If I had to choose three people alive or dead I’d want to spend time with, my picks would be PIC abolitionist Mariame Kaba, Malcolm X or El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, and Baylor Football head coach Dave Aranda. Both a football scholar and profound and intellectual thinker, Aranda proves with every media day and press conference from years one through four in the green and gold that he’s almost more of a philosopher than a sports genius. Aranda made his Baylor year four debut at today’s 2023 Big 12 Football Media Day 1 with insights on last year’s struggles, goals for the upcoming season, thoughts on his recently deceased father, and QB Blake Shapen’s improvements during the offseason. The Conference posted a transcript of Aranda’s full quotes from 2023 Big 12 Football Media Day 1, but here’s a few of my favorites below.
On what he’s focusing on this year vs. last year: “To take it to this year you know, to start the year really started with person over player and really focusing in on that and talking a lot about that with our team and starting that with hey, we’re talking about the whole thing, your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul is to get that into an alignment and to get that to where you know yourself, you can be yourself, you can express yourself, and when it comes time to, you can check yourself.”
On recently losing his father: “I remember when he called me and told me that he had pancreatic cancer and it was stage 4, I told him that I loved him and he didn’t say it back. I don’t know if he heard me. So I wanted to go and say it to him face to face. I was able to do that. He gave me a big hug. I don’t know, when you’re hugging and everything, you feel like, hey, this is a good hug, and he wouldn’t let me go, and he kept really strong and he told me that he loved me. I’m so glad that we had that moment because I know a lot of folks don’t have that. Yeah, we’re going to have a celebration of his life coming up on this Sunday, and there’s going to be just so many people that are going to be there that my dad touched. Family members that didn’t know they were a part of the family, relatives that needed help that my dad was there for, and all these things, and I’m just way proud to be his son.”
On what he’s learned about himself from year one to year four: “I think the best way I can answer your question is that every piece of you, every part of you has to know why you’re doing this. Like what’s the reason behind this. What’s the — I think we all can see what the short-term goals are, but what’s really the long-term goal. What’s the legacy you want to leave. What’s the reason. Why are you doing this. I think if those things aren’t worked out, then your heart can be a mercenary heart, like C.S. Lewis has talked about, and you just go to the highest bidder, whatever it takes.”