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The Real Athlete Blog

 

Category: Athlete Interviews

 
  1. Eco-athlete Ovie Mughelli empowers underprivileged youth through environmental activism

    by Matthew Allinson 06-01-2011 01:11 AM Athlete Interviews | Philanthropy

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    When it comes to protecting our environment, it’s easy for some people to turn their backs and simply caste this responsibility aside as someone else’s issue. To them, it’s just an afterthought. To Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli, this cavalier mentality is at odds with his most fundamental beliefs regarding the environment.
     
    “If you’ve played any type of sport, especially football, you know you can never wait for the other man to make a play,” Mughelli told me. “You can’t sit on the sidelines and be like ‘I’m going down on the kickoff or punt team, and someone else will make the tackle. Or, it’s the 4th quarter of the game, and I don’t have to worry about making a play; somebody else will do it.’”
     
    Mughelli, a staunch environmental activist, points out that those who espouse this mentality will never win a game in their life. Unfortunately, he laments, this is the mentality that we’ve adopted as human beings to save our planet.
     
    “The tree huggers or the quote-unquote hippie[s], they’ll take care of it. Or, some ‘brainiac’ will solve it. That’s not going to happen. It’s all about doing our part. It’s not rocket science at all. It’s all simple stuff that can be done, just by taking an interest in your fellow human beings.”
     
    Mughelli isn’t the type of a person who is going to sit around idly and wait for others to step up. He’s not only doing his part, but he has been imparting on others the importance of them doing their part too.
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    Through the Ovie Mughelli Foundation (OMF), Mughelli has put a masterful game plan in place to make his mark on the environment and in the community.
     

     

     

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  2. Athlete Chat: IndyCar Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay

    by Kelly Davies 05-26-2011 08:19 PM Athlete Interviews

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    Ryan Hunter-Reay is a 30-year-old professional American IndyCar driver. This weekend he will be competing in the 100th racing of the Indianapolis 500. Hunter-Reay, the #28 car driver for Andretti Autosport for the past two years, will be driving the #41 car that qualified with driver Bruno Junqueira and A.J. Foyt Racing. Hunter-Reay, referred to as RHR by his fans, is the only driver to have won races in each of North America’s top open wheel formulas  CART, ChampCar World Series and the IndyCar Series. He is from Dallas, TX and currently lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.


    “I’ll have one hour of practice in a car I’ve never been in, in a car I don’t know, before the biggest race in the world… so wish me luck.”

    Ryan Hunter-Reay
    is serious. It’s coming down to the last hours before the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, considered to be the biggest day in worldwide motorsports, and he hasn’t even driven the racecar that he will be responsible for taking 500 miles around the track at greater than 3.5 times the speed you drive down a major highway.
     

     

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  3. Athlete Chat: Garrison Sanborn

    by Anna Stefano 04-22-2011 10:56 PM Athlete Interviews | Athlete Career Development

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    Garrison Sanborn is entering his third season as the long snapper for the Buffalo Bills.  He was signed by the Bills as a free agent in May of 2009. 

    Long snapper is perhaps the most specialized position in football.  It is a tedious and often thankless job that can make or break field position, and a team’s chance of winning the game.  When I got the opportunity to chat with Buffalo Bills long snapper Garrison Sanborn, I was eager to learn about how he became a long snapper, his transition into the NFL, and his relationship with his Bills teammates—but what I got was much more.

    Talking to Garrison Sanborn is like chatting with an old friend.  He slips into a smooth vernacular reminiscent of his friendly attitude, and tells stories with the ease of a man who is truly content with his life.  Sanborn is an old soul: grateful, humble, and charitable.  He loves football, and from an early age, it seemed he was destined to become a professional long snapper.  It has not been easy, but Sanborn has managed to do it with hard-work, perseverance, and a good support system. 

     

     

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  4. Lawrence "Larry" Harris, from NFL Player to Opera Singer

    by Adam Steinberg 03-20-2011 11:43 PM Athlete Interviews | Life After Sports

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    In the NFL, there are certain rites of passage that all rookies must go through. Regardless of how high one goes in the Draft or how many millions their rookie signing bonus is, the “Rookie Show” on “Rookie Night” is where all players find themselves on equal footing in an attempt to entertain fellow teammates and impress the veterans, usually while embarrassing themselves in the process. All in good fun, and in an effort to win acceptance, most rookies tend to come up on stage and perform short skits or sing basic songs such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “I’m a Little Teapot.”
     
    But occasionally a performance stands out from the rest and shows that the athlete’s talent extends well beyond the confines of the gridiron. In 1976 when Houston Oilers’ rookie offensive tackle Lawrence "Larry" Harris took the stage, he gave one of those unforgettable performances. The 6-foot-5, 317 lb. rookie from Sherman, Texas, who was selected in the 7th round (197th overall) out of Oklahoma State University, shocked the audience when he sang one of his favorite Italian songs. On display was the rare juxtaposition of the brawny physique of a lineman and the dramatic voice of an opera singer. Harris recalls one of his teammates telling him, “People’s jaws were on the floor with their forks suspended in midair” when he opened his mouth and belted out lyrics in his powerful and captivating voice.  

