The Beat: Gator Nation Is Full Of Surprises

Quote of the Week

“I know our alum Larry Keefe will always place the rule of law above politics, serving as an excellent example for current and future students at UF Law.”  – UF Law dean Laura Rosenbury on UF alumnus and new U.S. attorney for Northern District of Florida Larry Keefe.

Singer Surprise

This one made national headlines over Christmas break, but we’re running it back for two reasons. One, maybe you missed it — and believe us, this is not something to be missed. Two, it’s so dang sweet that we couldn’t not post about it.

Brady Singer surprised his parents on Christmas by paying off all their debts. He took care of the mortgage, and cleared away any red. Singer penned a touching letter to his mom and dad, thanking them for always putting his hopes and dreams first. It was time to repay them.

“Because you deserve the very best. I want you both to know how much I appreciate you and how none of this would be possible without you,” he wrote. “Your giving hearts helped to shape my tiny dream into a reality.”

Singer was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the first round of last year’s MLB Draft and inked a $4.25 million contract on July 3.

Some folks buy a new car or a mansion on a hill; this budding Gator legend takes care of his family. What a wonderful treat.

If you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend checking out the video of the surprise. Just make sure to have the tissues ready.


Gator Nursing Nation

We were off last week because my wife had our first child, a boy, on Christmas morning. Everything is going okay now — mom and baby are doing well — but it was a bit of a rough start.

There were some minor complications, which led to the baby sitting down in intensive care for his first few days of life. Fortunately, the hospital staff was more warming and welcoming than anything we could have ever imagined.

And get this. On the final day, as we were preparing for discharge, my wife and I were talking with her primary nurse in the postpartum floor. The nurse, Shannon, was telling us about her trip back in Florida. While talking, we noticed Shannon had a little Gator pendant on her scrubs. We asked her if she went to UF, and sure enough she’s a Gator! Class of 2012.

We traded stories about living in Gainesville, and talked about how we juuuuuust missed each other (she enrolled the year my wife and I graduated). Shannon gave us a chomp, said the baby was all good to go, and insisted that it better be going home in a Gator onesie (no doubt!).

Just a personal note about how Gator Nation really is EVERYWHERE! When you’re least expecting it, a Gator pops up and brightens the day. So if you’re ever at Prentice Hospital in Chicago and run into a nurse named Shannon, give her a big ol’ chomp!


Recruiting Surprise

We normally don’t go too deep into sports here, but this felt fitting with the week’s theme of surprises. On Thursday night, during the Under Armour All-America Game, 4-star wide receiver Arjei Henderson committed to the Gators! Henderson was considered all but a lock for FSU (95% crystal ball, for all you recruiting fans out there), and then boom! Go Gators.

Henderson’s commitment catapulted us one spot above FSU in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings. We’re now No. 15 overall and will likely climb higher.

Also, from the look of an awkward interview with Deion Sanders last night, there might be a few more recruits who surprise us in signing with the good guys instead of the Noles.

Watch awkward interview here


Gator Tracks

Here’s a smattering of all things Gators from the week. Enjoy!

Malaria Testing

UF has created a non-invasive test to better determine whether somebody has malaria. Instead of blood testing, people can take a spit test to see whether they carry the parasite. Pretty wild stuff here!

Read more about the study here

The Swamp

Y’all, there’s a new documentary coming out on PBS titled The Swamp. Sadly, it’s not a 10 hour marathon of all the greatest games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. However, it is about the Everglades, and UF researchers were consulted heavily! Tune in January 15.

Watch clip of The Swamp here

An Aspirin A Day

A recent UF study has found that taking an aspirin a day may be more harmful than helpful if you’re a healthy individual. If you’re part of the aspirin a day club, you might want to check this out.

UF study on Aspirin

Nursing Grant

Florida Blue Foundation has awarded UF with a three-year, $286,000 grant to help care for underserved populations dealing with the country’s wonky (see: at times difficult to navigate) healthcare system.

“This partnership between the UF colleges of Nursing and Dentistry to better treat underserved populations is an excellent example of the kind of work the Florida Blue Foundation supports,” Florida Blue Foundation Vice President Susan Towler said. “This speaks right to Florida Blue’s mission to help people and communities achieve better health.”

Anything that makes dealing with insurance, doctors, and all points in between easier, we’re all for it!

More on this grant

Sports Corner

Gator Nation Podcast

Now that’s how you tie a bow on a season! Dan Mullen basically pantsed Jim Harbaugh and then ate his lunch in front of a national audience.

In this edition of the Gator Nation Football Podcast, James and Allen relive all the fun and talk about how this big win impacts the future.

Listen to the pod here

Six Bits

    1. Rustle up some Chick-fil-A and enjoy a gorgeous visual recap of the Peach Bowl.
    2. The future of our football team was on full display in Thursday’s Under Armour All-America Game — let’s just say the future is looking bright!
    3. The history between Dan Mullen and new Miami head coach Manny Diaz — and all the entanglements with UF — reads like the plot of a Charles Dickens novel.
    4. The gymnastics team’s freshman class is ranked No. 1 in the nation!
    5. Congrats to basketball player Mak Krause on earning a scholarship (it got a little dusty watching this video!).
    6. Pretty sweet insider’s view of the tennis recruiting world from assistant coach Tanner Stump in his podcast.


UFact of the Week

These three baseball stats blew our socks off:

  • The Gators are the only team to earn the No. 1 overall seed for the College World Series three times.
  • Florida is also the only team in the country to earn a national seed in each of the last five seasons.
  • Finally, UF has been a national seed nine times in 11 years under Coach O’Sullivan! We’re not saying coach has built a dynasty, but we’re also not not saying that!

See y’all next week!

Go Gators!