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  • Nick Schnell

The Chronicles of Nick Schnell: FAT JOE; Target Practice

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Welcome back! It has been awhile since I did one of these. My wife and my parents decided I needed potty training, so I have been on a 4 week training regiment. It has been a long road, but I think I have passed that time in my life. We had a celebration for my graduation on December 24th to celebrate my potty training graduation. Being around the family to celebrate the holidays and my big celebration was great. During the holidays is the best time to sit around and reminisce on old stories. That is exactly what my family and I did.

Ask my family and I am sure they would tell you I was the definition of crazy as a kid. I was all over the place, not crazy in a bad way, well at least I don’t think so my mom may have something else to say about that. I was just on the go all the time, always doing something. If I wasn't playing sports outside, I was inside doing my best Steph Curry impression. I would take the mini volleyballs I made my mom and dad buy me at Bailey’s (my sister) volleyball tournaments, and would shoot it into a vase in our living room. I was the goat of vaseketball. Anything I could do sports wise I would do.

I would say a lot of my success as an athlete I can attribute to my older brother. I would play him and his friends in everything and playing kids 4 years older definitely made me a better athlete. Playing them though and being able to play with them and hold my own gave me a little bit of an ego some may say. I truly believed I could do anything. Someone would challenge me to do something and I would do it. It was just how I was. Give Nick Schnell a challenge and he was going to do it.

I grew up in the same house my whole life. I have a lot of memories there. One specific memory my family and I look back on often is our outdoor pet. We had a squirrel that lived in our backyard. This squirrel had 1,000 lives. It lived for my whole childhood and his name was FAT JOE. I don’t know the life expectancy is for squirrels, but FAT JOE well surpassed it. This squirrel had eaten his fair share of nuts hints the name, but we don’t body shame so show some respect. He was a part of the family and we would watch him from the window as he scurried across the backyard. Just writing this I am tearing up thinking about him. He was such a great squirrel.

FAT JOE has a special place in my heart, but my best memory of my life with FAT JOE was one sunny afternoon when we were having a family party at our house. Everyone was over hanging and 7 year old Nick was terrorizing the backyard playing like crazy. We played wiffle ball frequently, so there were wiffle balls and tennis balls all over our backyard. I was running around and saw FAT JOE walking on the power lines that run behind our house. Me, being the crazy, cocky, “I can do anything” kid I was, I looked at my parents and grandparents and said “I bet I can hit FAT JOE with this wiffle ball.” Of course everyone was like no you can’t and doubting me. This wasn’t a lay up. I was probably 90 feet away and it was 20-30 feet in the air. I don’t know the math on that, but not an easy throw for a 7 year old. So naturally I grabbed the wiffle ball, no hesitation and I smoked FAT JOE. Of course he stayed on the power line because he was fat. Some may say built for contact. I say he was just a WARRIOR. That was the moment my family will always go back to when asked when did you know he was going to be a good ball player. I owe FAT JOE a lot. I wish I could just watch him scurry across the backyard one more time. RIP.

FAT JOE assuming you are in heaven I hope I have made you proud and thank you for being my target practice. I can’t thank you enough for the impact you have had on my career. Thank you for the memories.

*No animals were harmed during this event*

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