Michael Cox has never owned a sled and he’s barely seen snow, but that won’t stop him from seeking gold.
“Growing up in Texas, I think it’s snowed twice in my life,” said Cox, a 22-year-old athlete from Southlake, a suburb of Dallas and Fort Worth. “You could say the hope of a Winter Olympics for a Texas kid doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
But he doesn’t let rational thinking get in the way of his dreams. On July 12, Cox took part in the USA Bobsled/Skeleton Combine in Colorado Springs, hoping to make an impression among those that choose the next sliders in the Olympic Games. The next day, he traveled north a little over an hour up Interstate 25 to Denver to showcase his stick skills at the NLL Combine. Cox has been racking up the miles and exploring all his options.
“The dream is two things,” Cox said. “Number one in short term would be to get drafted by an NLL team and make an active roster and play in the NLL. The eventual goal is to maybe make a (sledding) rookie camp, train, and see where things go. The Olympics, maybe in 2026, would be far-fetched but something I would love to do.”
Cox won’t give up trying. Despite falling short of the 500 points needed to qualify at the bobsled/skeleton combine, he believes he can make up the deficit next time.
“Those points left on the table are not something that’s unattainable,” said Cox, who admitted he fell about 100 points short. “I need to train a little bit longer. Two months is a little shorter than most people train for, but I was coming off the NCAA season.”
Cox graduated from the University of Denver in May, where he played his final three seasons of collegiate lacrosse, after spending a year at Siena College in New York. Going the extra mile and putting in the legwork are things Cox has been doing well before college.
“I’ve walked around high school recruiting tournaments, handing out my resume to college coaches and asking them to look at my tapes,” Cox said. “I’m pretty determined.”
And determination seems to breed great athletes from Cox’s hometown of Southlake, which currently has about 27,000 residents, according to the city’s website. NFL stars Terry Bradshaw, Russell Maryland, Terence Newman and DeMarcus Ware are just a few of the elite athletes that have emerged from Southlake.
Cox grew up playing a variety of sports including soccer, baseball, football and lacrosse. He believes his strong athletic background has put him in a position to succeed, no matter which sport he chooses to fully pursue.
“Most bobsled guys actually come from warm-weather climates, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Cox said. “In Texas, you have relatively good athletes. And they seem to pull people from track backgrounds and are endurance-based.”
And if lacrosse happens to be the direction he chooses, Cox has a strong background as a Division 1 player, who has indoor experience as a former member of the U-19 U.S. Junior Lacrosse Team that played at Six Nations in Ontario. He opened a few eyes at the NLL Colorado Combine last month and plans to take part in the next combine, hosted by the Toronto Rock on Sept. 14.
“It was fantastic to be coached by (Pat) Coyle of the Colorado Mammoth,” Cox said. “It was good to get back inside the boards and be with other box (lacrosse) players. And I’ve also decided to get in front of more scouts in September by heading up to Toronto.”
Adding to his busy schedule, Cox has also lined up law school in his near future. In August, he will attend the Southern Methodist Dedman School of Law in downtown Dallas.
“I tell everybody, if there’s a conflict, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there,” said Cox, who recently received his degree in finance. “It’s sort of a balancing act and if things were to happen for me in either sports, I’d just have to figure out how to balance that.