Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Win one for the Gipper!

I'm probably about to induce the revocation of my sports fan card, but I have no idea who the Gipper is. However, he has been invoked more times than is probably known as coaches exhort their players to try their hardest.

Today's blog is about inspirational moments in sports. I apologize here for the lack of clever transitions in today's post, but the amount of rain I'm currently getting makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and rock back and forth, muttering to myself. It does not make me want to channel Steinbeck or Hemingway. At least not Hemingway's writing talent.

Cornell's men's basketball team made a fabulous run in this year's barely controlled chaos known as the NCAA Tournament. A friend of mine is responsible for generating media coverage for the team, so I'm fairly certain he's responsible for getting this little nugget out into the Interwebs. Remember Jason McElwain, the autistic teenager who played just four minutes in the very last game of his high school career and knocked down six threes on the way to 20 points? Well, it turns out he bonded with Cornell's head coach Steve Donahue, who has an autistic son. According to ABC, McElwain served as an advisor and source of inspiration for the Big Red throughout their tourney run.

Tonic provides a list of the top 10 most inspirational coaching moments on film and in real life. Ethan Zohn's column touches on everything from Jim Valvano's touching "Don't ever give up" speech at the ESPY's to Jim Belushi's rousing rant in Animal House. Zohn even managed to find Knute Rockne's famous "Inside 'em and outside 'em" speech (which may or may include the Gipper reference - the rain is making my Internet too slow to load a video).

Finally, this last item appeared in the Boston Globe this morning after I heard about it on the radio on the commute in. The Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Mass., and the Perkins School for the Blind held the first known fencing competition among the blind yesterday. Coach Cesar Morales champions fencing for the blind students as a way to help them develop skills they'll need in every day life. Fencing aids the students in orientation, balance and navigation. Fencing has been taught at the Carroll Center since it opened in 1954 as the first civilian residential rehab center for the newly blind.

(Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe)

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