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Local Alex Coleman making the most of opportunities with Columbus Destroyers

Mitch Hooper

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“I love being here. These are my streets, this is my city.”

Alex Coleman is a Columbus local. He grew up right here in the city and attended Eastmoor Academy High School. Throughout school he maintained 4.0 GPA and led his team to the state championship. Though they ultimately lost that game, he was named the MVP. Everything seemed primed for a successful career on the field and he had hoped for that scholarship offer from Ohio State, but that offer never came. Looking back on it now, Coleman, now a wide receiver for the recently relaunched Arena Football League team the Columbus Destroyers, said that was fuel to his fire to work harder, but through trials and tribulations comes perspective.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

The AFL is unlike most leagues in sports. With the setup of the field literally butting up to the stands, the fans are able to get in on the action as close as safely possible. In between plays or before kick offs, fans can chat with the athletes on the field. If a football makes it into the stands, the lucky person who caught it is now going home with a free souvenir—try that at an Ohio State game and you’ll have an usher tackling you like Joey Bosa in no time. And after the games, fans can stick around to go on the field and meet the team. If your little one is especially into sports, imagine the look on their face as they play catch with a player on the team. There’s no question here: the AFL is more than just football—it’s a community builder. And that’s why Coleman is taking his opportunity to return home so seriously.

“I come from a hard-working family, but we didn’t know anything about athletics,” Coleman explained. “When you look for some type of figure to motivate you and push you in the right direction, I think that’s where I fell short coming out of high school.”

He committed to Ashland University and eventually transferred to Capital University where he kept that same mentality for maintaining school and athletics, and graduated with a degree in Communications Studies, balancing the act of academics and athletics without a mentor. Now that he’s back in the city that helped shape him, he’s looking to serve as that role model he needed when he was growing up. It’s a way to break the chain for him and others growing up in similar situations—a method for nurturing the next generation.

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“Everybody loves a Cinderella story, but it’s often not like that,” Coleman said.

(And for the record, even Cinderella had the help of a fairy godmother. Didn’t think you’d see this factoid in a sports story, did ya?)

For Coleman, actions speak louder than words. Throughout his career, he’s been told he’s too small for the wide receiver position, as he stands at 5-foot-9-inches tall. Recruiters and reports all said if he were a few inches taller, he’d be a must-grab for many universities. Instead of letting those words dictate his career, he’s out to prove them wrong. In the high school championship game where they lost, he stole the limelight with three touchdowns and the MVP trophy. Last season with the Carolina Havoc, there was some debate on whether Coleman should be in the starting lineup. The next game he scored four touchdowns—with the last one being the game winner. Coleman was solidified in the lineup, and the Havoc are now reigning champs of the American Arena Football league.

This mantra of  “do more, say less” finds a new chapter with his arrival in Columbus. Again, Coleman finds himself behind the eight ball vying for a starting position. For him, it’s not a matter of if, but when. And when that day comes, Coleman said he knows he’ll have to make the most of the opportunity because he never knows if it’ll be his last. That’s another sentiment Coleman is trying to drive home with young athletes as well. Whether it be injuries, grades, off-the-field antics, or simply just not making the cut, tomorrow is never promised in football. He said athletes have to be prepared for plan B, C, or even Z.

It’s easy to say something to a kid, but to actually be an example to them means even more,” Coleman explained. “Kids are much more mature in terms of their train of thought so a lot of kids are going to question me like, ‘Why should I do it if you didn’t?’ ”

Since arriving in Columbus, Coleman has been working with youth on the developmental side. While he sees the importance of coaching on the field, his interest is more in getting young people prepared with the fundamentals so they have the tools available to work efficiently. Not only does this help shape athletes for high school and beyond, it helps coaches recognize the players taking extra steps plus, gives a stronger foundation to build off. He’s also made a return to some of his old stomping grounds to give advice and expertise at Eastmoor High School, as well as Capital. Coleman said it only takes one person to start a change and create a village, and so far, it seems he’s on the right path.

