Kate Fagan to talk “What Made Maddy Run” at Midtown Scholar

by: Jimi The Intern
August 18, 2017
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Kate Fagan, author and ESPN columnist, visits Midtown Scholar Bookstore on Wednesday, Aug. 23 to talk about her new book, What Made Maddy Run.

kate fagan midtown scholar

Fagan’s book tells the story of 19-year-old Madison Holleran. Holleran appeared the epitome of the all-American girl who had everything going for her. But as she started college, she became a shell of her former self in a matter of months and ultimately took her own life.

Fagan uses direct text messages, emails, and social media posts to bring the reader directly into Maddy’s mind as she went through these changes.

The book also pulls from Fagan’s personal experiences and references articles and studies from mental health professionals to give the reader more of a look at what Maddy might have been going through.

Maddy’s story

Maddy looked to have it all. She was a star track athlete going to an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania.

This was, in Maddy’s mind, the start of the four best years of her life.

But, after just a few short weeks into college, Maddy found this was not the life she had dreamed of.

As a high school student, she was at the top of everything. She won state championships and was a straight-A student.

But when Maddy got to college, she realized she was back at the bottom. She was running cross-country for the first time ever, and she felt like she was struggling in school.

This led her to think about leaving Penn and quitting track, although she never did go through with either option.

Fagan writes about how these circumstances made her see part of herself in Maddy. Fagan played basketball at the University of Colorado but grew apathetic and started to hate the game.

Through Maddy’s text conversations with her friends, it’s easy to tell she was unhappy, but she quickly brushed it off as “growing pains.”

By the time anyone really started to notice what was going on with Maddy, it was too late.

On the night of Jan. 17, 2014, she jumped off a nine-story parking garage and died.

Fagan’s Book

With the book, Fagan revisits her original story about Maddy, “Spit Image,” which first appeared in ESPNW.

“It was the response to “Spit Image” that made me feel like there was more to say,” said Fagan. “I got tons of emails from students who saw parts of themselves in Maddy. Within the emails, there were always questions about her social media. They wanted a little bit more.”

Fagan looks at Maddy’s social media, mainly her Instagram. She talks about how happy she always looked in the pictures, no matter what she was actually feeling.

Her pictures look like a normal college student’s timeline. There are pictures with friends at parties or teammates at track meets, always smiling.

Fagan talks about how in social media, we always want to look happy and project that to our followers.

While Maddy looked happy, she was anything but that deep down. So much so that she started to reach out for professional help.

Fagan writes about Maddy’s struggles to find help with her problems through the school. She was made to wait two weeks before seeing anyone, and when she did, Maddy didn’t get the help she needed.

In part, Fagan wanted this book to shed light on the mental health issues that can affect college athletes.

“I want athletic departments to put on the front burner how they are engaging with mental health issues with their athlete by hiring more professionals with more resources and understanding,” said Fagan.

In addition to jump-starting mental health care at colleges across the country, Fagan also hopes this book provides the impetus for kids and parents to engage in a conversation about the college transition.

“I want parents and kids talking about what college might be like for them,” said Fagan. “You can end up tricking yourself into thinking it is going to be amazing when you are sixteen.”

Connecting with the book

While reading this book, I saw a bit of myself in Maddy. Not to the extent that she felt, but I did face some of the same struggles.

I started out at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and couldn’t have hated it more. It wasn’t right for me. From the college life to the classes I was taking, I hated it.

Unlike Maddy, I moved on from those struggles to start at Penn State after just a semester at UPJ. I wondered how different Maddy could have been if she had made the switch to a different school.

This book shows that these aren’t rare occurrences and if you are struggling with this, you are not alone.

Fagan’s book can be a guide for those people who have been there and want to see that there is a way to reach out.

The Holleran family has created the Madison Holleran Foundation with the mission to prevent suicides and assist those in a crisis situation with a variety of resources.

Visit Midtown Scholar on Aug. 23 to hear more from Fagan and pick up a copy of What Made Maddy Run. 

