The Video That Changed my Life

Posted: February 26, 2015 in Home

(written in March 2014)

My friends know me as a P90X-er, but its not because I’m a Beachbody coach trying to make an extra buck. The shit changed my life.

Before my junior year of college, I was always an overweight kid. Not fat, but was always near the end of the line for team runs. I was never completely comfortable in my own skin; its something I’ve battled since I was a kid, which also stems from a lifelong stutter. When I would try to change by dieting or something, it would always involve some depriving diet that would make me miserable for 2 weeks, forcing me to cave in and cheat. That, or I would lose a bunch of water weight and “reward” myself with a cheat meal, which became a cheat day,a cheat week, a cheat month…

The problem was, I was so concerned about the number on the scale that it would never occur to me to lose weight for the sake of being healthier. It was always losing weight so, basically, I could get to a point where I could eat whatever I wanted without being fat the next day.

When I got home from my what was basically “stuttering camp” in May of 2010, I felt like I could finally attack the 2 issues that have dragged me down for so long—stuttering and my weight. I had at least a portable solution for stuttering from the intensive camp—why can’t I find a solution for something that at least has a known cure?

I debated going back to the gym that summer, but my brother had been raving about P90X. I had heard about it before, but figured it was either some fad or was going to be wayyy too hard.

One Saturday, I popped in the disk just to see what it was. Was this some kind of weird workout regimen? Is there a magic potion I should be taking? What kind of sorcery is this?

First move was pushups. I said, fuck it, I’ll do some and see how I do. I think I did 8. Barely.

The disc went on, and I decided to just shut up and do the damn thing to see how “crazy” this thing was. Turns out, I survived, and all I did was a bunch of pushups and “pullups” (if you can even call it that).

Really cutting-edge stuff.

More than anything, P90X gave me direction, and even more importantly, knowledge. It told me what to do, when to do it and when I should do it day by day. The “muscle confusion” or whatever would take care of itself. All I had to do was follow the guide and I’ll look like one of the people on the infomercials.

This worked for a few weeks, but the idea of working out so intensely every single day (without some coach yelling at me) was starting to wear on me. Soon enough, the wheels were going to fall off.

That was, until I found this video of Tony Horton giving a speech.

It all clicked from there. I wasn’t going to work out so I could weigh “X” amount by September so I could eat what I wanted. I was going to do it because my life would be exponentially worse if I don’t.

To this day, I practice fitness out of fear—fear that there is a lifestyle that I am terrified of missing out on.

See, working out isn’t just about aesthetics (but lets be honest, its a big part). I have long-term goals of getting bigger muscles and stuff, but on a daily basis, working out releases chemicals that help you think more clearly, improve your mood, and just be a better person. You don’t say “no” to new ideas. The world is your motherfucking oyster.

This post isn’t about how awesome P90X is (its awesome tho). Its about taking care of yourself for the right reason. Do it because, to be blunt, there is nothing more important. If you don’t have your health, what do you have?

Where is Alf? ¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Posted: January 21, 2015 in Home

My contract with Bleacher Report will end at the end of this month, as it has every year since in 2011. This time, however, it will not be renewed. I don’t have much of an explanation for you other than B/R is going in another direction with their NFL coverage, which is completely in their right to do.

I would be lying if I said I was totally cool with this, but by the same token, its somewhat of a relief. Since I graduated college and entered the shitty adult world (sorry youngins, enjoy it while it lasts), keeping up the dream of writing about sports for a living, while, you know, making an actual living took a lot of sacrifice. I worked a job where I commuted about 4 hours a day, worked 9 (nights), wrote for 3 or 4 (or more), did some bullshit workout to not get fat and filled in the space with sleep. My days began to build around how I was going to balance getting my writing done that day without falling asleep mid-paragraph.

I developed a bad relationship with a game I used to love. Football got me through some tough times as a youngin. It was becoming a burden through no one’s fault but my own.

I thought I was losing my fanhood because I was becoming more analytical, but it wasn’t just the Jets I didn’t care about. NFL Sundays were becoming a chore, and not because I had to write—just watching the games became work.

It hit me that my relationship with football was changing when I was watching/blogging Jets/Ravens with my brother in 2013. Ed Reed (of course) watched a ball sail over his head to further embarrass the Jets; all I was worried about was the time of the touchdown so I could update it on my blog, completely emotionless as to what had happened.

“You just really don’t give a shit anymore, do you?” My brother asked.

He was right. A younger version of me would have his head buried in a pillow (just as a younger version of Reed would have never let such a thing happen, but that’s another topic).

I was compensated fairly for the work I did put in, but money was just a byproduct of why I put myself through this season after season. I definitely gave a shit—about the product I was putting out every day. Every article with my name on it was my best possible work. I just didn’t give a shit about what makes the NFL so fun.

For most people, football is an escape. For me, it was just a second job—which is the last thing I wanted it to be. I wanted to do something I loved so I would never have to work, not work so much I never got to do anything I loved. Taking out a tough day at work by going into detail about how terrible Stephen Hills’ releases are off the line of scrimmage is not an ideal stress reliever.

So, that’s why I have been keeping away from twitter, taking a step back to re-evaluate what I really want out of this. I’m not sure what the future holds for my writing career, but I do know I still want to write – its a form of communication where, I, a stutterer, am on an equal playing field as everyone else. I have to write.

