Archive for the ‘Inspirational stories’ Category

Oh, no court for old men

December 19, 2008

It’s not quite what you might think it’s about … for example, 

but, hopefully, you get as much of a chuckle from this blog entry as these old bones did. 😉

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Oh, I’m back at it
There’s nothing quite like a pickup game. Let me rephrase that. There’s nothing quite like an old-man pickup game. Usually, when I go to a nearby court looking for a game, there are a few teenagers, a few guys in their twenties and thirties, and a token forty year old. But they are all relatively good ballplayers. A few of them played high school ball and maybe even one of them played in college. Those are good games. Evenly matched, competitive and fun.

But every Thursday night at 8 o’clock for the past few years, I have been going to a local church to play a game of pickup basketball with a few fellas. Right now you’re saying: “Hey that sounds like fun Sean”. LET ME FINISH THE STORY! OKAY! Anyway, this little pickup game I play in has more than one catch. There are a few actually. Catch one: The floor of the “court” is carpeted. That’s right, carpet. Granted, it’s thin carpet. The kind you would find on the floor of your basement. But it’s not a basement. It’s a court. What were the people at this church thinking? When I see a carpet on the floor, I don’t think “Lets put up some baskets for a game of hoops”. It makes everything you do when you play THAT much harder. Defending, jumping, even passing. Its so damn frustrating. At least its not shag carpeting.

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Do yourself a favour … Click & read the whole thing. 🙂

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Two for the road … straight to the Halls of Fame

December 17, 2008

This corner would simply like to echo the sentiments of Dave Perkins, one of Canada’s very best [long-standing] sports writers, regarding the majestic careers of …

A first ballot HoFamer

A first ballot HoFamer

                                                 and
Best of her generation

Best of her generation

Two class-act athletes step off

re: Sorenstam

“You might need to go back to Mickey Wright or Babe Didrikson Zaharias to find her match – and even then you might not. “

re: Maddux

“While win totals are far from the best way to evaluate starters, 355 is an awfully impressive number. Factor in his durability, ERA, baserunners-allowed stats – not to mention all those Gold Gloves – and he was at the top of his era’s class.”

Each was a Master craftsperson when it came to understanding, How Exactly The Game SHOULD be played … and it was a simple pleasure to watch them work their magic.

A modern day Anthony …

December 8, 2008

… Mason, is the Heat’s Canadian Jo-el.

Thick, strong and agile, he can compete effectively at multiple positions in the NBA, and should now be able to carve out for himself a relatively long and fruitful NBA career.

The best part?

Miami Heat Center Anthony coming out of his shell
“I don’t need any type of signature. I just want wins. People will hear about me if I continue to get better.”
Joel Anthony

Good to know that Pat Riley hasn’t lost his touch, when it comes to assessing NBA talent with a keen eye.

As long as Miami can avoid a re-occurrence of the injury bug-a-boo which befell D-Wade two seasons ago, it should be a short time only before the Heat are once again legit playoff contenders in the EC.

Long time passing

November 23, 2008

If this most recent bit of news is, indeed, accurate …

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Time running out on MLSE’s Peddie

The winds of change are blowing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and Richard Peddie soon may be swept out the door.

The change involving Peddie may not necessarily have anything to do with the impending hiring of Brian Burke as president and general manager of the Leafs — maybe as soon as late this week — but it’s likely. And Peddie likely is on his way out at the end of the season.

Peddie has been under fire for failed sporting decisions — primarily the hiring of Rob Babcock and John Ferguson as inexpensive and inexperienced general managers for the Raptors and the Maple Leafs — and has been put on notice with a changing and more aggressive board of directors. And while he has clung to the job on the basis of the financial strength of the company, there are those who look at failed television networks and other problems within MLSEL and figure the time is right for change.

This won’t happen quickly. Peddie has been a marvellous survivor, but time is running out.

THIS AND THAT

Name to know: Erol Uzermeri, the newest board member of MLSEL, and unlike his fellow Teachers’ Pension Plan flag wavers, isn’t happy just to get a parking pass and dinner at the directors’ lounge. He, not chairman Larry Tanenbaum or Peddie, is considered the power broker on the board and not interested in the status quo …

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then it’s a godsend for the dedicated and beleaguered fanbase of the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

An unequivical Halleluiah! … should be the Word of the Day, in Raptorville & Leafs’ Nation, if this specific action ever comes to pass, and a coronation ceremony planned for Erol Uzermeri, should he truly be able to clean house at the very top of MLSE.  

