X Week

This Wednesday, your beloved Walnut Hills Rugby Football Club will be facing off against the St. X Bombers.

We’re coming off a big win against our arch rivals–the Lakota Jets. It was a dog fight as we made it out by a try (7-0) giving our club its first ever win against the Jets.

The win didn’t come without a few casualties though. Geers’ face unfortunately did not survive the match and he now looks like Sloth from the Goonies.

If you’ve never watched rugby before, you ought to come out and see us 4/12, 5:30, @St.X. It’s going to be a good one.

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Rugby

A few weeks back I wrote about my latest endeavor–joining the rugby team–so I figured it was time for an update.

This past Tuesday we had our first scrimmage, and it was everything o could have hoped for.

It had been pouring down rain all day and the field had basically turned into one giant mud pit. From the first kickoff, it was just a sloppy mess of chaos and confusion. Bodies slipped and slid through the giant mud puddles as players flipped the ball back and forth while getting knocked to the ground.

After getting manhandled multiple times, I started to pick up on the similarities between football and rugby. I hit my stride and started getting in on the action. My scrumhalf (kind of the QB in rugby) flipped me the ball and I cut inward bruising my way through multiple opponents and sprinting up the field for my first ever trie (rugby equivalent of a touchdown). It was a magical feeling even though it was just a scrimmage. That’s something that I love about rugby; anyone on the field can score at any time (unlike football where I just block).

In addition to being able to score and get the glory, in rugby, I get to wear a sweet single-digit number. The numbers actually correspond to the positions. Since I play hooker (haha, I know), I will be wearing #2.

This weekend, the team is traveling down to Nashville for a tournament and I am beyond hyped (the hype is ignited). I will keep you posted.

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Heartbreak

Tonight I experienced my first heartbreak.

Like most teenage boys, I expected my first heartbreak to be over a pretty young girl; I never expected it to be over 3 middle-aged men.

Early on today I was hit with the news that my offensive coordinator would be moving on to coach his son at LaSalle. I was able to get over that one pretty easily, but I knew it would hurt the team’s offensive production.

Later in the evening, I was punched in the gut.

I learned that my defensive coordinator and my offensive-line coach (2 of my all-time favorite coaches) will also be leaving Mariemont to persue other coaching jobs. That one hurt.

Obviously I can’t fault anyone for taking advantage of their opportunities, but there’s a sinking feeling knowing that the coaches I’ve had since I was a freshman would rather be somewhere else.

So now I’m sitting here, about to go into my last year of football and I’ve been abandoned by the men that run the show.

While my moral is a bit low at the moment, I have to stick to what I know and believe right now.

I believe that Coach Commins is a great man. He’s been with these coaches for 11+ years, so I know that he’s got to be feeling even worse than I am right now. This isn’t his first rodeo though. I will put 100% of my faith in whatever decisions he makes as head coach. I’ve got his back indefinitely right now, just like he’s always had mine.

In football we always talk about facing adversity- well shit, that’s what we’ve got right now. I have no doubt in my mind that if everyone steps up and fights this obastacle head on, we will be able to succeed. I’m not worried yet. After all, I’ve never seen a wild thing sorry for itself (shoutout D.H. Lawrence).

In football we also talk about what kind of legacy we want to leave. I have a good idea about what I want from my senior year, and these recent events don’t change any of that. As a senior, I will do my best to step up and push my team to it’s highest potential. Leadership is what we need right now, and I know I can step up.

This heartbreak is tough right now, but I know that time heals everything–so does winning.

one heartbeat ❤

 

 

 

 

Rugby

Since we I haven’t written a blog post in a while, I have a lot of material that I could write about. So I’ll just go ahead and tell you about my most recent endeavor.

I’ve played just about every sport in my childhood and high school careers, but there was one that was missing from my list.

I originally thought of the idea because my brother used to play for Moeller and I remember him really liking it. I also saw some pictures on Instagram of my old teammate, Drew Serraino, playing college rugby for UC.

After some research, I found out that Walnut Hills has a club rugby team that’s open to players from any school. So yesterday we set out to go to a practice and see what it’s all about.

We were greeted by the friendliest group of guys that I’ve ever met. They were a patchwork group of guys from Walnut Hills, Anderson, Madeira, and a few other schools.

The coach set Geers and I with the task of remembering a poem- if we accomplished this goal, the team wouldn’t have to run sprints.

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I have an absolute load of homework that I have to get done tonight, so, naturally, I’ve decided that writing my blog post should be my #1 priority.

Tomorrow is my 17th birthday and so I’ve tried to come up with the best or most memorable experiences of each age.

1- First year of life woooo!

2- The year I got Monk. Monk was a big purple stuffed monkey. This may seem silly, but Monk was my ride or die companion and respected member of the Gunner family until I was like 9 years old.

3- Can’t say that anything big happened this year (that I can remember), but I liked Cheerios a lot so there’s that I guess.

