Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Greatest Moment in Sports You Will Never Hear About

In my opinion, this is one of greatest moments in sports history. Period. And, unfortunately, hardly anyone will know about it. If this doesn't moisten your eyes or inspire you in some way then you are dead inside. Too harsh? Read on...

A Sporting Gesture Touches ’Em All

From The New York Times
Published: April 30, 2008

Something remarkable happened in a college softball game last Saturday in Ellensburg, Wash. At least, I am conditioned to think it was remarkable, since it involved an act of sportsmanship, with two players helping an injured opponent complete the home run she had just slugged.

Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon being carried around the bases by Central Washington’s Liz Wallace, left, and Mallory Holtman.

Why this generous act should seem so unusual probably stems from the normal range of bulked-up baseball players, police-blotter football players, diving soccer and hockey players and other high-profile professionals.

The moment of grace came after Sara Tucholsky, a diminutive senior for Western Oregon, hit what looked like a three-run homer against Central Washington. Never in her 21 years had Tucholsky propelled a ball over a fence, so she did not have her home run trot in order, gazing in awe, missing first base. When she turned back to touch the bag, her right knee buckled, and she went down, crying and crawling back to first base.

Pam Knox, the Western Oregon coach, made sure no teammates touched Tucholsky, which would have automatically made her unable to advance. The umpires ruled that if Tucholsky could not make it around the bases, two runs would score but she would be credited with only a single. (“She’ll kill me if I take it away from her,” Knox thought.)

Then Mallory Holtman, the powerful first baseman for Central Washington, said words that brought a chill to everybody who heard them:

“Excuse me, would it be O.K. if we carried her around and she touched each bag?”

The umpires huddled and said it would be legal, so Holtman and the Central Washington shortstop, Liz Wallace, lifted Tucholsky, hands crossed under her, and carried her to second base, and gently lowered her so she could touch the base. Then Holtman and Wallace started to giggle, and so did Tucholsky, through her tears, and the three of them continued this odd procession to third base and home to a standing ovation.

“Everybody was crying,” Knox recalled on Tuesday. “It was an away game, and our four fans were crying. We couldn’t hit after that.”

The extra run made it easier for Western Oregon to win the second game, 4-2, and sweep the doubleheader. More important, all involved realized they had taken part in an event they would always remember. (Credit where credit is due: I heard about this incident via Jared Max on WCBS-AM news radio Tuesday morning and later I found a nice article by Graham Hays on before making my own calls.)

The question is, where did it come from, this impulsive gesture by Mallory Holtman?

“She hit it over the fence,” Holtman said Tuesday. “She deserved it. Anybody would have done it. I just beat them to it.” She said she had been taught by her coach, Gary Frederick, that “winning is not everything.”

Is there something intrinsic to women’s sports that caused this generosity? Holtman, nearly 23, did not think so. “Not many people are ever in that position,” she said. “I would hope that our baseball players would do it.”

Knox, the Western Oregon coach, said the act “came from character.”

“They’re playing for a coach who instills it,” she said.

Knox said she absolutely would not say this demonstrated some major difference between women’s and men’s sports: “As coaches, we are so competitive, we forget this stuff. By God, I would hope I would have done the same thing.”

Would the Oakland A’s have carried a sore-legged Kirk Gibson around the bases to complete his two-run homer that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 comeback victory in the opening game of the 1988 World Series? My guess is that if Gibson had crumpled in the dirt, Tony La Russa (or Billy Martin or Leo Durocher or Earl Weaver or just about any manager) would have said, “Let him lie there.” But let’s grant that those stakes are much higher.

We’ve all seen sportsmanship at a high level. Golf depends upon personal adherence to the rules. In tennis a player occasionally yields a point — not usually at a crucial moment — producing a sweet little patter of applause.

In 1999, Arsène Wenger, the French coach of Arsenal of the English Premier League, insisted upon a replay of a cup match after a young Arsenal player had unwittingly set up a goal in violation of the unwritten code when an opponent is injured. So maybe sportsmanship is universal, out there, needing to be cultivated.

“It’s amazing what they did,” Tucholsky said of the Central Washington players Tuesday, while facing what she assumes will be the first surgery of her 21 years for what is suspected to be a torn ligament.

“Mallory didn’t know it was my first home run,” said Tucholsky, whose college career will end with a .153 batting average and exactly one home run. “It just says a lot about them.”

Tucholsky was too immobile to join the handshake line at the end of the game Saturday, but her family has been in touch with Holtman, photographs have been exchanged, the two teams are wrapped in a bond of good feeling we can only wish did not seem so singular, so remarkable.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Gamer Holiday

Hello everybody. Today is Tuesday, April 29th, 2008. For those of you not in the know, which is probably most, today is a very special day in the world of video games. Today is the release date for the highly anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

For my friends and readers of my blog that do own an Xbox 360, I reckon this game will be in your possession within the day. I plan on picking mine up tonight. In fact, last night Lynette and I spotted some people waiting outside the local GameStop store to buy theirs at midnight.