     

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  5. Corey Jackson's One-Way Greyhound Ticket to the NFL

    by Kelly Davies 02-23-2011 01:04 AM Athlete Interviews | Athlete Career Development | Human Relations

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    With the second month of 2011 coming to a close, you may be finding yourself with a few less gym visits than you had planned. Or you may have let those pesky sweets that you swore off January 1st make their way into your grocery bag. It’s the weather… It’s hard… It’s the end of football for seven whole months. Whatever the excuse, you are lacking the inspiration. 
     
    I’m about to present you with true inspiration. A kind of inspiration that is only found in each other.   
     
    Corey Jackson grew up in a town of a few hundred people in rural South Carolina. Corey was a basketball player. In high school, he was highly decorated, averaging twenty plus points per game, and snagging double digit rebounds. He had his eyes set on a division I scholarship, his dream since he was a little boy. Corey’s junior year arrived and he sat down with a guidance counselor. The counselor reviewed his average grades and recommended that he look into learning a trade skill. Corey was floored, devastated by his counselor’s bleak recommendations. At 16, an adult looked him in the face and not only told him he wasn’t good enough academically but that he wasn’t good enough to even pursue his dreams. 

     

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  6. Xtreme Procision, LaVar Arrington's Movement to Create the Next Generation of Football Players

    by Matthew Allinson 01-28-2011 01:48 AM Athlete Interviews | Training | Athlete Career Development | Sports Business

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    Annapolis, Maryland – In the living room of LaVar Arrington’s waterfront estate, the former NFL linebacker and Penn State standout showed me the extensive scar on his right forearm that is a painful reminder of the near-fatal motorcycle accident that abruptly ended his career in 2007.

    That summer, Arrington was riding his brand new Kawasaki ZX-14 on a highway exit ramp when he was cut off by a dump truck, causing him to lose control of his bike and skid across the pavement. He was unconscious for two days in the intensive care unit before he came to, only to discover that he had sustained major injuries. He suffered massive nerve damage along with several broken bones in his back, a shattered right arm, and a massive gash in his right thigh. 
     

     

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  7. The Insightful Player: Tony Richardson and Jerricho Cotchery

    by Chrissy Carew 12-24-2010 04:25 PM Athlete Interviews | Philanthropy | Family Life | Human Relations | Insightful Player

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    The New York Times recently published a very touching story by reporter Greg Bishop about the beautiful bond between Tony Richardson, New York Jets fullback, and Tyler Nelson, a 16-year-old from Texas who is awaiting a multiple organ transplant.

    Tony and Tyler met in Tampa, Florida in February 2009 through the Make a Wish Foundation and bonded instantly. The friendship between the professional football player and the ailing teen with cystic fibrosis blossomed in the months that followed, and the two have shared hours of conversation as well as visits, phone calls and text messages. While Tony admires the boy’s courage and stamina, young Tyler is flourishing under the nurturing attention of the sports star and his colleagues.

    Those who have followed Tony’s career prior to this will probably not be surprised by the poignant story. A wonderful role model, he has dedicated much of his free time helping others throughout his 16 years in the NFL.
     

     

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  8. Tony Gonzalez is on a mission to spread his all-natural lifestyle

    by Matthew Allinson 11-13-2010 06:17 PM Athlete Interviews | Life After Sports | Nutrition | Education | Sports Business

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    Tony Gonzalez never read when he was a kid. It wasn’t until he was going into his third year in the NFL that the All-Pro tight end for the Atlanta Falcons really started cracking open books, and he says it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.

    “You have so much free time on your hands and you got to make use of it,” said Gonzalez, who admitted to squandering his spare time during his first two years in the League. “You can look at it and go stale in the brain, which a lot of guys do, or you can do like a couple of the guys do, and make the most of your time here. You never know how long it’s going to last.”

     

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  9. Athlete Chat: Triple Jumper Samyr Laine

    by Matthew Allinson 07-30-2010 02:50 AM Athlete Interviews

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    Samyr Laine juggled law school and the triple jump simultaneously for the past 3 years as the ultimate student-athlete.

     

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  10. Athlete Chat: Four-time London Marathon Masters Champion and Elite UK Marathoner Darran Bilton

    by Richard Burgunder 07-11-2010 06:34 PM Athlete Interviews

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    Darran Bilton is an elite marathoner from the UK, who is the only athlete ever to win four consecutive Masters Titles at the London Marathon. Darran has been a member of several national teams and is also a sports ambassador to the United Kingdom.

     

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