Eventually I will likely pursue other writing opportunities and return to heat up the TLs with #takes on the reg, but I will probably take the next few weeks to step away from the game. If you’ve followed/read/RTd/favorited/sent me hate mail/made fun of my Revis #lust, thank you – you guys helped keep me going more than you think. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity B/R gave me as a nearly-broke college kid and to have kept me around for as long as they have.

To the next chapter.

Alf

Interview With Eric Decker

Posted: April 26, 2014 in Home

I had the opportunity to interview new Jets wide receiver Eric Decker recently. Read here for my story on Decker’s transition to New York, his thoughts on the Jets and how he made it so far in his football career.

My latest story on B/R that breaks down why the Jets can’t wait around to keep Wilkerson, both from a financial and psychological standpoint.

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I wrote this piece for B/R a few weeks ago. It details how Tebow got to where he is today, from his miraculous birth to being on the back pages of New York tabloids.

I have never been a fan of the attention Tebow gets, but I enjoyed spelling out the complex story of who was the most popular man in American sports.

Click here to give it a read.

I just did an extensive piece about the Jets QB options in 2013. What I found was, no matter what avenue the Jets take, keeping Sanchez as the starter just makes more logical sense.

The only hope for Sanchez to not be the Jets starter is for either a) he plays badly enough over the next month to start one of the backups or b) Mike Tannenbaum is fired. Even if Mr. T is fired, it still makes more fiscal sense for the Jets to keep no. 6.

Here’s why.

Latest at Bleacher Report: 9 New York Jets Who Could Shock the Word in 2012

Taking a look at some sleepers that could surprise for the Jets next season. 

Link  —  Posted: June 5, 2012 in Home

According to Bleacher Report draft guru Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout), many of the top players in this draft have no interest in going to Cleveland.

It comes as no suprise that Cleveland is a team players want to avoid. They don’t win many games, and a lot of good careers have gone unnoticed.

However, Cleveland has a top-five pick. Whoever is picking in the top 5 is going to be a bad team. You could argue that the Rams have had no more success in the past five years or so than the Browns, but no one is avoiding them.

The answer lies in how much money the Browns are spending. At least the Rams are trying, by signing guys like Cortland Finnegan and hiring a proven coach in Jeff Fisher. The Browns seem more interested in bringing back the west coast offense at all costs than winning games.

In a surprising move, the Houston Texans traded ILB DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles for a 4th round pick and a swap of 3rd round picks. Ryans was taking up a fair share of cap room, and he only played about half of defensive snaps last year as his pass coverage skills went South.

He is also a much better fit in a 4-3, and should be an immediate upgrade over anything the Eagles have.

I expect Boston College ILB Luke Kluechly to still be in play in the first round fr the Eagles. He may be a better fit as a WILL backer anyway, and he’s just a damn fine football player to just pass on.

Clearly, the value of veterans is deteriorating, and quickly. The NFL is becoming so much about pure athleticism that age is becoming a bigger factor every year.

In a somewhat surprising move, former Rutgers head coach of Greg Schiano was given the head coaching job of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, left vacant by Raheem Morris.

The Bucs took a lot of time in making their decision, interviewing everyone from Marty Schottenheimer to Chip Kelly before finally agreeing to terms with Schiano. When you look at some of the guys they brought in for an interview, it was clear that the Bucs had a clear vision for what they wanted in their new head coach: someone with experience as a leader of men.

By the end of Raheem Morris’ tenure, Tampa Bay’s team was far to undisciplined to produce a winning product on the field. The team was exceptionally young at key positions, players were getting into off-field problems, and their coach, who turned 35 in September, could not demand enough respect from players that were often not much younger than he was.

Morris was hired after the 2008 season, which he started as the defensive backs coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator in the same year, and was eventually given the head coaching job after Jon Gruden was fired after the season.

That same off-season, the Buccaneers began their purge of veteran leadership to start afresh, showing legends guys like Derrick Brooks the door. They hired a young Morris in hopes that he would grow with his young team and be there for the long haul.

However, it did not play out as smoothly as they hoped. Tampa learned, the hard way, that combining young players with an inexperienced coach is not a recipie for success.

Which is where Greg Schiano comes in.

Schiano took over a Rutgers program that was among the worst in college football. He had a slow start, but finally, the team started to go in the right direction in the 2005 season, finishing 7-5 and making a bowl game for the first time since 1978. In 2006, Rutgers was ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 1976, and finished 10-2. Quite a remarkable turnaround for a program that has been dormant for so long.

A man with a defensive background, Schiano favors a “power football” mentality while still generating big plays from his offense. In the 2009 and 2010 drafts, Rutgers has had three players go in the first round: Devin McCourty, Anthony Davis, and Kenny Britt – a defender, offensive lineman, and a big-play wide receiver. He also produced great players like Ray Rice and Gary Brackett.

For a Bucs team that lacks mental toughness and disipline, the move seems like a natural fit.  Jim Harbaugh’s success in his first season as coach of the 49ers and erasing some of the stigma that comes with college coaches making the transition to the NFL, there is more reason to believe that Greg Schiano can have immediate impact.

What does this mean for the Bucs this off-season? You can expect them to get another running back, as Schiano has always used a back-by-committee at Rutgers. Expect them to get bigger on defense and start to get more diverse and multiple on defense and emply more man-coverage schemes.

Still, this is a bit of a gamble by the Bucs, as going from college to the professional ranks is hardly a fluid task. But if there is to be a “second coming” of Jim Harbaugh, Schiano is the man for the job.