Friday, September 25, 2015

A Debate Like No Other: Brady vs Manning (Part 1)

There are many intriguing debates in this world. Some are about political views, others in regard to religion, and a great many about the ways to live one's life. But no debate in this country, or even on this planet, is quite as fascinating as that of Brady vs Manning.

Having been a goal of mine ever since hearing of it on ESPN, I have come to put an end to the debate once and for all. Now, in order to complete this task, there is a certain set of guidelines I must follow. First, due to the many aspects of this great quarterback dispute (statistics, individual awards, team success,  etc.), I cannot simply tackle this debate in one single blog post. Instead, I will have to approach it using a series of posts, each highlighting two or three different facets of the Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning comparison. Next, throughout this process I will keep an open-mind, meaning bias will be excluded as best it can be. For if any favoritism is showcased in this writeup, all claims can be deemed incredible. Lastly, any fact stated in this work will be linked to a valid source. With this approach, hopefully I can create the most accurate conclusion possible as to whom is better: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Hope you enjoy.

How They Started

Son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, Peyton was born with football in his blood. He grew up in Louisiana playing football with his two brothers, Cooper and Eli, and came onto the football scene as a force to be reckoned with. Fueled by his competitive spirt and knowledge of the game, Peyton came out of high school as the unofficial number one recruit in the nation.  Taking his talents to Knoxville, the aspiring young quarterback continued his ways in college by setting 42 school, conference, and NCAA records during his four-year career as a Volunteer. At 6'5, 230 lbs, Manning left the University of Tennessee to become the first overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft. From there he would continue his legacy as an Indianapolis Colt starting the first game for the organization the very next season.

A year younger than Peyton, Tom was raised a few thousand miles away in the town of San Mateo, California. There, he established himself as a potent athlete in both the sport of baseball and football. Although being offered to play at the professional level for baseball, Brady decided his passion was with football. After graduating high school, he pursued a scholarship to the University of Michigan, were he would showcase his talent as a quarterback at the next level. Despite not playing much his first two years, during his Junior season, Tom became the starting quarterback for the Wolverines. From there he developed himself as a prominent Big Ten player, where he even led his team to a victory in the Orange Bowl his Senior year. Unlike Peyton, Tom was not given the luxury of being drafted first overall, or even in the first round. In fact, Brady was not drafted until late in the second-to-last round of the draft, where the Patriots took him 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. During his first season as a pro, the rookie worked himself up the Patriots depth chart from 4th to 2nd. Then, in 2001, when the great Drew Bledsoe suffered a major concussion in the second game of the Patriots' season, Brady was called up to be the team's starting quarterback.



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walks to School

Almost everyday of the year, I drive to and back from school. It takes two minutes to get from Point A to Point B, assuming there is no traffic. Fast and reliable, this way of transportation never does me wrong, nor does it fail any of my other friends who mostly all also drive. Yet, each day as I take the repetitive drive, I always get a feeling inside me that just doesn't sit right.

Right before I hop in my car each day, I get dressed in my room. As I put my clothes on and slide into my shoes, I can't help but look outside my window and notice the group of younger students who assemble at my street corner every school day at 7:00 AM. Regularly there are many, sometimes few; occasionally on bikes, other times riding their scooters. Yet, no matter the means of transportation, or the quantity of the group, each day they go to and back from school together. Just a group of friends who, even if they only get to talk with each other for ten minutes before their first class begins, take the time to get up early and make something of their morning. Despite the less amount of sleep and actually having use energy to transport themselves to school, I have no doubt in my mind that these kids will be glad they decided to meet at that corner each day.

Before school sports, the driver's license, and those valued extra minutes of lying in bed, I walked to and from school everyday with at least one of my friends. In kindergarten, it was my mother. We’d walk up to the old Eisenhower Elementary School holding hands as she asked me questions about various things in life only for me to respond ever-so-purely and innocently with an answer. Next came the short, one-block walk to Schaeffer.  I’d go with my next-door neighbor down the block, sometimes in a sprint, to see if we could make it to our class line before the bell. Hoover came two years after... sometimes walking with one good friend, other times on scooters with a group. Alongside my classmate, I remember being the first known kid in the fourth grade to walk from the North Side of Camp Hill to Hoover Elementary without using a single crossing guard to get to school; simply unheard of at the time. In fifth grade, we’d start our trip to school by jumping off of the local Cheese Mountain and across to the other side of the creek. We’d then proceed to race on our Razor scooters to school, zooming past any pedestrian that stood in our way.
Then came the climax of the walks to school: the sixth grade. Always surrounded by a group of at least three, these mid-range walks to and from the Middle school provided me with some of my most distinct childhood memories. Whether it was failed creek jumps, walnut/pinecone wars, playing in the rain, snowball fights, throwing water balloons at cars, getting into fights with older students, or concussing a girl with a stray hose-nozzle; these times will always be deeply cherished in my heart. 

         As the age of cars and the inability to wake up early set in, these events slowly came to an end. Yet, as nice as cars and maximized time at home are, I always regret not being in a similar type of group each morning gathering outside on a street corner somewhere, waiting to create even more one-of-a-kind memories than passing them by in a mere two minute drive each day.