4- My first Texas Rangers game. Being a young baseballer from Texas, this was quite the milestone for me. I’ve been told that I repeated the phrase, “let’s go rangers” so loudly and repeatedly that the people seated in front of us had to relocate.

5- First T-Ball home run. Can’t say that any of the players were able to catch the ball or throw the ball, and I was hitting off of a tee; but man did I crush that baby. This happened to be the beginning of my very illustrious athletic career.

6- This is the age when I moved from Fort Worth, Texas to Mariemont, Ohio. You can take a boy out of Texas, but I’ll be damned if I don’t still have a little bit of Texas left in me.

7- This marks the year when I started playing football. I was quite a rotund little boy, and coined the nickname “bowling ball” from my coaches; I definitely felt like a hotshot when I was asked to play with the older kids. Football has been a huge part of my life and has brought me so much happiness ever since then.

8- Really nothing major at this age other than the vivid memories I have of being one of those weird kids who chose to spend their recesses digging in the dirt rather than playing sports like everyone else.

9- This is year held the first election that I can remember from my lifetime. I didn’t know how to feel when the generally conservative population around me acted like this marked the end of the world, but hey- we’re all still here now and Obama seems like a pretty cool dude.

10- My first GameCube. I had been begging for one, and my dude Santa finally came through that Christmas. Hours of Mario Cart and Super Smash Bros with my buddies ensued .

11- I’ll never forget when my friend Matt Kane took me to my first Cincinnati Cyclones game. I instantly fell in love with the sport and was on the ice playing within the same year.

12- Who could forget junior high? Mrs. Skinner, awkward body changes, Digital Arts with a slightly too friendly teacher, and, of course, nudes scandals.

13- This is how old I was when my best buddy Owen introduced me to longboarding (like skateboarding but… longer). This launched me into the classic “skater boy” phase.

14- Ah yes, the return to the bottom of the food chain as a Freshman in high school. Getting my first taste of the Friday night lights, gory presentations in Health class, and meeting my mentor, Kurry Commins, are some of the highlights to this year.

15- The best thing that happened this year has to be adopting my dog Chips. There’s nothing like the bond between a man and his dog. Nothing brightens my day like coming home to his ferocious tail wags.

16- It’s been a great year, but getting my license is the only right answer for this one. Earning the freedom to drive is a magical thing.

17- Let’s get it 

 

My Clothes

Regardless of what people say, people are immediately judged by how they look, especially in this day and age.

A person’s clothes say a lot about who they are, so I decided to take a closer look at what my favorite clothes mean to me.

My Texas Longhorns Hoodie

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Aside from repping my favorite college football team, every time I see the burnt orange longhorn across the front, it reminds me of my old home back in Fort Worth, Texas. Texas is till a part of me, and I feel like that’s what this hoodie represents.

The Old Earl Floyd Ford Hat

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Originally a thrift store find, this has become my lucky hat. I wear it every football game day. The Ford truck on the front of the hat is actually the same make and model as the one I drive.

Football Pants

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These pants have become a game day tradition for me. Embroidered with little football players, I associate these pants with all of my fond football memories.

My Uncle’s Varsity Jacket

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Some people might think it’s weird sporting a different name and team than my own, but I have a lot of pride in the Hickman side of my family, especially my uncle, who is one of my all-time favorite people. He went on to play college and minor league baseball.

My Breast Cancer Awareness Socks

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Aside from being the most comfortable socks I own, I am reminded of my grandmother, a breast cancer survivor, every time I wear these socks. I also wore these for football senior night this past season, so I will forever associate these socks with a great season class and season.

Bengals Salute to Service Hoodie

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I love the Bengals no matter how much they disappoint me. The hoodie is part of the NFL’s “Salute to Service” movement. Whenever I wear it, I’m reminded of all of the veterans- including my dad, who gave it to me- as well as my aspirations to serve in the future.

Grandparent Appreciation

My grandparents live in Florida, so I don’t really get to see them very often. As a result of that, I don’t always give them the recognition that they deserve. Last night, Lillian and George Hickman (Nana and Paps) made the trek, by car, to come and watch me play my last football game of the year.

Over the years I have come to find out that, under their sweet elderly exteriors, my grandparents are actually total badasses. So for this week’s post, I decided to compile a list of the things that make them the coolest people I know:

-Both of them served in the Korean War

-Nana was the first woman to parachute into Korea (allegedly)

-Paps played baseball for the Chicago Cubs minor league team

-He was a pitcher and had all of his teeth knocked out by a ball

-Nana is a breast cancer survivor; she’s tough

-Pap’s name is George Hickman (come on, that’s pretty sweet)

-They now live in a village where they can drive golf carts literally wherever they want (like TP, but they actually have special roads just for the golf carts)

-Pap’s drives a big blue truck with 260,000 miles on it, “runs good”

-Nana was the first person in her family to graduate from college (University of Cincinnati)

-They’ve been happily married for 52 years