Maybe you heard the story of the Fennville (Mich.) High school boys basketball tragedy last week.
If not, let me fill you in. The Blackhawks were tied in a close playoff game against rival Bridgman High, when Fennville’s best player, a kid named Wes Leonard, drove in for the winning layup as time expired.
The crowd went nuts. The Fennville team went nuts, jumping and celebrating around Leonard. It may have been the most exciting moment of Leonard’s life.
Moments later, Wes Leonard died. He collapsed on the court, dying of cardiac arrest. A seemingly-healthy 16-year-old boy who was a victim of an undetectable disease called dilated cardiomyopathy.
It was an unbelievable tragedy, and soon Fennville and Wes Leonard were all over the national news. Teachers wept, students sobbed, and a tiny town tried to come to grips with how a star athlete could suddenly be taken so soon.
The last few days have been unbelievably difficult for the Fennville team. But they found a way to go on through their grief. The resiliency of the human spirit is such a beautiful thing.
Fennville played another playoff game Monday night. They started the game with only four players on the floor, a touching tribute to their teammate. Somehow, these teenaged boys who have been through so much found a way to win Monday, 65-54.
There’s nothing profound I want to say here, except to marvel at the strength and courage of kids who suffered the worst tragedy of their lives, and are taking solace in each other. It is the absolute best part of sports, the way teammates are bonded together forever. In a tragedy like this, those boys on the team have each other.
And right now, that’s exactly enough.
**No easy segue from that one. But here’s something to lighten the mood. San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers was in a hockey fight Sunday, and he wound up his fists thinking he was about to hit a Dallas Stars player. Instead, well, let’s just say the referee might need some dental work done:
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**Finally, I always love it when politicians try to sound cool by name-dropping rappers. Here’s former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, on Fox News, basically berating the elderly for complaining about Social Security:
“This is a fakery. “If they care at all about their children or grandchildren, and sometimes I doubt that – I think, you know, grandchildren now don’t write a thank-you for the Christmas presents, they’re walking on their pants with the cap on backwards listening to the enema man and Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg, and they don’t like them!”
Ah, good old Enema Man. The superhero cartoon that just for some reason never caught on with the public. Maybe it was his costume: a giant rubber plug.
I’m thinking Simpson meant Eminem. But I think Enema Man would sell way more albums.