Although a fairly enthusiastic sports fan, I no longer follow the way I once did so the headline left me with two questions, first who is Isaiah Austin and secondly what is Marfan Syndrome? The answer to the first gap in my knowledge of who’s who in sports, turns out to be that Isaiah Austin is a 20 year-old young man from Arlington Texas and standing 7′ 2″ tall was a standout basketball player at Baylor University with realistic hopes of a lucrative career in the NBA. Then I added a little medical knowledge by finding out that Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue and approximately 1 in 5,000 people are born with it. There are many signs of the disease including being tall, having long arms, legs, and or fingers. It can also affect vision and Austin is also partially blind. One of the dangerous and potentially life threatening aspects of Marfan Syndrome is heart problems, especially related to the aorta. This is a reason his continued participation is a strenuous sport such as basketball is too dangerous.
Of course the good news is that because the NBA gives very thorough physical exams the condition was finally diagnosed and although a career ender might be a life saver. Baylor coach Scott Drew is hoping Austin will now return to Baylor, finish his degree and serve as a coach with the Bears program. It is also inspiring to see how Austin has reacted to his situation, Tweeting, “Words can’t explain how thankful I am for the time I had to play this wonderful sport. It changed my life forever. I would love to thank everyone who reached out to me. Toughest days of my life. But not the last! Life goes on. GOD IS STILL GREAT!”
We all react to events in our own way and I have great doubts I could have handled the situation with such grace as Austin. Hopefully his acceptance of the misfortunes of life and his ability see where he has had blessings and look to the future will serve to inspire others.
Reat Griffin Underwood, a talented 14 year-old high school freshman will be honored tonight at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals, a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sung by Reat Underwood will be played on the Kauffman Stadium video board. It was a dream of his to sing the anthem at a Royal’s game. The video will be introduced to the fans by stadium announcer Mike McCartney:
“it was Reat Underwood’s greatest wish to sing The Star-Spangled Banner at a Royals game. Tonight we honor that request in his memory … as we pay respect to our flag and country as we honor America with this video performance of our national anthem by Reat Underwood.”
Reat and his grandfather, Dr. William Corporon, were murdered in April as they arrived for an audition for “KC Superstar” being held at the Jewish Community Center of Kansas City. Terri LaManno, 53 was the third victim of a despicable human who committed the crime.
I look at crimes such as these as robberies. Obviously the victims were robbed of their lives, their loved ones robbed of sons, fathers, mothers, daughters, grandfathers. And the rest of us were robbed of the possible association with good people and deprived of the contributions these people would have continued to make to a better world.
Reat had accomplished so much in 14 short years it is impossible to predict what heights he would have achieved if he had been allowed to live. But a man filled with hate robbed Reat and all of us. He didn’t know Reat or his grandfather, they were just in the wrong place when this sick individual was on the attack. Continue reading Reat Underwood’s Rendition Of America’s National Anthem To Open Kansas City Royal’s Game
Memorial Day 2014, the day when America pauses at the beginning of summer to honor American heroes who have fought to preserve the freedoms each American enjoys everyday. There are others who are heroes for their actions as private citizens. Brennan Leininger is an Anaheim police officer who during his off time has stepped up to do something about the way America’s fallen are honored on Memorial Day at Riverside National Cemetery in southern California.
Three years ago Mr. Leininger and his wife attended Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery in Riverside and saw what he thought was a shortcoming that needed to be fixed. He began by raising $10,000 in the first year and was able to purchase 21,000 flags to place on grave sites. This year volunteers have helped to place 140,000 flags throughout the cemetery. Continue reading Honoring America’s Heroes On Memorial Day – Brennan Leininger Is One
Even if you are a big sports fan there is a good chance you will check this out just because you never heard of Coach Don Meyer. Even though when he retired he held the record for most wins by any men’s coach in NCAA history. The single reason many of us never heard of him is because he was satisfied with coaching at smaller colleges rather than basking in the limelight of Division I. He coached at schools such as Lipscomb University where his team won the national title in 1986.
While there are great coaches and molders of young student athletes at the Division I level, there are coaches at the lower levels who are as great in every way as those whose names are known to tens of millions of fans. Coach Meyer reputation was that of being a teacher.
Although he did his work in relative obscurity, under the radar of most ESPN telecasts, he obviously was someone who made a difference in the lives of the student athletes he coached as well as his peers in the coaching profession. Condolences to the Meyer family.
Think. Then Think Again. We should be more aware of the other men and women such as Don Meyer who are outstanding achievers in their profession and for whom fame and financial reward wasn’t the ultimate goal in life.