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Oh, when will THEY … ever learn?

Player Leadership defined, in the NBA

November 21, 2008

Filed precisely under the category of … Not [really, truly] knowing what you’ve got [exactly] until it’s gone

A tremendous piece by Steve Aschburner, On the Man, the Mission, and the Meaning, of KG.

Garnett gone from the Wolves without a trace

[Randy] Foye, in overlapping with [Kevin] Garnett for one season here, says he learned plenty from the veteran. It goes beyond the seating protocol on the team’s charters that he mentions at first, or a pecking order of who eats first or last on those flights. It’s the sort of stuff that, if Foye preserves it and pays it forward, truly can be a Garnett legacy within the Wolves. Right now, though, the guard from Villanova mostly pines for it.my rookie year,” said Foye, who has sputtered in the season-plus since. “No matter what happened, if I made a mistake, I’d look at him and he’d go [Foye balls up a fist and pumps it], like ‘It’s all right. Keep your head up.’

“One thing I miss about him is, he just let me go. That’s why I was so successful

“It makes you feel better. It’d be like that for anyone in their work, if there was a legend who pumped you up. For a young player, that just boosted my confidence. Sometimes, in my rookie year, I felt like an All-Star out there because he let me do what I wanted and when I got it going, he let me go.”

In games, Foye said, it was like having your big brother there to hold your coat in a schoolyard fight. “There was a swagger,” he said. “KG would come out and hit a shot, and it was like, ‘Everybody, we’re in this together. I’m patrolling it, but everybody who’s got a white jersey on, we’re in it together.’ ”

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From Farragut Academy, in Chicago …

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It is going to be a bitter-sweet moment this evening, for one and all, at the Target Center.

THE MAN has come back to his birthplace, in the NBA … this time, Fully Certified.

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Better late than never

November 18, 2008

Under the category of … “Who? Did what? … In an NBA game?”

[Courtesy of TrueHoop]

From Sat Nov 15 2008

For everything else there’s MASTERCARD.

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Sometimes, hard work really does pay off. 🙂

Best ‘Quality’ win of the season …

November 15, 2008

… occurred last night, in the NBA.

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* The 76ers coming back from way down in the 1st quarter, on the road, to edge the Pacers, [Phi 94, IND 92]?

* The Bobcats home-court W over the under-manned Jazz [CHA 104, Uta 96]?

* The Knicks moving to 6-3 [.667] with their home-court victory over The Thunder [NYK 116, Okl 106]?

* The Nets home-court W over the surging Hawks [NJN 115, Atl 108]?

* The Bucks road victory, in OT, over the Grizzlies [Mlw 101, MEM 96]?

* The Magic’s road win, coming back from an 8-pt deficit, in the 4th Quarter, vs the Mavericks [Orl 102, DAL 100]?

* The Suns’ road victory, in OT, without the services of Steve Nash vs the Kings [Pho 97, SAC 95]?

* The Pistons’ stunning road win vs the Lakers, the NBA’s last-remaining undefeated team [Det 106, LAL 95]?

* The Nuggets gut-check W over the Celtics, in Beantown [Den 94, BOS 85]?

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No … actually … it was none of these terrific games, which pale in comparison to …

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When your team is …

* Without its best Wing Player for the first 3 months of the regular season, due to off-season ankle surgery, and then

* Loses its Starting Point Guard for the next 2-4 weeks, due to a high ankle sprain, and then

* Gets off to a 2-5 start, overall

… with a next opponent perceived to be one of the elite level outfits in the League, and then

* Falls behind by 14 pts, at home, in the 4th Quarter [at the 07:37 mark], and then

* Holds its opponent without a Point for the final 4:44 of the contest, and then

* Scores the final 12 points of the game …

taking the lead, by 1 point, with 0:59 on the game clock, on a Layup by your All-star Center, and then

* Sees that Center shot-block away the potential game-winner, in the final seconds of play, on a hard & fast driving layup attempt at the rim by the opponent’s ultra-quick PG

to preserve a much-needed victory [SAS 77, Hou 75] over an opponent with each of its own ‘Big 3’ players … i.e. Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest … in the line-up last night. 

