And a Happy Friday to you all, it’s my favorite sports time of year, March Madness is around the corner, with Selection Sunday a mere two days away! Truly, our cup runneth over with good news this week; besides the three stories below, check out this awesome 12-year-old kid hitting a lob winner over Roger Federer at an exhibition match at MSG this week, and check out Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams stop addressing his team during a tense moment of Wednesday night’s ACC Tournament game to help a young fan with her shooting form as she took place in a contest on the court.
Not too many coaches would do that.
With it being Tournament time at all, I’ve got 2 hoops-related items today. First, this has nothing to do with big-time athletics but it was so fantastic. CBS Sunday Morning profiled the Gainesville (Texas) Tornadoes, a team of high-school boys who live in a juvenile detention center.
They hardly ever get even one or two fans at their games, and when one of their opponents, Vanguard College Prep in Waco, Texas, heard that Gainesville was coming to play them, they came up with a heartwarming and wonderful idea: They told their fans to root for Gainesville.
Watch this fabulous short video story from Lee Cowan. Those troubled kids from Gainesville, who obviously have a lot going against them right now, get one wonderful memory.
**Next up, the NHL, and the Chicago Blackhawks in particular, seem to do a lot of this beautiful, heartwarming stuff, and I always enjoy highlighting it, because hockey still doesn’t get enough love in this country.
Duncan Keith, an all-star defenseman, took part with his teammates in a “What’s your Goal” campaign, helping out disadvantaged youngsters and giving them a few smiles.
Keith met Cammy, who was born without the ability to walk or speak, but is a huge fan of the Blackhawks. Her dream was to score a goal with Keith making the assist, and, well, just watch.
I say it all the time: It takes so little for athletes to give kids a lifetime memory.
**And finally, a few positive words about the University of Kentucky basketball team, a group I generally have only loathing for.
As a big Duke fan I’ve hated Kentucky for many years (their fans are the most obnoxious on the planet, and yes I realize as a Duke fan I have little credibility saying that to many of you), and when John (Satan’s Helper) Calipari took over their program, my hatred for “Big Blue Nation” went to a whole new level.
Cal is as dirty and slimy as they come, but he seems to recruit a bunch of high-character kids, like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and now Marcus Lee.
Lee is not one of the superstars on the currently-undefeated Wildcats squad, but he’s a superstar in the hearts of all the sick kids he’s helped. Check out this great story from the Louisville Courier-Journal on what a kind-hearted kid Lee is, and how he wants zero publicity for his kind gestures.
“Why didn’t you tell us you were doing these things?” Lee remembers Calipari asking him. “And my first reply was, ‘What do you mean?’ I thought it was just a natural thing to help people, and I didn’t think it was a big thing to tell anybody.”