Categories: Books, Harrisburg, Sports

Weekend Roundup 8/17

by: Sara Bozich
August 17, 2017
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Peace out, Harrisburg!

Just kidding, but I’m heading out of town again — only this time for a mini-vacation with my husband of all people! We’re headed to Silver Birches Resort in the Poconos for some R&R&F (Fishing, obv) – anyone been?

That means I’m missing things you should not, like 3rd in the Burg (Have you been to the Zeroday Øutpost yet?), Hip Hop in Harrisburg at HMAC, and more.

We’re back on Monday – stay cool.

weekend roundup

What are you doing this weekend?


Event: SoMa Night Light Pop-Up Party 8/31

by: Sara Bozich
August 16, 2017
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Join us for an evening party in the streets on Thursday, Aug. 31!

SoMa Night Light Pop-Up Party

Enjoy live music from the Little Brother Band, refresh with a pint from ZerØday or Boneshire Brew Works, food from Popped Culture, Urban Churn, Bricco, and more!


Bricco also is featuring a bite-sized version of their Pop-Up Dinners, plus pasta demos & $1 oysters all night!

Come out and enjoy the night in the growing South of Market district! New lights to be revealed!

Plus, learn more about Jump Street, Harrisburg VeggieFest, and Sprocket Mural Works’ Mural Festival!

SoMa Night Light Pop-Up Party – Thursday, Aug. 31, 7-9 p.m.

SoMa Pop-Up party

The Savage Poor: From Harrisburg to Austin

by: Micah Jacobs
August 16, 2017
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Growing up in Central PA offers a small town vibe with occasional flashes of city life.

While Harrisburg is on the rise for local music, musicians from all over the country have been submerging themselves in Austin, TX, for decades because of its dominant music scene — especially when it comes to the indie rock scene.

the savage poor

Brothers Jeff and Ben Brown grew up in Camp Hill, Pa., and have been writing music together since they were in their early 20s. Jeff learned to play by listening to one of the greatest punk rock bands of all time, The Ramones. Mimicking punk rock’s 3 power chords is a time-tested method for learning guitar. I learned by listening to bands like Operation Ivy myself.

Meanwhile, Ben would spend his time listening to the great David Bowie to develop his own musical taste and sound.

Perhaps you remember the Brown brothers from their time as the No Show Ponies (Ed. note – Or maybe I’m just old?)

The Savage Poor

Fast forward to today, and brothers’ new Austin-based band, The Savage Poor, offers a unique sound that takes from the likes of The Replacements to The Cure. A poetic and haunting vocal truth that touches on many social, environmental, and economic issues across the world today.

the savage poor

When I began to research the band and dive into some of their music, the first video that I checked out was for their track, “Together in the Jungle.” How amazingly timed. There are a lot of horrible events across our timelines and TVs every day. Songs like “Together in the Jungle” remind me of old anti-war protest songs mixed with a message of unity for today’s world.

Give it a listen and let The Savage Poor remind you that we are all here to help each other get through the rougher days.

The brothers are backed by Alex Morales on Drums, Roger Wuthrich on bass, and Christine Smith on keys and backing vocals.

The current album, titled The Grown Ups, is a diverse work that takes a long, hard look at many injustices and struggles in our modern life that have, in some way, affected everyone.

Tracks like, “The Night of a Thousand Tuesdays,” are short and lively while “Hand Coming Down,” taps more into the experimental, gothic side of the band during the 8-min epic.

The band shows diversity, flexibility, and the aspiration to not confine themselves to a mold, using all available influences to tap into something larger than themselves.

Where to Find It

The Grown Ups releases Friday, Aug. 18. Head over to their Bandcamp page to purchase the album for yourself. I highly recommend this band for anyone who enjoys the early eras of grunge and indie such as Dinosaur Jr and The Smiths.

The Savage Poor’s website is up to date with the latest info on the band including some upcoming show dates.

Hopefully, they make it back to their old stomping grounds to grace us with a live performance of the album.

Categories: Harrisburg, Music

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