For those of you who could care less about this game, or gaming in general, there's nothing to see here. Please get back to your knitting needles and Gray's Anatomy. Just kidding! But remember, video games are the future of entertainment. It may still seem fringe, but more and more people are finding their way to video game entertainment. Especially, after the release of the Wii.

Enjoy the trailer for GTA4:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Poetry is Good Today

Man Writes Poem


by Jay Leeming

This just in a man has begun writing a poem
in a small room in Brooklyn. His curtains
are apparently blowing in the breeze. We go now
to our man Harry on the scene, what's

the story down there Harry? "Well Chuck
he has begun the second stanza and seems
to be doing fine, he's using a blue pen, most
poets these days use blue or black ink so blue

is a fine choice. His curtains are indeed blowing
in a breeze of some kind and what's more his radiator
is 'whistling' somewhat. No metaphors have been written yet,
but I'm sure he's rummaging around down there

in the tin cans of his soul and will turn up something
for us soon. Hang on—just breaking news here Chuck,
there are 'birds singing' outside his window, and a car
with a bad muffler has just gone by. Yes ... definitely

a confirmation on the singing birds." Excuse me Harry
but the poem seems to be taking on a very auditory quality
at this point wouldn't you say? "Yes Chuck, you're right,
but after years of experience I would hesitate to predict

exactly where this poem is going to go. Why I remember
being on the scene with Frost in '47, and with Stevens in '53,
and if there's one thing about poems these days it's that
hang on, something's happening here, he's just compared the curtains

to his mother, and he's described the radiator as 'Roaring deep
with the red walrus of History.' Now that's a key line,
especially appearing here, somewhat late in the poem,
when all of the similes are about to go home. In fact he seems

a bit knocked out with the effort of writing that line,
and who wouldn't be? Looks like ... yes, he's put down his pen
and has gone to brush his teeth. Back to you Chuck." Well
thanks Harry. Wow, the life of the artist. That's it for now,

but we'll keep you informed of more details as they arise

Visit his website.

Something Seems Different - The Cubs are Good

I don't usually claim to be a prognosticator in any way. Especially, when it comes to sports and baseball in particular, but this year's Cubs are looking mighty fine. And it feels different this year. Watching the games this year feels somewhat better.

The players seem to gel better than any Cubs team I've seen. They look like they're playing the game because they enjoy it. They look like they're having fun. I don't feel like I'm watching the lovable losers this year. Not that losing would change my loyalty to the team - I'll die a Cubs fan regardless.

I guess what I'm trying to say is it's nice to be able to get excited while watching a Cubs game in April, when the stakes aren't really that high yet. These first few months are always my favorite because these are the games for people who love baseball. I watch these games because I love the sport.

Like I said, I'm no psychic, but I think my Cubbies are going to the World Series. (What?!)
Bookmark this page so you can come back in October and say, "Holy cow, JC was right!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Celebrity Sighting

I just saw David Schwimmer. He was sitting at a table in front of my building smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee. It was totally him. He was wearing a suit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

It definitely came too late, and it surely didn't cure racism in this country, but without Jackie Robinson... I don't even want to think about what things would be like today. I personally believe every team from every sport should retire number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.

Steal home, Jackie!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Hidden People

A film by Graham Annable. Further proof that the story is everything regardless of the quality of the artwork. The proof is in the pudding. BTW, this is a little freaky, in classic horror fashion, but still very cool anyway. And it sort of coincides with my recent Venezuelan Gnome Freak Out (that ended up being a hoax - but still really freaky -- look it up on youtube, cowards, and tell me it ain't a wee bit scary!)

Happy Birthday, Anthony Michael Hall!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's Official

There are certain days throughout the year that signify the official start of the seasons. And they can be different for everyone (though some are pretty standard).

For example, the turning of the leaves in Autumn, the first snow in Winter, and the first sight of a Robin in Spring.

But for me, the official start of the summer is that first day you can drive home from work with the window rolled all the way down. Arm resting on the door. And that day was Thursday. Since then I have spent the last three days walking Leia in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt. The feeling is wonderful.

What kicks off your summer? The first whiff of someone's grill? The first echo of a far off lawn mower? The first trip to the beach? What?

Monday, April 7, 2008

New Maps!

There are new maps for COD4 available on the Live Marketplace! Why are you here reading this? Get thee to your Xbox and download these maps!

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 4

Dr. King has now been dead longer than he has lived. This was his last speech... and his senseless murder still reverberates throughout our country. I hope it stings forever.