One might be wondering what a letter that I wrote for University of Nevada Men’s basketball team Head Coach Eric Musselman has to do with boxing? Not so much with Boxing, it does have to do with a self belief and attitude that when a team and it’s athletes have it, it should inspire folks in every walk of life and in every participant of sport.
Those that have watched this year’s NCAA Tournament have fallen in love with miracles as they have seen in the tournaments past! The Wolf Pack’s comebacks down 14 against Texas in the opening round and coming back from 22 down against Cicinnati is stuff that inspires dreams! Although they fell short and lost by 1 point in the sweet 16 to Loyola-Chicago, another team making a miracle run, the moments provided by the team in the city I live in inspired me to write a letter to Coach Musselman.
Another reason to write and post the letter publicly… Well because I can! Unable to locate an email address for Coach Musselman, I had this option thanks to the outlet that I have on punchline.live…. It is only fitting however, since the Punchline podcasts on Tuesdays aren’t just about boxing as our listeners are aware of! So the following is the open letter that I am writing to Coach Musselman and the Nevada Wolf Pack, I hope the readers can take something from it about the spirit and never say die attitude that an Athlete is supposed to have!
March 23, 2018
Dear Coach Musselman,
I’m Simon Ruvalcaba, Army Veteran and former professional boxer born and raised in South Lake Tahoe but have been in Reno since 2010. First, as a Veteran I have to say that you have a great aura and personality of leadership abilities. If you where a Military General with the kind of passion that you lead with, going to war under your command would be an honor! When it comes to being a former athlete now coach and journalist, I too many times zoned out the spectacle of the event and didn’t take the time to take in and appreciate the fan support and passion they put behind their hopes. As a boxing trainer and youth sports coach today, I do my best to instill a passion in my athletes and make them understand how much they are influencing outside of just participating in a sport. As a journalist I get to appreciate the spectacle that I often missed out on when I was isolated before an event.
Your team’s never say die attitude and your ability to make a team keep believing is setting a culture for the youth that get to see what we often preach as coaches. The Friday game versus Texas I went to a bully’s sports bar for my lunch hour to catch the end of the game. I was wrong to think that it wasn’t going to be busy with how much it was snowing. I walked in and the place was packed with supporters! The Sunday game with Cincinnati was special. I have a 7 year old Son that was watching in his room and made the statement that it wasn’t looking good. As the comeback was mounting he ran out of his room and with full excitement says “Dad, they are catching up!” I was in the living room watching the comeback happen and when it was complete it allowed me the opportunity to talk to my Son and let him know that he just saw the reason why you never stop believing in yourself! Even when the miracles expired in the sweet 16, I still had belief, even with less than a second left, that some magic could still happen! Sometime in the future Reno athletes are going to be on a National stage and have this no quit attitude about themselves and media may say that there must be something in the Reno water for such determination? In reality it is because of inspired moments. Your Wolf Pack has created the belief in our youths that I hope carries over to adulthood in sports and in life! For those few hours each game over the last week, there was no differences in our community, it wasn’t political red or blue as everyone was united Wolf Pack Silver and Blue even for just a few moments in time and it was great as that escape is what sports gives its fans!
I attended your team’s arrival today to show my support for the proud moments that you gave me and the community through your NCAA Tournament run! It was an honor for me to be there and glad that I was able to get away from work to do so! I felt compelled to write this letter to fully pass on what the accomplishments mean to me personally! Best of luck moving forward, somewhere up there your Father is looking down proudly I’m sure!
About the Editor
Army Veteran and former Professional Boxer Simon Ruvalcaba started boxing at the age of ten and Had a 71 fight amateur career which featured a 139 lbs. 1998 8th U.S. Army Boxing Championship out of Camp Casey, Korea and a spot on the prestigious Army Boxing Team at Fort Hood, TX. After a journeyman pro career of 18 fights, which included sparring sessions with many champions and contenders including Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker, Simon started writing and has contributed to many publications and websites including fighthype.com, pound4pound.com, Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV) and also writes a monthly boxing column for Tahoeonstage.com. He has also been the Boxing Instructor for Ken Shamrock and The Lions Den and was UFC star Paige VanZant’s first boxing coach!
Born and Raised in South Lake Tahoe, California he now resides in Sun Valley, Nevada and spends as much time as possible with his Son Gabriel! Beyond boxing, Simon is an all around sports fanatic and is passionate about the teams that he roots for!