Life's highs and lows played out in sports Wednesday
May 4, 2012
When the American sports fan woke up on Wednesday, it was another day in early May. When the American sports fan went to bed Wednesday, it was a day that offered nearly every emotional scene athletics at the highest level can provide.
The sports community, nation-wide, stood still in the early afternoon hours when there was news of an icon leaving this world. One of the most recognizable players in American sports for over a decade, Junior Seau, was found in his home with a fatal gunshot wound.
Immediately, speculation of how and why spilled from the lips and fingertips of the masses. Social media and water-coolers became rumor mills full of ‘experts.’ Was it financial? Was it depression? Was it post-concussion symptoms?
Those were natural feelings for a sports fan that only hours earlier had been fed articles and reports from the football community that concussion-related lawsuits in the NFL had neared 100 and bounty scandal participants were facing suspensions.
The point was made in the morning hours – before the unthinkable in Oceanside, Calif., - that the timing of the judgment was strategically planned mere days after the NFL Draft by commissioner Roger Goodell so it would gain headlines and national chatter. The severity of such actions that are aimed at endangering players and jeopardizing safety would not be tolerated.
That hardline announcement quickly became secondary.
Then, true to the fundamental, yet magical, nature of sport, the playing field became the engine for healing and the mechanism for coping.
In Atlanta, the Phillies and Braves played an 11-inning, 28-run marathon in front of 26,504 fans. Fittingly, it was veteran 40-year-old Chipper Jones, who capped the evening with a walk-off home run.
At roughly the same time in in the nation’s capital, 19-year-old Bryce Harper stole the show with a 3-for-4 game and highlight-reel defense. The Nationals also won in walk-off fashion (one of three in the MLB Wednesday) following an Ian Desmond home run.
Also in Washington D.C., hockey fans were treated to a triple-overtime thriller in the second-round of the playoffs with the New York Rangers' Marion Gaborik taking home hero honors. It was one of two NHL playoff games on the docket.
In basketball, the NBA playoffs saw a pair of blowouts in three playoff games, college basketball saw Hubert Davis step away from the world of analyst and back to the bench as an assistant at North Carolina and North Carolina State saw another player, Tyler Harris, transfer.
Then the night, which had already taken sports fans on a wild ride of highs and lows, was punctuated.
In Anaheim, Jered Weaver threw a fairy tale no hitter with his parents and wife in the stands. It was the first of his career and the second this season. As he and his father hugged on the field after the final out, tears became visible in the pitcher's eyes.
Seau was a standout at USC, made his home in California and was a staple at the beach. The southern California sports community had been reeling after losing a son hours earlier in the day. Thanks to Weaver, the Los Angeles sports world was delivered a polarizing moment of joy.
Completing the circle of life Wednesday, the sports world learned Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh may miss a playoff game to welcome a child into the world with his wife.
Elation and sadness; young and old; goats and heroes; comebacks and blow-outs; life and death: Wednesday in sports was a microcosm of existence.
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RE: Life's highs and lows played out in sports WednesdayA solid article Aaron. For the Chargers to lose 8 former players is hard to comprehend. Seau was one of the greats to play this game. I'm happy that his family members want to have his brain donated to explore things that might help in the science of head related injuries.
On the positive side, I am elated that Hubert Davis is going to be coaching at UNC. What a player, and he will bring a knowledge base to assist the team in a variety of ways. He has learned from visiting schools and watching coaches coach, and players play. He was a special guard for UNC and in the Pros. He will bring something new to assisting the guard play. His recruitment will be out there too. Recruitment just got a lot easier for UNC and Roy.