand injuries aren't all that bad for some positions, but as a receiver, you kinda' need your hands to work and hold on to the ball! Congrats to Eric...here's a picture of him with his reward. An ice-cold PowerAde after a long, hot day of practice!

Last week's PPOW award goes to a defensive guy, Brynden Trawick. Brynden had a bummed up knee (we use very specific terms like that around here) and worked really hard to get better during the week. He's a guy that has come around lately and is slowly moving up our "like-o-meter" in the Athletic Training room. Look for good things out of him...#10. You might even see a TROY jersey in the bookstore with that number one day.

Honorable Mention goes to Jamie Hampton. This is the first Honorable Mention we've had, but since I'm the administrator of the program I can make up the rules as we go. Jamie needs no description of his injury, sustained a year ago at MTSU. He took the victory snap in the Bowl Game, but I wasn't there to see it...and was on a blogging hiatus. This was Jamie's first appearance in live game action where he had to do more than fall on a knee. I'm a big fan of Jamie, especially after sharing some thought-provoking moments in a sparkly new hospital in Murfreesboro last year. I wrote a blog about it last year if you'd like to read more. http://blog.troytrojans.com/2010/10/tale-of-tape-what-i-do.html

All of these things inspire me to do great things, day in and day out: the students trying to learn their place in the Athletic Training profession, the athletes trying to get better so they can showcase their talents to the world, and the scarce occasion of 10 hours of sleeping bliss.

I love my job! I love TROY! Being an Athletic Trainer is a trying profession, but in my journey to find something that is enjoyable to do while satisfiying my desire to help people I found the best profession in the world. Of course, it's not for everybody. I often explain it like this: one of my sisters is a flight attendant and the other is an accountant...they are sympathetic vomitters and I don't like to give people drinks and pretzels at 40,000 feet nor do I like to balance my checkbook, but yet vomit doesn't bother me. Problem SOLVED!

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a little game at the Larry Blakeney field Saturday at 6:30 you might want to attend. Nothing like an in-state rival to bring out the fans! Here's to hoping I stay off the field and the players stay on it!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Last Minute...

Tale of the Tape
September 17, 2011
Alyson Gramley, ATC
Athletic Trainer Extraordinaire

Sitting in the floor of the Magnolia conference room at the Doubletree in Bentonville, Arkansas, I am overcome with the urge to blog. My superstitious side would say I don't need to blog pre-game this time because we lost last weekend....but then I remember we didn't LOSE last weekend because we didn't even play!

I can honestly say it seems like we've been doing this football stuff for just a little less than FOREVER. Upon further consultation of the calendar, however, we've only been doing this a few weeks. Camp started August 3, a mere 45 days ago. Furthermore, this is only our second game of the season! Unbelievable!!

Clemson was a long time ago. And gladly so. We played a great thirty minutes. Unfortunately it takes a spectacular 60 minutes to beat great teams...with that said, I liken the BIG opponents to toads. Stick with me on this one.

All our lives, us women-folk have had a fairly tale dangled in front of our beautiful faces with the expectation of happily ever after. And that "happily ever after" is contingent upon kissing a toad! He will then turn into our Prince Charming and we'll be destined to a life in a castle until the end of time. That analogy is similar to the likelihood of beating a "big time" opponent and living happily ever after in a bigger conference, with bigger, more lucrative bowl game appearances, or the prospects of football fairy tale-dom.

Now don't go twisting my words into thinking we can't or won't be an out of conference foe. I've been on the field when we've carried the goal posts out of the stadium after TROY kissed a toad. And for a week or so, we were living the life. Where nobody is injured and everybody smiles.

But then, we returned to the hard-nosed team that wins some and loses some, but churns out conference championships over and over and over again. We didn't change in the process, we just did what it took for 60 minutes to beat a great team. We're still TROY. And we're still capable of beating a team that some may consider to be 'out of our league.'

And David, a small boy, did kill that giant with a few small rocks....

Maybe today is the day...and maybe I have been sniffing too much QDA...

I'd be remiss if I didn't announce the initial 2011 Powerade Player of the Week for the Clemson game, Barry Valcin. Barry sustained a grotesque and potentially career-ending injury during a ho-hum Thursday practice about a year ago. Come to find out, he'd already sustained a similar injury to his other leg a few years prior. He is a champion! He made his return in the Clemson game in a big way!

The criteria of Powerade Player of the Week doesn't hinge on stats on the field. It is bestowed upon an athlete who has had an injury and has done everything in their power to get better, faster, stronger, as the Athletic Training Staff has directed them. We are super proud of Barry for his determination in his recovery...and hope he never gets the award again!

So...as taping begins, I'll sign off. Hoping we can do what it takes to be 'happily ever after' at least for a day or two!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Que hora es??