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THAT … ^^^ … right there, goes down in this space as the type of never-to-be forgotten Victory which will form the basis of the Legacy of the Spurs two NBA immortals, Tim Duncan & Gregg Popovich.

To wit:

Duncan scores 22 points, Spurs beat Rockets
“What can you say about Tim Duncan that hasn’t already been said,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He provides the leadership on this team. He is the center of the program.”

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He is ‘The BIG Fundamental’ … and this

The Force is With Us.

The Force is With Us.

 

 

his Jedi Master.

An Historic Day in the USA

November 5, 2008

“The big trade made today is in the White House.”
Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith [Inside the NBA & Yahoo Sports! Basketball Analyst]

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1. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …”

2. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

3. “… all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thence forward, and forever free …”

4. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

5.

6. I was born in the slum, but the slum was not born in me. And it wasn’t born in you, and you can make it.

Wherever you are tonight, you can make it. Hold your head high; stick your chest out. You can make it. It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. Don’t you surrender!

Suffering breeds character, character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint.

You must not surrender! You may or may not get there but just know that you’re qualified! And you hold on, and hold out! We must never surrender!! America will get better and better.

Keep hope alive. Keep hope alive! Keep hope alive! On tomorrow night and beyond, keep hope alive!

I love you very much. I love you very much.”

7.

8. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Part I

Part II

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Congratulations to Mr. Barack Obama, President-elect, for A Dream fulfilled.

What matters most, now, is where it goes from here!

… for, both, the United States of America, and its People.

What happens when you’re young stays with you forever

November 4, 2008

In the early 1970’s, the fact is, ‘Mr. Clutch’ was the first favourite NBA player of this corner …

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Jerry West still is a reluctant sports hero
West can best be described as one of the most conflicted legendary sports heroes of our time. He is a man who has had a lifetime of success in nearly all facets and has never been comfortable with that.

Part of that might hark back to the third nickname, the one he likes the least: “Zeke from Cabin Creek.” That was placed on him by other players from bigger cities when he arrived in the NBA in 1960, the second pick of the draft and perhaps a comparative hick. He had been an All-American at West Virginia, and nobody questioned his basketball credentials. Nobody but him, that is.

“I didn’t think I was good enough to play in the pros,” he said back then.

As the second-youngest of six children growing up in the relative poverty of Cheylan, W.Va., and learning his basketball craft mostly alone on muddy outdoor courts with cheap hoops, West couldn’t have been less prepared for something like Los Angeles.

“Cabin Creek was about a mile away,” he said, elaborating with a snapshot of life in the ’50s in a coal mining state. “That’s where we got our mail. I’d run there and back. Maybe that’s why I was in such good shape to play basketball. I remember running past Wade’s Pool Hall on a Saturday morning. You could tell how wild a time the coal miners had had the night before by how many of the windows were broken out.”

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While time and increased maturity have succeeded in developing an increased appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the game of terrific players like, e.g. The Great Bill Russell, the ‘Big O’, Kareem, Dr. J, the ‘Moutain Man’, Magic & Bird [because they will forever be linked together], Isiah, MJ, Hakeem, Duncan, etc., it can never overshadow what it meant to these young eyes, late at night, watching on a grainy black & white TV a certain player, wearing #44, who just kept hitting big shot after big shot, in an effort to help his team win a rather silly game, played the Right Way, in short pants with a round ball and an elevated basket.

Although time marches on … you can never ever replace THAT.

There are but two choices

October 31, 2008

When the Warriors take the floor tonight against the Raptors, this corner of the net will now be cheering just a wee bit less enthusiastically for the home team, on account of this specific ‘take on life’, articulated clearly in this story and by the father of the invader’s starting PG, DeMarcus Nelson.

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A wonderful story of perseverance and determination

A defensive standout at Duke, Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s structured system changed his game from pure scorer to well-rounded player. As the lone senior and captain last season, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists and [in March] was named the ACC’s defensive player of the year as Duke won 28 games.

Said DeMarcus’ father, an associate Baptist pastor:

“I know people reading this story are shocked about DeMarcus. But my son is tough. We did have a five-minute pity party after the draft. But in life, you have two choices: You can lay down or you can get up. He got up and did it the hard way.”

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The authentically ‘tough’ ones GET UP … each and every time. 😉