Race and football

This year people became familiar with Cam Newton and the skepticism that surrounds him. In an article I read recently hall of fame quarterback Warren Moon discussed more about why people viewed Cam in such a distasteful manner. Moon attributed peoples dislike and criticism to Newton’s race. Moon knows all to well what being the center of racism feels like, during his career Moon was considered to not be a real quarterback and to be just a wide receiver playing quarterback.

After reading this article I immediately thought about the racism and stereotyping that my teammates and I face playing football at Purdue. A constant reaction I receive from strangers I meet in class always assume that I am an athlete.Being a six foot and 190 pound man I do not look like an athlete in street clothes but people believe that I am football player because I am a black man at Purdue. When I ask people why they believe me to be an athlete because I am black they laugh and say why else would you be at Purdue the only black people here I know are athletes. I know the intent behind what they say is not meant to be racist but it does come off as such.

Other criticisms that my teammates and I face is the label of the dumb uneducated black man . In some of my classes people are surprised when me and my teammates do well in class. Most of the time people attribute our success to cheating or getting graded more leniently because we are football players. Never do they attribute our success to working hard and caring about our grade in the class.

When we are not wearing our football uniforms some people act distant from us and treat us differently. People are cautious to approach us because they assume that we are like the stereotypical black man who is looked at as a thug and as an individual who is unapproachable.

“When I am in class sometimes people are hesitant to sit next to me or be in a group with me,” said defensive tackle Johnny Daniels.”I believe they think because I am black and a football player that I am lazy and will  not help with the group work.”

 

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Race and football

Purdue Pete

Purdue Pete is the the secondary mascot of the Purdue Boilermakers. Even though he isn’t the true mascot of the Purdue football team most people view him as the main mascot. For those people who don’t know the real mascot of the Purdue Boilermakers is the Boilermaker Special. The Boilermaker Special is not the usual mascot which involves an animal or a student in an animated suit, it actually is a small locomotive that is driven by a student during home games

The mascot Purdue Pete first made his appearance at the Purdue Bookstore in 1940. The bookstore used Purdue Pete to sell apparel to students and Purdue fans. His role in Purdue tradition changed in 1956 when he was actually given a physical form instead of being a poster display, during this year Purdue Pete  attended a school pep rally. The students at the  pep rally liked the idea of  Purdue Pete as a secondary mascot  so much that they wanted him to attend more events such as Purdue football games.

Originally Purdue Pete’s head was made out of paper-mâché posted onto a chicken wire frame. This caused the individual wearing the costume to be at a disadvantage because it would extremely affect the wearers ability to move fluidly, which in turn made him unable to perform tricks or stunts for the fans. Due to the inconvenience the head was changed into fiberglass that had to be supported by a harness by the wearer. This was also inconvenient because the fiberglass head also limited Purdue Pete’s movements.The newest head of Pete was designed and created by students in the Aeronautical Engineering Technology department, which gives Purdue Pete the ability to move.

Over the years Purdue Pete has gone over many redesigns which have drawn negative and positive reactions from the Purdue faithful. In 2008 the hammer of Purdue Pete which symbolized the toughness and strength it takes to be a Boilermaker was taken from him. This created fans and boosters to break out in outrage, some boosters even stopped giving money to the John Purdue Club due to this redesign of Purdue Pete. This reaction caused the school to redesign to the Purdue Pete that we know in the present in 2011.

“I like the current Purdue Pete because he isn’t the usual mascot,” said safety for the Purdue football team  Antonio Blackmon. “He allows our school to stand out from all the other schools in the nation.”

Personally growing up as a child in Tallahassee I would watch Purdue football games and I never really liked Purdue Pete because he was kinda weird and scary. Later on in my life I realized I was not the only small child who felt that way torwards Purdue Pete. Now that I go to Purdue I have grown an appreciation for Purdue Pete because now I realize that he is a truly unique mascot.

A secret of Purdue Pete is that more than one person wears the costume. At the beginning of every year a tryout is held to see what four will wear the Purdue Pete costume during the season. To become Purdue Pete one has to be athletic and have a great sense of humor.

“Being Purdue Pete is an honor because being apart of Purdue tradition is something special and near and dear to my heart,” said Purdue Pete Kevin Wissler.