Translated into American, that means "What time is it?"

Now say it in your exclamatory voice...What time IS IT???

Not only is is 11:15PM as I sit in the lobby of the Greenville Marriott-where the interwebs are free...IT'S FOOTBALL TIME!!! (I don't know how to say that in Spanish...)

I couldn't resist starting off the first blog of the season with that title for all of my new family members. You see, my baby sister got married last weekend (because nobody in their right mind gets married during football season) and I told her I'd dedicate the first blog of the season to her! And...she's in Spain right now, so she'll really appreciate it. Miss you, love you, mean it! She's a big fan and alumna of TROY, by the way. As all of my family is...

They say confession is good for the soul, so I must confess why you haven't heard from me since New Year's Eve...I've been really, really, reaaaalllly busy. Plain and simple. I've baked over 220 dozen cupcakes, spent two weeks in Italy on a mission trip, and filled my "free" time with lots of fun crafting projects, on top of all the normal mom, laundry, housekeeping, and life stuff. I'll share some of them as we go along this season, maybe.

I am glad to say I'm back! I've missed this therapeutic writing thing that I do. Hopefully I can share some insight with you that you can't get anywhere else. There are some things that are just too good to write down, so you may have to stop me on the sidewalk one day and get me to tell you some of the "good" stories.

I will start by saying, hands down, I have the best job in the world! TROY is the best place to do what I do. I have grown up here in the halls of Eldridge and Sartain and now in the beautiful Stadium Towers. This is where I belong, doing a job I absolutely love. I am a Certified Athletic Trainer and this is my platform to tell you what we do.

We were reminded at our faculty pep rally for the year that we should be grateful to be engulfed in an atmosphere that spends so much effort supporting a GAME! I do agree to that statement on many levels. It's a wonderful beginning to my work day to walk through the weight room where potential professional athletes are honing their muscular physiques. My conflicts with those words however reflect the dedication I have to my profession, that of recognizing injuries, educating about nutrition, concussions, hydration and such, holding the hands of injured or ill athletes. These are my babies, all 450 of them!

But this is more than a game...Scrabble and solitaire are games. When people die because of things that happen during a 60-minute session at your work, it's more than just a game. Every day, every practice, every game, the Athletic Training Staff is ready to save someone's life. We know how to spineboard an athlete with potential damage to their spine, how to recognize numerous life-threatening conditions, and work seamlessly, side by side with orthopedic and general practice physicians to deliver top-notch healthcare to these young men and women who have dedicated their lives to a sport. Luckily I've never had to call on those "big" skills, but colleagues all over the nation have had to do just that. THAT is why it's more than a game.

[stepping off soap box] I can't express to you my excitement for the upcoming event tomorrow at Clemson. It will be soooo hot at game time. That is my only complaint. Other than that, I live for the excitement - from room check earlier tonight, to pre-game taping, to the locker room in preparation, through half time rally speaches, and singing the fight song after a victory. Sprinkle a leisure jog across the field and to the locker room and back and it'll be a good day at the office. I do have a license to run with scissors, but don't tell my mom!

For a little peek into the game tomorrow...we're in good shape. Physically, we've made it through camp with minimal issues. Nobody has been injured in the air scrimmage (Jared Flemming) and other than a few bumps and bruises, we're looking pretty scrappy!

I never know how to feel about a game. Surely there are games on the schedule supposed to win. I don't think this is one of those. They have a bigger stadium than we do, more fans at the games, and more money in their bank accounts most likely...but we've seen those teams fall before to TMTDM!!

We'll give it a good Trojan try and see how the ball bounces. I remember a comment by Coach Blakeney that went something like this "We don't have to be better than them all the time, just better than for 60 minutes."

I'll be the one with the pink bow in my hair, screaming and coercing best as I can. But you can guarantee that I'll be counting to 11 every time the whistle blows to end the play. And if I don't see 11 get up, you may just see me smoke Chuck Ash as I run past him to the rescue of a player in need.

There are many things to share, but I've got to get my beauty rest. A little game day jog to get things going early tomorrow morning and then we'll be off to "Death Valley." Again, not a name given to a place where you play a game...


Friday, July 29, 2011

One Last Time

by Travis Jarome
July 29, 2011 - 11:10 am

Goodbyes are always the hardest, and today is no exception. I was going to bid adieu quietly this afternoon, but after four years here at TROY it is just too hard to say goodbye without saying something.

The journey started almost five years ago to the date with a simple e-mail from Ricky Hazel, and it has turned into so much more than that. The friendships that have been built here will last a lifetime, not just with co-workers, but with student-athletes, coaches and even the fans.

Inevitably someone will be left out if I tried to mention all the names that have meant something to me over the time I have been associated with the Trojan Nation. And for that I apologize.

