Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Johnny Damon on Winning

Granted, the BoSox broke the 86 year old Curse of the Bambino in 2004.  And Red Sox Nation's fans also rejoiced after a World Series victory in 2007.  But Damon's quip still brings a smile to a cynical sports fan's face. 

Wisconson Waterboy TD Thrills Town

LaChute Mustang Football Player Noah VanVooren after scoring first touchdown

Noah VanVooren, is a  Senior at Little Chute High School in Wisconsin, who has served as the Mustang football team's  Team Manage Water Boy for years. 

While VanVooren has Down Syndrome,  the team treated him as just one of the guys on the field.  Senior fullback  Chet Pereenboom noted VanVooren's positive attitude and enthusiasm which he shared with the team.  So the Mustang team wanted to do something special for VanVooren.   

Little Chute Football Coach Mike Ryczkowski asked Noah if he want to play in the final home game.   Ryczkowski thought that VanVooren would be nervous but the Team Manager turned player confidently strode onto the field wearing number 14.   Noah was made the honorary team captain for the Senior Night game and  helped lead the team on the field.

With 1.2 seconds left on the clock and Little Chute leading 57-0 over Clintonville High, the crowd shouted out "Noah, Noah" and VanVooren was sent in for the last play.  Mustang Quarterback Sam Merrifield handed off to VanVooren.  The Clintonville Truckers team let number 14 through, and VanVooren ran 35 years for the touchdown as he was surrounded by his teammates.

Although the score did not count for the record books, as both teams and the officials facilitated VanVooren's touchdown, one would never know it based on the enthusiastic reaction from the Little Chute crowd.  VanVooren was swarmed by fans.  After scoring his first TD, VanVooren exclaimed: "I feel great. I scored a touchdown.  It was great." Later Noah enthusiastically sang the school song in the postgame team huddle.

Noah VanVooren's father remarked: He was born 18 years ago and the doctors told us he would never be able to walk, talk or do anything. And then to see him 18 years later, it’s amazing." VanVooren's father also expressed gratitude to the Little Chute community who had backed up and loved his son.

The idea for a touchdown came from a group of Mustang Football Seniors who approached an Assistant Coach.  The plan then got the approval of the opposing Clintonville football team as well as the officials. 

LaChute (WI) Mustang Football Team, [front row] no. 14 Noah VanVooren

Sports can chronicle achievements but they also mold and reveal character.  This Wisconsin Water-Boy's TD embodies the finest virtues of character building through sports.  It echoes the triumph and sportsmanship depicted in the film Rudy (1993)

According to Little Chute High Principal Dan Valentyn, the school prides itself on being a place that is small enough to maintain a family-type atmosphere and give a personal focus to assist those who may be struggling personally or academically.  The  sportsmanship shown by the Mustangs for an underdog who had long supported the team and inspired them was noteworthy and commendable.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Albert Einstein on Baseball

This is the response that the famous physicist gave Boston Red Sox great Moe Berg when the professional catcher wanted to barter Einstein for math tutoring. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Al Hrabosky on Ambition

Boston Mayor Menino Muffs Red Sox Reference

When the Boston Red Sox make the Major League Baseball World Series,  all of New England feels compelled to get on the bandwagon,  Blaze Radio host is a Boston Bruins booster who does not care much for baseball, but admits it is prudent to root for the Red Sox now that they are in the "big dance". 

It is expected that the hometown Mayor would lead the charge in civic cheerleader. But five term Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D-Boston) manged to muff his MLB reference.  Boston Globe reporter Maria Cramer tweeted that Mayor Menino told a pack of reporters that he hoped that the Red Sox would win the World Series Cup and that their fans would be responsible.  

Mayor Menino seemingly melded MLB's Commissioner's Trophy with the NHL's Stanley Cup.  Oops.  This was not the first of Mayor Menino's missteps in sports quips.    But it is understandable as not every politico is an avid sports fan and they may not have access to the Teleprompter of the United States (TOTUS) to make them sound good. 

While it is amusing to twitter at Menino's sports ignorance, it is more more maddening to consider how Mayor Menino has been part of efforts to polemically politicize professional sports. Menino has been a prominent supporter of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).  For the last few years, MAIG has been running expensive $100,000 ads during the Super Bowl to promote their gun grabbing initiatives. 

If an elected official is a sports fan, let them go to town when their team is in the championships.  If not, stick to a script on rooting for the home team.  And be gracious about the city bets, rather than turning your nose at the hospitality in the World Series wager of the opposing side, as Menino did with St. Louis' offer of fried ravioli.  Finally, stop playing partisan politics with a veneer of sports, like with MAIG Superbowl ads.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Buckeye Compassion Shown Through Heartwarming Hugs

Dom Tiberi, the sports director at WBNS-TV 10 in Columbus recently lost his 21 year old daughter Maria, who was a student at Ohio State University, in an auto accident on September 17th.   The Buckeye campus rallied after Maria's death.  The weekend after the fatal car crash, there was a moment of silence for Maria Tiberi before the Ohio State-Florida A&M Football game at Ohio Stadium. 

Tiberi managed to return to work a week after mourning his daughter's death.  As Tiberi returned to the air, he thanked Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the Ohio State program for their support.

When Tiberi returned to "the Shoe" for the first time after his family tragedy, nearly the entire Ohio State Football team gave heartwarming hugs to the long-time anchor after their 31-24 point victory against the Wisconsin Badgers.    

The 22 year veteran TV10 sports newscaster appeared overwhelmed after the last embrace.  

Tiberi later shared his gratitude via Twitter. 

Often collegiate athletics are marred by reports of recruiting violations, the big money required for being competitive, boorish boosterism and some poor sportsmanship on the playing field.  The Dom Hugs are a reminder how sports can be opportunities to positively shape athletes' lives and how sports can truly touch people. 

h/t:  WBNS

Bruce Lee on Life

Bruce Lee

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wayne Gretzky on the Future

 This aphorism inspired Apple iCEO Steve Jobs, especially when he was introducing the iMac in 1998 as Jobs wanted a stylish  optical drive instead of a tray like the rest of personal computers.