Purdue Pete

Purdue 2013-2015 seasons

Through the years of 2013-2015 the Boilermakers have faced a rough spot in their programs history. Throughout these seasons the Boilers have gone six and 29 and have only won two Big Ten games which were against Illinois and Nebraska.Many attribute the lack of success to poor coaching or poor development in game plans for upcoming games. The real issue for Boilermaker football that people over look or are to shy to say out loud is honestly the players.

The reason I say this is because we truly are not a well oiled machine. One half of a game we will look like a totally different team  and look like contenders  for the Big Ten championship, however in the next half we collapse and fall behind in the game. Learning to be consistent everyday is the real challenge for the team because the best teams and players in the nation are not the most athletic, they are in fact the most consistent and well disciplined.

“We have a very talented team its unbelievable how talented we are the problem that we face is playing inconsistent, a football game can’t be the tale of two halfs,” said head coach for Purdue football Darrell Hazell.

There is a phrase in football that all players know which states that coaches don’t win games because the coaches can only do so much. This phrase highlights the fact that at the end of the day the players have to play the game without the help of their coaches.

” Football is not a coaches game it is a players game and I think we need to stop leaning on them and just go out and play to the best of our ability,” said Purdue safety Robert Gregory.

Luckily for Purdue football we are starting to get away from leaning on our coaches for everything. Now we are coaching ourselves through film study and through workouts, until we get out on the field in a week and a half for spring ball we will truly not see the fruits of our labor, but for now the players are moving in the right direction to be successful this fall.

Purdue 2013-2015 seasons

Purdue football traditions

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Purdue football has many of traditions one of those traditions that few outside of Purdue don’t know about is breakfast club. Breakfast club is an event before football games where students dress up in outrageous costumes and go to the local bars and hang out with their friends. Did I also mention that they do this at  5 a.m. in the morning until the start of the game? A few students even decide to wear there costumes out to the football game. The tradition of breakfast club is a fairly new tradition that was started in the late 1980’s by Pete’s bar and grill, now the West Lafayette Library. The idea of breakfast club was originally a marketing ploy to create interest in attending the bar on Saturday’s. After the bars success other bars followed suit thus creating a Purdue football season tradition.

Another Purdue football tradition before the start of the game is reciting the “I am an American” speech. This tradition came about in 1966 by Roy Johnson or known as “The Voice of Purdue”, this tradition truly didn’t become a well loved tradition by fellow Boilermakers until 11 days after the 9/11 attacks  during the home game against Akron. During the reciting of this speech one can see a huge American Flag on the field being held by service members and one can also hear the All-American Band of Purdue play the melody that goes along with the well loved speech. Soon after the speech is over the star spangled banner is played by the band.

“Even though it is a new tradition for Purdue I believe it may be one of the best because it reminds us of how blessed we truly are to be an American,” said Purdue safety Leroy Clark.

 

Purdue football traditions

Purdue football nutrition

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Finding an edge in sports is very integral to athletes, over the years all the edges to gain an advantage has been explored such as new drills, recovery, and strength training. One of the edges that are overlooked by many athletes however is nutrition. Nutrition does so much for an athlete it can provide proper recovery, increase strength, and increases endurance.

 

 

For the case that it provides so many benefits for athletes Coach Hazell decided that it would be an integral part for the Purdue program to hire a full-time sports nutritionist. Lauren Link was hired last year to be a part of the Purdue training staff, she is a former Purdue athlete and while at Purdue she majored in dietetics.

“She offers a great deal of many things for our athletes  such as counseling to teach our athletes how to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Hazell.

Since the hiring of Mrs. Link the Purdue weight room has seen many of changes, one of those changes being the sports nutrition bar. At the nutrition bar players can grab a healthy pre and post workout snack to help fuel them through the day. The nutrition bar is open from 7:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. so athletes can stop in and grab a quick bite to eat or grab snacks to have in class or at home.

 

As a current player I love the new additions that have been made to the program especially when it comes to the nutrition bar. When I was a freshmen the fueling station did not exist and we didn’t have a full-time sports nutritionist so before workouts we would have to buy our own supplements and snacks to eat. Without Mrs. Link the team would most likely go back to being out of shape and living unhealthy lifestyles outside of football. She is an unbelievable resource for me and my fellow teammates.

Purdue football nutrition