I was told when I interviewed that people around TROY were like a family, and since day one I can tell you that is exactly how it is. Once you walk in the door as an administrator, coach or student-athlete it is just that, one BIG FAMILY. Everyone cares for one another, each sport cares about the next; and that is how it should be.

TROY will always hold a special place in my heart. I have only missed a handful of games since I got involved in college athletics, and most of those (with the exception of one) have been here at TROY. My daughter was born at the beginning of the 2008-09 basketball season, and she has become one of the biggest fans of TROY athletics. We have brought her to basketball games, football games and softball contests here in Troy, and she has loved every minute of it. She has become a part of this family here at TROY, and that will never change.

This morning I had a lot of time to think about things that have happened at TROY, special people that have touched my heart and places I have had an opportunity to visit thanks to the athletic department.

I have had a chance to visit places such as our nation’s capital, the US-Mexico border in Brownsville (TX) and New York among others. I have also to been to places such Dallas (although much of it was spent in the airport) and Denver.

But none has ever meant more to me than to drive down 231 to get to office. I have never referred to my job here at TROY as work, it has always been fun for me … I mean, come on, really, I get to be at athletic events all the time.

It has never been about me, and I know I am rambling a little, but it comes with the territory when you realize the time is drawing near. It has always been about the program … how can I get the name out more? How can I get our athletes more attention? Will this look good for the fans? Things like that. I have always, and will continue to be for the student-athletes, coaches and fans. Whether it be from publications or from websites, those are things that the public sees. Those are things that drive interest when nothing is going on around you.

I had a chance recently to redesign TroyTrojans.com. Were there things I would have changed after the design went up, sure, there are always things you want to change. But the one thing I took pride in was the fact that people said they liked it, that is all I cared about. I redesigned the site for the FANS, and the day it launched I crossed my fingers that people enjoyed it.

My last project here was the Football Media Almanac, something a little different than what we have done here in the past. It was a lot of work, but there were a lot of people involved in the process; but like I said before as long as it is liked by the fans and everyone else involved than we have done our job.
I will never forget the first week, or month, I was here at TROY. My first day, I was thrown into a webcast for a home volleyball match with Taylor Bryan and then just a few weeks later I was on the air with Barry McKnight on the road for men’s basketball. I have had a chance to be on the air with those two individuals, as well as Buddy Johnson, Jerry Miller and Jason Wright over time – and it makes a broadcast so much easier when you have people that care about TROY as each one of those people do.

I know I am going to leave a lot of things out, and a lot of people out, but those people know who they are since I have gone by and visited over the last few days.

To the women’s basketball team and to the softball team, my two teams who I have media responsibilities for, I have enjoyed my time with each of you over the years. Good luck to all of you during the upcoming season and your careers, I know you will do well.

To all of the administrators – Steve Dennis, Sandy Atkins and Ricky Hazel especially – thanks for giving me the opportunity to work here at TROY and believing in me. Without all of you, not just those three, thank you for what you have done for me and the path you have shown me over the last four years.

To the behind scenes people – Matthew Carlo, Mike Frigge, Tony Ferrante and so many others – thanks for all your hard work and assistance in things when they needed to get done and for being a sounding board when things didn’t go well.

To all of the student workers, past and present, thanks for everything here in the Media Relations office. Things would never get accomplished at events without your help. To all of our graduate assistants since I have been here – Jason Wright, Taylor Bryan and Matt Mays – thanks for serving your time. You played a great hand in the success of the office.

To the coaches, thanks for everything. It has been a pleasure to work with each and every one of you at some point during my stay here. To Michael Murphy, Craig Kennedy and Jennifer Wasson you have been like a family to me since my time here – Murph, you and Craig have been just that as you were the first ones I worked with when I got here. To Melanie Davis, Sharon O’Mara and Mick Hokanson – I enjoyed the one season I got to work with you, and saddened I will not get another.

To the student-athletes, past and present – thanks for being a Trojan and doing what you do. To Kevin Glackmeyer and the rest of the photography staff, thanks for giving me some outstanding shots to work with over time.

And finally, to all the fans, thank you for enjoying the things we did here in the Media Relations Office. Without you there would be no drive. I hope you enjoy the 2011 Football Almanac, the new layout of the Game Day Illustrated and the Women’s Basketball Almanac for next season.

I will see many of you at home events as a fan this season, and look forward to it as I move on to Montgomery Catholic beginning Monday. I leave behind the media world to run an athletic department.

I will leave it at this … I sent a message this morning and it said this “If you ever need anything, and I mean anything at all don’t hesitate to call. Thanks for the memories over the last four years. I will always consider everyone associated with the program family.”

As I do on all of my broadcasts … Thank you for listening, it’s been fun. Until next time Trojan Nation.