The Columbus Destroyers play at Nationwide Arena. For more information on tickets plus the schedule, check out columbusdestroyers.com.

millennial | writer | human

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Cedar Point, Kings Island are suing to get you back

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It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Columbus Zoo & Aquarium are allowed to re-open but Cedar Point and Kings Island have been snubbed in Gov. Mike DeWine’s most recent announcement that Ohio’s entertainment venues were allowed to re-open.

After being left out of the party, Cedar Point, Kalahari Resort and Kings Island sued the director of the Ohio Department of Health Thursday, arguing that Dr. Amy Acton doesn’t have the authority to keep the state’s amusement parks and waterparks shut down and in doing so is violating the park’s rights.

The lawsuit was brought by attorney Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. The county health departments for both parks were also named in the lawsuit.

No word yet from the Ohio Department of Health as to when, or if, either amusement park will be allowed to open in June.

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Updated hours for North Market as first Farmers’ Market of the season opens Saturday

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Get excited Columbus foodies - this Saturday marks the beginning of North Market’s Farmers’ Market season! The Farmers’ Market will tantalize your taste buds every Saturday this summer through October, from 8 a.m. until noon at the North Market outdoor plaza at 59 Spruce Street.

During the coronavirus pandemic, North Market provided customers with fresh pick-up bundles. Now they’ve updated their operating hours to give consumers who want to shop again a chance to pick their own culinary delights.

"The hope is that a gradual reopening will strike a balance between the desire to serve the public and still respect the very real health concerns still shared by merchants, public, and staff," said Rick Harrison Wolfe, North Market's executive director, in a press release Thursday.

The updated hours, which will go into effect this Sat., June 6, are as follows:

  • Monday - Tuesday: closed
  • Wednesday - Friday, Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

All of those in attendance will have to observe the following guidelines as outlined in a press release by North Market:

  • North Market's mask requirement that applies to indoor merchants and guests will also apply to all outdoor vendors and guests.
  • Access to each farmers' market booth will be limited. Markings on ground will indicate this requirement and will show the distance required between people. Only one person/group traveling together may be in each box at a time.
  • Several farms and vendors will offer contact-free shopping and pre-orders. North Market asks that guests pre-order and plan out shopping trips when possible. This helps keep crowds to a minimum and lines moving smoothly.
  • Farms and vendors will provide hand sanitizer for guest use.
  • North Market farms and vendors are committed to helping prevent the spread of illness by washing hands frequently, covering coughs/sneezes, staying home when sick, and avoiding exposure to others who are sick. We ask that all guests follow the same protocols and do not visit North Market or the Farmers' Market if feeling ill.
  • North Market farms and vendors will continue to strictly follow all local public health guidelines, safety protocols, and best practices.

If you’re interested in which merchants will be open on what days, North Market has been dedicated to providing you with that information during the pandemic. You can find the list, which is updated daily, here.

Although there are still limitations on indoor seating, outdoor seating on the porch and the farmers’ market plaza are currently available.

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Weekend Getaway: Ohio State Park lodges reopen

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Cooped up inside of our homes for the past few months, everyone could use a change of scenery. Luckily for those that love the great outdoors of Ohio, the perfect getaway is now possible once again.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced on May 28 that all nine Ohio State Park lodges would be reopened by June 5.

The places where you can escape to are listed below in order of closest proximity to Columbus to furthest:

  • Deer Creek
  • Burr Oak
  • Mohican Lodge
  • Salt Fork Lodge
  • Shawnee 
  • Hueston Woods
  • Maumee Bay
  • Punderson Manor

Director of State Park Lodges Tom Arvan had this to say in the May 28 press release:

“Our staff has been working diligently to ensure that guests return to a safe and sanitized environment following the CDC safety guidelines. Our goal is for our guests to feel comfortable as they enjoy the fun activities and relax in the natural beauty of the lodges and all the state parks have to offer this summer.”

Visit https://www.greatohiolodges.com/ to secure your much-needed wilderness adventure today.

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