The Coltist Coaches Football – Stampede Blue

For those of you who are not in the know, my soccer journey began in the summer of 1993 in the western suburbs of Chicago, when I was a third-grader in 6th grade, playing soccer.

Dear reader, this author spent most of his youth as the tallest kid in the class, so much so that the first year he played soccer he played against kids 3-4 years older due to his height.

I don’t remember much except that our starting quarterback’s name was Shiloh and if I remember correctly he played in Northern Illinois (he could have just attended, and we could have just gone to a game as a team. I That’s how old I am now.)

I was a Tri-City Charger.

I was fortunate to be the child of a multi-athlete (my dad ran track and cross country alongside wrestling and basketball at Austin High School in Austin, Indiana, where he met my mom). When we moved and my mom didn’t I don’t feel comfortable playing little league football in our new town of Mooresville, Indiana (which is an important note on the story), apparently it wasn’t the end of the world. Instead, I played basketball and baseball as a freshman and wrestled at varsity level alongside playing football in high school.

I was a Mooresville pioneer.

I graduated from Mooresville High School in the summer of 2002 (about a week ago 20 years ago) and attended Purdue University. I wasn’t recruited to play sports, I was literally given the opportunity to keep going because of a teammate from high school and a coach from another school. When I got to Purdue’s campus (I’ve always wanted to play quarterback), it was in early June and the only place you would find me outside of the classroom, library, or lecture hall was at the co-rec or campus gym . One day I saw a sign directing me to another building where I was asked to go to the Purdue football team if I showed up to an open practice session percentage. I was asked to come back a sophomore year to play fullback and was basically a clipboard keeper and scout quarterback the first season.

The economy was collapsing, the FAA imposed a hiring freeze (which eliminated the job I was supposed to be going to school for), and my parents had divorced the summer of my freshman year, so I panicked and dropped out of college before I graduated I moved back to Indianapolis. I worked two jobs, lived in a crappy apartment (my car was broken into), eventually lost 100 pounds in less than 90 days and enlisted in the Marine Corps Infantry.

I was a boilermaker in Purdue.

RJ Rady meets his bride’s father.

Many veterans I know have very different service histories, but during my time in the Marine Corps I was fortunate that the unit I originally commanded was in Iraq at the end of its 5th straight deployment (2nd Battalion 2nd Marines) and when they came back we were sent to the 26th MEU (I was aboard the USS Bataan for 9 days!) and my battle buddy RJ Rady and I were sent back to operate as part of the 8th to let Marine Regiment. I had shoulder surgery and RJ had knee surgery.

In April 2007, RJ died of a prescription drug overdose, they found cocaine posthumously in his system, gave him a dishonorable discharge, buried him in a pine box and refused me permission to bury my best friend.

I’m a United States Marine Corps veteran.

Jared’s Bootcamp photo.

For almost 15 years I have thought in agony that I have failed my combat comrades and the Marine Corps. I’ve lived with PTSD, depression, and anxiety, have been labeled as bipolar by my friends and family, and exhibited both manic and depressive behaviors that I had not exhibited prior to my time in the Marine Corps. I have tinnitus, my shoulder hurts constantly and for almost 15 years I have not been able to fully feel the fingers of my right hand.

About four years ago, RJ’s wife, Paola, reached out to me with a revelation. RJ didn’t kill himself. He passed out drunk at a house party and the host struggled to wake him up, so the party host injected cocaine into his gums and it made his heart explode. The host had admitted it, even letting Paola know that RJ wasn’t the only veteran she’d killed this way. To my knowledge, the person who murdered my best friend is still at large.

I’m a disabled veteran.

I immediately called the Onslow County Police. That same day I called the Jacksonville Police Department. I have police friends here in Indiana who know my story. I told the VA doctors. I have previously spoken about this publicly on social media. Four years and I don’t know the name of the person who killed my battle buddy and I’m seeking justice for my best friend.

Of course I would be happy about a closure. There is nothing else for me. In fact, I know a number of service members who are eligible for Combat Injury Commendations, among other accomplishments, and who would happily spend my life helping other veterans graduate.

I think since there’s no use going through regular channels, I would need a job that comes with a public profile. I’ve spent most of my life playing soccer, training, journaling and even scouting. I reached my breaking point after the Colts lost the playoff game to the Bills a few years ago. I feel like the coaching cost her that game and posted on social media that I wanted to get into coaching shortly after.

I was invited to coach quarterbacks at a local semi-pro football team called the Indiana Cutters. They had gone 3-5 the year before. With a left-handed quarterback as a freshman, the Cutters went 5-4 and were undefeated at home. I coached this freshman left-handed quarterback who was only released twice all season, and then got the opportunity to play for Seattle Rush Arena Football.

winter conditioning

After the season, I realized the Cutters had no depth at quarterback. Last year, I contracted COVID-19 playoff week and, after receiving a clean bill of health in December 2021, decided I was going to lose weight to become a backup quarterback. I’ve lost about 75 pounds in the last six months and managed to stay healthy into the regular season.

I’m an Indiana editor.

After my wife spent $1,500, I decided to buy a Microsoft Surface and after working my way to a 5-1 record (4-1 in actual games and our last regular-season opponent, the technically abandoned me) built, installed and played 5-1 as offense coordinator and primary play caller) that I would receive my 2022 Soldiers to Sidelines Football Coaching Certificate. Tonight is the third session and the second coaching session.

I am (almost) a certified football coach.

Also, my wife and I have decided that if I find a job as a head coach, we can sell our house and move out of state if need be. I feel like I’ve had to sit my whole life and watch bad decision makers run billion dollar companies. I think I can use the platform that comes with a head coaching position to motivate multiple communities to take action, be it young athletes with a former Division 1 walk-on and multi-athlete as the head football coach (who currently still plays football at 38 plays) or whether the veteran community allows someone who is not a combat veteran to start the conversation for their owed brothers and sisters.

I’m willing to risk anything to make a difference.

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