Rutgers Athletics: A History of Excellenc

American sports activists have a proud and respected history, with Rutgers’ athletic programs standing out among the brightest. One of the first universities in the country to bring their sports program into the interconnected arena, they started a tradition that will remain as strong as ever more than a hundred years later.

Rutgers University

American sports activist has a proud and respected history, with Rutgers’ athletic program standing out among its brightest. One of the first universities in the country to bring their sporting program into a congregational arena, they waged field and court battles with Yale, Columbia, and of course Princeton in its early (as well as long into the future) years. These four schools devised competition rules in 1873 and started a tradition that would remain as strong as ever for the next hundred years.

Football was the name of the game for these top-four intercollegiate giants in their early days, and it remains one of the main focal points of Rutgers’ athletics many years later. Of course, football is far from the only sport that schools focus on. Its history includes baseball, basketball, soccer and many more. Incredibly, many of the school’s sports ventures remained unaffiliated with any official conferences for most of its history. From a brief period in the 1940’s, this school belonged to the Central Three Conference and they enjoyed brief stints in the Middle Atlantic Conference in the late 1950’s. In 1976, the school joined the Atlantic 10 Conference and remained there until 1995. Since then, the university has been affiliated with the Big East.

A cursory glance at Rutgers’ athletic program will reveal the strong spirit of the school, embodied in red. The Scarlet Knights, as it is known, appeared when their school mascot beat other competitors such as “Scarlet” and “Flying Dutchmen”. For a long time before that change, the school was known as Chanticleer, although its association with chickens caused a lot of ridicule on the sports page. With a knight at the forefront of the program, the potential for ridicule is eliminated and the mascot reflects the integrity and tenacity of the school on the ground.

Birth of Pro Football

Of course, while the national focus is naturally on Rutgers athletics and their intercollegiate activities, the school also plays host to small-scale sports for those who lack the interest or ability to engage at a very competitive level. Sports clubs abound on the two campuses and, although the level of competition among participating schools may not reach the fever pitch seen in 1 Scarlet Knights Way, don’t say that to those who take the field regularly to prove their skills in the arena of their choice. Intramural sports also stand out on campus, giving anyone and everyone the opportunity to compete against fellow students.

Athletics and mental toughness

In sports, athletics, recreation or combat, mental toughness is a prerequisite. What’s one shift that will double your mental toughness?

But you know that now. Allow me to be perhaps controversial. Boxing, other combat sports, and martial arts require mental toughness the most of all.

Mental Strength In Sports

Let’s compare (from the top of my head) basketball, and boxing. Both are sports that can leave you exhausted. You get your usual bumps and bruises. But it’s one thing to be battered, bruised, and tired, and keep running and jumping. It’s another to be battered, tired, and having someone in your face trying to knock your head off, and fighting back.

So while I’m not the best fighter out there, I’ve done enough years in martial arts and boxing to learn a few tricks about mental toughness. Please read on to find out what I will consider most important in any sport or athletics.

The biggest step to mental toughness is learning how to deal with pain. And I am in danger of saying combat sportsmen and martial artists know more about it than anyone else.

Then what’s the secret? This is only to separate the pain from the injury.

Injury is what happened to you. You roll up your ankles, you tear a muscle, you pop a joint, or you take a punch right in the chin.

Building Mental Toughness as an Athlete

Pain is how you react to it mentally and emotionally. 

How you react to injury is determined by your body. If you’ve torn all the muscles in your arm, no amount of mental toughness can make him hit or throw or swing again. It’s a perfectly acceptable excuse to quit playing, if you have to.

But pain can be ignored. Pain is what stops sportsmen when they are physically able to continue. Pain is a close cousin of fear, and both are major obstacles to success.

Here’s a story I like to tell: There was a professional boxer in my gym who I used to spar. I outperformed him a lot and I hit him with lots of good shots – and still he keeps coming. It was amazing. After the session was over (and he kicked my ass), I asked him his secret.

“Simple,” he said, “I didn’t react to that. I knew I was shot, I recorded the mistakes I made, and I kept going.”

And that’s it. Does that make him invincible? Not. He had been knocked out before, but each time it was the injury that stopped him, not the pain. He was famous for his toughness and warrior spirit, and his secret was simple.

Going from “I am in pain” to “There is pain inside of me.”

Note: It is worth remembering that if the injury is serious – take care of your health first. I am not recommending that you continue through serious injury.